Lesson Plan to accompany
the March 2000 issue of the newsletter
Film & cinema
As with all of the ideas that come with Developing Teachers
we aim to provide a stimulus & suggestions on how to use the
Below there is no timing attached to the lesson stages & there
are a variety of different activities - it's up to you to
think of the group & individual you are dealing with & plan
The interview material comes from http://www.eonline.com
Overview of (a) possible lesson/s
1. Lead in
2. Film quotes matching
3. Film vocab expansion
4. 'The Beach' book cover
5. Summary/narrative writing
6. Reading - interview with DiCaprio
8. Language focus
9. Response to the text
10. Follow up activities
1. Lead In
Collect some photos of film stars, film ads etc. & ask the
stds if they like the cinema, what is their favourite film,
how often do they go to the cinema etc. - could put the questions
on the board & the stds discuss them in pairs or small groups.
Pick up on any cinema vocab that crops up - you could list
it down the side of the board & add to it as the lesson progresses.
2. Film Quotes
Match a quote to the speaker below.
1. "After all - tomorrow is another day."
2. "I want to live again Clarence. I want to live again."
3. "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."
4. "Go ahead - make my day."
5. "I coulda' had class. I coulda' been a contender. I coulda'
been somebody, instead of a bum which is what I am - let's
6. "Made it Ma. Top of the world."
7. "We'll always have Paris. We lost it until you came to
Casablanca. We got it back last night."
8. "You know Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich I might
have been a really great man."
a. James Stewart as George Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life'
b. Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather (1972)
c. Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in 'Citizen Kane' (1941)
d. Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in 'Casablanca' (1942)
e. Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone With The Wind'
f. Marlon Brandon as Terry Malloy in 'On The Waterfront' (1954)
g. James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in 'White Heat' (1949)
h. Clint Eastwood as Harry Callaghan in 'Sudden Impact' (1983)
You have to be careful with the quotes as your stds have probably
seen the films in the dubbed version & may not make any connection
between the quote & the film. Some helpful hints may be necessary.
Brainstorm all the vocab the stds know about 'cinema' - stds
just shout out the words. Or you could choose words from the
lexical set to teach - see the list in the newsletter for
ideas - maybe back it up with a gap fill check task.
4. Build up interest in 'the Beach'
Show them the book cover - if you can get hold of it - anyone
read it? anyone seen the film? Heard about the environmental
problems when they were filming? If so, encourage them to
tell the others. Read the back cover of the book - stds in
pairs discuss any problems & if they don't know the story
they could discuss what might happen. You could pick up on
the adjectives & adverbs in the different parts. Could even
use the introductory description about the film as a dictation
text - or 'grammar dictation' text - for lots of ideas see
'Grammar Dictation' by Ruth Wajnryb (OUP) & 'Dictation' by
Davis & Rinvolucri (OUP).
5. Summary/narrative writing
This could then develop into a summary writing activity as
they put together their ideas for the story in the form of
a summary. Have they done any summary writing before? - if
not, they might need some guidance.
Interview with DiCaprio - interview
with Leo (as he is known) DiCaprio taken from www.eonline.com
This is a very manageable text for intermediate & up & talks
mainly of his acting, coping with fame & the film 'The Beach'.
It is quite long so you might want to cut some of it out -
careful you don't make it disjointed though.
A first task might be to cut it all up (not again, you groan)
& get the stds to match the questions & the answers & then
they put it all in order.
Or get the stds to make a list of questions they'd like to
ask Leo - tippex out the questions in the interview & stds
see if any of their questions might fit. With their list of
questions they could do the 'dubbing' activity mentioned in
the newsletter - after the questions have been written, hand
the picture to a std & the group interview that std who is
Then read the interview to see if there are any similarities.
After an initial gist task, a more detailed comprehension
Again you could then ask them if they can find any new vocab
connected to cinema in A certain part of the text - the first
Could dictate a part of the text & stds write down only the
vocab connected to film that they hear.
Language focus - exploit the text - among other things it's
good for tense work & reported speech - & around line 60 there
are clear examples of the second conditional to draw on.
A possible procedure - ask the stds to find examples of the
target language, underline it, compare in pairs, elicit it
from them, elicit & highlight the rules (form, meaning, phonology,
appropriacy), personalise the language if possible (i.e. get
them to use the language to talk about themselves) & check
meaning etc. maybe through a written exercise.
Jigsaw - You could use it as a jigsaw reading task e.g.. You
cut it up into three parts - info about the film, about Leo
& about his acting - it is quite easy to cut it up like that
& paste the different parts together - after reading their
different sections in small groups & filling in a chart of
the pertinent points they get into groups of three & exchange
their information using the charts - the stds take on the
role of journalists, the purpose here being to bring all of
the information together in order to write a summary for a
magazine - school magazine?
Response - don't forget to get the stds to respond to the
text - rather than read & leave - what do they think of Leo
now, would they now, like to see 'The beach' etc..
10. Follow up activities
- you could easily change tack with the activities below &
go on to other film stars depending on the interests of your
-role-play - set in Thailand - an environmentalist, Leo, tourist,
local, director/producer ....discuss whether they should proceed
with the filming. What language might you expect the stds
to use - do you teach/review it before or pick up on it during
for analysis after?
-write a letter/e-mail to Leo with any other questions that
haven't been answered - send it off for real!
-informal letter writing/e-mail writing conventions analysis?
competition - stds have a maximum of 20 words in which to
write about why they should be given the opportunity to have
dinner with Leo. Stds exchange & read each others & vote on
a winner. Then the winning std could be interviewed by the
others imagining it is post-dinner What happened? What did
he say/do? etc.
-develop the paradise idea from the
film 'The Beach' What is your idea of paradise?
-what 5 things would you take with you to a desert island?
What 5 books would you take? What 5 records would you take?
discussion about the price of fame, do celebs deserve the
money they are paid? Footballers v film stars etc.
-Cult classics - mentioned on back of book cover - which films
do you consider cult classics? What makes a cult classic?
Which is better usually; the film or the book?
-could return to the back cover of the book & highlight the
two line quotes - the stds then write two line reviews of
films they have recently seen.
-flm quiz to finish - there is one at http://www.filmsite.org
Dashing DiCaprio doffs his king
of the world crown to play it dark in The Beach
by Jeanne Wolf | February 8, 2000
"Leo! Leo!" The chorus of female hysteria
was heard around the globe wherever he was or wherever
he was believed to be as fans worshiped the King of
But the world wondered when the youthful monarch who
starred in Titanic would find another movie to follow
this awesome success. Leonardo DiCaprio headed to
The Beach, plunging into the kind of twisted take
on reality that had attracted him to films like The
Basketball Diaries and What's Eating Gilbert Grape?,
for which he received an Oscar nomination.
Leo's much anticipated big screen outing is dark and
offbeat a challenge for him and the audience. Okay,
he does take off his shirt and get back in the water,
but in his latest role, DiCaprio attempts to shed
the pop star image that has enveloped him.
Enormous fame seems to make everyone who experiences
it a little crazy. Have the fan frenzy and media attention
been a little scary?
I remember saying to my friends, "Oh, I can't go here.
I can't go there." They all looked at me and said,
"What're you kidding me? Are you going to let this
whole thing affect your life? Are you going to hide
out like a little hermit?" Something sort of clicked
in me, and I realized I had no control over it so
I might as well enjoy the time I'm on this earth and
not spend six months in my house. When I go out in
public, I have ways of wearing a hat and glasses not
to be recognized at least sometimes and that helps.
It's been two years since we've seen you on the
big screen. You looked at a lot of scripts before
deciding on The Beach. What was it about this project
that grabbed you?
I really identified with the character of Richard
and his concept of what paradise is. He is looking
for a way to deal with his own demons trying to escape
the cyber-techno revolution, where everything is being
preprocessed and prepackaged for him. He's going in
search of something that's a true, real experience.
The Beach deals with how my generation is sort of
desensitized by the media television and movies and
video games. We really have a lack of tangible connection
with real emotion anymore. We're longing for and looking
Is the bad news that Richard doesn't get what he's
When he finds paradise on an island off the coast
of Thailand, in a lot of ways, it proves to be something
that can't exist. It brings out the worst in people.
But at least he had the courage to go in search of
something different. Actually, he even swims a long
way through shark infested waters to reach that island.
Would you have the guts to do that?
Me? I would probably find a way to get a boat over
there. Maybe have somebody check it out for me first,
just in case there was a group of cannibals there.
That's what I admired about Richard. I probably wouldn't
be as courageous as he was. I wouldn't swim over to
an unknown island at the drop of a dime.
Richard is obsessed with actually, sort of addicted
to video games. Word is, you could hold your own with
him. I am a video game freak.
I've had every system imaginable. I am a product of
that generation. I think it's a trap, because once
you get involved in it, it is truly hard to escape.
It envelops you. I go through periods of a year where
I don't play any video games, but once I get into
it again it becomes like a drug, in a weird way.
Until now, you've just acted in films, but when you
hit The Beach, so to speak, you did a lot more. Danny
Boyle, the director, wanted to bring me in as a partner.
He didn't want me to just be an actor for hire. We
did a lot of work on the script. We did a lot of experimentation,
taking different characters out, putting them back.
We experimented all over the place. I had tons of
conversations and arguments with Danny about what
we thought would be good.
You and the production took some flak from environmentalists,
who accused you of doing harm to the island. Did you
feel singled out?
I just became the target for a lot of the political
wrangling that was going on at the time. Meanwhile,
we took three tons of garbage off that island. It
was pretty much a disaster before we got there. Unfortunately,
we got caught up in a controversy and a series of
lies about what was going on that got spread all around
the world. But there are certain things you have no
control over. The only thing you can do is try and
put your word out there, and, hopefully, the truth
will get out in the end.
You've become somewhat legendary for kidding around
on the set, doing impressions and pulling practical
jokes, even when things are tough on a shoot.
I don't know how legendary I am. I think that, just
like life, the filmmaking experience should be a relaxed
atmosphere, that's all. So, my so-called notorious
acts and joking around off camera are to lighten things
But everyone who works with you talks about how totally
focused you are on camera. Are you conscious of that?
Very. Acting is the only thing I've held on to that
is true about who I am. Everything else seems to change
in life. Everything else seems to be metamorphosing
into something different, but acting being a performer
is the only thing I have known ever since I was a
kid. It has consumed me in a lot of different ways.
It's something I can't escape.
Danny Boyle talked about your ability to maneuver
a crowd looking straight ahead and to keep your life
together, somehow, in the midst of all the craziness
around you about you. That's a different kind of focus.
How did you master that?
When I was, like, 16 or 17, just starting to grow
up, I first encountered what fame was like. I went
through a period of starting to go in a different
direction, maybe thinking higher thoughts of myself,
because of all the attention. Then quickly, thank
God, my friends and family, who are a lot more grounded,
helped me put it in perspective. But that experience
at an early age prepared me much more for the whole
Titanic phenomenon, which was just like a gigantic
hot air balloon taking off.
Would paradise, for you, be a place where you didn't
have to deal with all that?
You have to deal with who you are in the end. If you
have internal demons, you are going to have to deal
with them, whether you're famous or not. We've all
heard a million times stories of people who have gotten
fame and wealth and great opportunity, and ruined
it all. In the end, you are going to have to deal
with who you are. There is no paradise, and there
is no handbook on how to experience fame. I couldn't
go to, like, a self-help book on what to do when you
become famous. Nobody wrote that book. It is something
you have to experience. You make some mistakes, and
you learn, and that's it.
When you're not on a movie set, what would be the
first thing you'd do just to kick back?
The first thing that comes to mind? Okay, you know,
this is going to sound lame, but...hanging out with
my friends. I know that seems like just the most atypical
answer I could possibly give, but my friends take
me away from the whole world of show business, and
it really grounds me in a lot of ways. It brings me
back to who I am. They are still intricately a part
of my life. I've known so many of them for such a
long time, and no matter what the hell is going on,
they can always sort of bring me back down again.
You've always been very close to your parents. Let
us in on some of the words of wisdom you got from
"Get out of bed, do some exercise, stop being a little
worm." Something like that. I absolutely hear my mother's
voice saying that all the time. My father would be
constantly challenging me to try different things.
I've been blessed with having unbelievable parents
who have given me the opportunity to do what I'm doing
career-wise, and they also made me into the person
People describe how you come alive on camera. You
can come in looking half dead, but when they say,
"Action," you're ready to go. Is that something you
understand in yourself?
It's my passion. It's the passion for being a
performer and getting into the character that makes
me come alive. It's the fascination with being able
to involve yourself in another person's mind, and
be that person that, for me, is one of the greatest
gifts I've been given, being able to do that.
Copyright © 2000 E! Online. All rights
to the March 2000 Newsletter