“There is some truth in this story. It has been pumped up a bit more than it deserves,” Norton, 50, said on The Jonathan Ross Show, which airs on Saturday, November 23, in the U.K.
The actors were scuba diving with oceanographer Sylvia Earl in the Galapagos Islands back in 2010 when the incident took place.
“I’ve known Leo a long time and he loses his mind around animals. He really has a childlike passion for them,” Norton said. “This flight of 100 spotted eagle rays went by below us and I saw the look on his face. I saw him charging off with this camera he had.”
According to the Motherless Brooklyn star, they were there to film the climate change documentary Before the Flood and DiCaprio, 45, took off to see the eagle rays, but didn’t realize how low his oxygen had gotten while diving.
“I’ve been diving since I was 16 years old. I reflectively looked at my watch and was like, ‘We’re very close to the end.’ I saw him going off and down and I knew that wasn’t a good thing,” the Boston native continued. “So, I followed him, because I thought to myself, he’s chasing these things. He’s going to run out of air — and he did.”
Earlier this month, The Illusionist actor told Us Weekly about other types of heroes he’s been trying to teach his son about, not just actors or actors who stop friends from drowning.
“I think that’s exactly what these kinds of evenings are about,” the Grand Budapest Hotel actor told Us exclusively at the eighth annual Breakthrough Prize event at Nasa Ames Research Center in November. “I think they’re celebrating people who have done — committed themselves to service of other people.”
Norton is trying to instill positive life lessons in his son, Atlas, 6, alongside his wife, Shauna Robertson, and that means shining a light on lesser praised individuals.
“I think in the context of this evening I’d say, we pay a lot of attention to people who make movies and music and play sports,” he explained. “I think kids tend to look up disproportionately to people who do those things and not enough to their teachers and to the people who are really, actually achieving landmark work that’s gonna affect people for generations.”
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