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When audiences finally see “Blood Diamond” this weekend, they may come out of the theatre thinking, "Wow, Leonardo DiCaprio really is the new Meryl Streep."

And they may be right. Even the South Afrikaans and Rhodesians working on costume designer
Ngila Dickson’s
team were mighty impressed with DiCaprio’s accent.

“All the men were astonished and bowled over at how well and how
quickly he picked up their dialect and accent,” Dickson said by phone
from Australia, where she’s shooting “Fools Gold,” a romantic Indiana
Jones-style comedy with Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, and Donald
Sutherland
. “Leo worked so hard and was always so
prepared.”

Wanna pick up a few handy phrases from Leo’s "Blood Diamond" lingo?

]]>Here’s a sampling of what he probably had to learn. “Ja” mean “yeah.” “Are you coming with” is said rather than “Are you coming with us?” “Ja well, no fine,” means “Things are okay,” and “Hey bru. You know who I am,” is said instead of “Excuse me. But what do you think you’re doing?” “Just now”  loosely translates to any time later on and is different from “now now,” which means “right now” or “immediately.” Other idiomatic phrases include adding a “hey?” at the end of a sentence as in “Are you well, hey?”

According to Dickson, had Leo made a slip of the tongue, so to speak, the cantankerous South Afrikaans would have even quick to hear it. Of course, it also helped that Leo was surrounded by the accent being spoken onset on a day-to-day basis.

Of the film’s revelations about conflict diamonds and child soldiers, Ngila says, “Everyone who worked on the film was very passionate about it. And it wouldn’t hurt Hollywood to de-bling for a while.”

On the the diamond industry’s initial objections to the film’s depiction of a past illicit trade in conflict stones, “I’ve seen lots of ads, even several pages in Vanity Fair, about how the diamond companies are helping Africa, but it’s good for people to see this film and find out the history and the other side of the issue.”

Photo Credits: Leo and his "Blood Diamond" costars at the New York premiere.
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Posted by:LATimes