He famously played doomed sweetheart Jack Dawson in 1997’s “Titanic,” but all trace of that charm and kindness is gone in Leonardo DiCaprio’s current role, as cruel slaveowner Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”

“He’s the most deplorable human being I’ve ever read in a screenplay in my life,” DiCaprio told Willie Geist on TODAY Thursday. “He was rotting from the inside. He was, you know, a young Louis the XIV that had been brought into a world of entitlement and lived his life … essentially owning other people.”

DiCaprio has said that he was uncomfortable using the N-word in the film, and told Geist that his co-stars encouraged him to do what was right for the role despite his own feelings. “It was Sam Jackson and Jamie Foxx that said, ‘You really have to go all the way with this man.'”

Even filmmaker Tarantino, who created Candie’s character, said the plantation owner, who forces slaves to fight to the death, was the first villain he’d written who he didn’t like. Still, DiCaprio says he had to take the role.

“It was an incredibly colorful character and I just had to … I had to play him,” DiCaprio told Geist.

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