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Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio discuss the fickle ways of fame on TODAY

In "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," they offer a glimpse of the rise and fall of Tinseltown's talents — and on TODAY, they talked about the real fame game.
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt talk about the rise and fall of fame.TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio have a lot in common — and we're not just talking about the fact that they both star in Quentin Tarantino's new feature film, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (or about their mutual early days on the sitcom "Growing Pains").

Both Oscar winners are part of Hollywood's exclusive A-list, so they share a special knowledge about what it's like to be at the top of Tinseltown.

But when they, as well as Tarantino and their co-star Margot Robbie, sat down with TODAY's Harry Smith, the duo opened up about the other side of the fame game — its inherently fickle ways.

It's a subject highlighted in their film, which puts a spotlight on the end of Hollywood's Golden Age.

When Smith asked the stars if they've ever sensed their own "fame train" slowing down — or even a desire to hop off it altogether — their responses reflected a refreshingly realistic acceptance of the nature of showbiz from a couple of its best and brightest.

"You know, you look at the trajectory and the careers of some of the greatest actors that I've admired, and they ebb and flow," DiCaprio explained. "There's good times and there's bad times."

So he doesn't see every on-screen high or low as a complete success or failure. They're just different mile markers on the same race.

"And hopefully you could just be in the race as a long distance runner," he said. "(That's) the only hope, and not, you know, burn out."

It's a perspective Pitt, who recently said that he feels as though acting has a "natural selection" process, agrees with completely.

"Precisely," he said of DiCaprio's assessment, but he added, "I think we're all aware there's a shelf life on this."

And because of that limited time, Pitt wants to make the most of every moment.

"It's really important to me — the people I spend my time with and the artists that I respect," he said. Then Pitt waited a beat before shooting a sly smile at his co-stars and joking, "I don't know what went wrong on this one."

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" opens in theaters nationwide July 26.