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Why doesn't the author just simply say "trusting your gut"?

He lit up when talking about movies and people that have influenced him, particularly Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard,” which he said he discussed with Mr. Eastwood during the making of “J. Edgar.” They wanted to emulate how that 1950 film handled voice-over narration. But Mr. DiCaprio also seemed to go on auto pilot from time to time, answering in the way that actors tend to answer. (Lucky to be employed this, trusting your gut that.) And personal questions are not appreciated. Just why is it that he dates all of those supermodels?

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The author deliberately inserted the words "this" and "that" to emphasize that the preceding phrase is a cliche. – Leigh Dec 1 '11 at 1:03
up vote 19 down vote accepted

The whole sentence you should be wondering about is:

Lucky to be employed this, trusting your gut that.

It's formed from this and that which means various unspecified things, similar to here and there.

You can add a few examples of those many various unspecified things, like this:

Question: What were you doing today?
Reply: Oh, you know, doing the dishes this, buying groceries that. Nothing unusual.

The text says:

Mr. DiCaprio ... seemed to go on auto pilot ..., answering in the way that actors tend to answer.

Which means that DiCaprio was replying in the usual manner, just saying random, usual things. A bit about how lucky he is to be employed, something about trusting your gut, and other cliche stuff.

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It is another way of saying "He says this cliched answer, he says that cliched answer".

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This and that means various things. He means Di Caprio answers in a cliched manner about various things.

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