Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood and his streak continues. He’s already racked up nominations for his latest film ‘The Revenant’ and it appears likely he’ll receive another Academy Award nod when selections are announced in January. Interestingly, DiCaprio has made his reputation almost exclusively appearing in high quality dramas, and avoiding higher profile mainstream fare. With the exception of ‘Titanic’, still the second highest grossing movie of all time, DiCaprio’s interest has guided him to projects that aren’t always guaranteed to draw huge audiences.
And it’s a philosophy that has led to him turning down parts in some guaranteed smashes and lots of cha-ching. He recently revealed that he actually met with George Lucas, but ultimately passed on playing Anakin Skywalker in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels.
“I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that, yes. I just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.”
Around this time, DiCaprio instead chose to make ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘Catch Me If You Can’, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Still he must be kicking himself. The role instead went to Hayden Christiansen and look at how his career took… oh, ahem. Nevermind.
That’s not the only role in a big budget action movie he avoided. He was also under consideration for the role of Robin in ‘Batman Forever’, a part that eventually went to Chris O’Donnell.
“I never screen-tested. I had a meeting with Joel Schumacher. It was just one meeting and, no, I didn’t end up doing it.”
When asked if he actually wanted the part, he replied:
“Er, I don’t think I did, no (laughs). As I recall I took the meeting, but didn’t want to play the role. Joel Schumacher is a very talented director but I don’t think I was ready for anything like that.”
While O’Donnell’s depiction was received fairly favorably, the two movies he appeared in are considered the worst two of any ‘Batman’ films.
It doesn’t sound like DiCaprio even went so far as to sit down with Sam Raimi, who wanted the acclaimed star for the first ‘Spider-Man’.
“Er, that was another one of those situations, similar to Robin, where I didn’t feel ready to put on that suit yet. They got in touch with me.”
The role of Spider-Man went to DiCaprio’s pal Tobey Maguire, who charmed audiences and perfectly captured the everyman appeal of the comic book character. While DiCaprio has played a huge variety of parts, underdog isn’t really one of them. Things may have turned out for the best.
DiCaprio doesn’t rule out playing a superhero, saying “You never know. You never know. They’re getting better and better as far as complex characters in these movies. I haven’t yet. But no, I don’t rule out anything.”
Never say never. But unlike other big stars like Tom Cruise and Will Smith, DiCaprio has never felt the need to alternate between award fodder and popcorn flicks. I’m not sure I see him suddenly changing his ways, when they have served him so well thus far. And despite his boyish looks, the actor is actually 41 years old. Not that that rules him out. Robert Downey Jr. is 50.
What do you think? Would you like to see DiCaprio in more genre fare? A sci-fi movie? A comic book movie? Are there any characters from these worlds that you think he’d do a great job portraying? Comment below!
Source: Short List