Every successful actor has a breakout role that changes their career, and Leonardo DiCaprio is no different. DiCaprio, now up for his fourth Academy Award nomination for "The Wolf of Wall Street," earned his first Oscar nod for his portrayal of an autistic boy in 1993's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," though the actor recently revealed that he almost took another role instead.
In an interview with Variety, DiCaprio discussed how he was at a crossroads following his critically-acclaimed turn opposite Robert De Niro in "This Boy's Life." For his next film, the actor said he was offered "more money than I ever dreamed of" to take a part in "Hocus Pocus," a Halloween-centric, kid-friendly flick about three witches returned from the dead.
While the big budget Disney film, which starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi, would have meant a big payday and tons of exposure for DiCaprio, the actor told Variety that his gut wanted him to hold off on the project. He decided to pass on "Hocus Pocus," and audition for "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" instead.
"I don't know where the hell I got the nerve," DiCaprio told the trade. "You live in an environment where you're influenced by people telling you to make a lot of money and strike while the iron's hot. But if there's one thing I'm very proud of, it's being a young man who was sticking to my guns."
It turns out that trusting his instinct was the correct move: "Hocus Pocus," though now a cult home video hit, was a critical and commercial flop; "Gilbert Grape" earned DiCaprio a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and opened the door to the rest of his career. We wonder if Omri Katz, the actor who took the part earmarked for DiCaprio, wishes he had made a similar choice.
[via: Variety, h/t The Playlist]