What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Romeo + Juliet. Titanic. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in his fair share of 90s classics.
But one film from the era that’s slipped completely under the radar is Don’s Plum. DiCaprio made the black-and-white improvised indie with friends Tobey Maguire, Kevin Connolly and director RD Robb in 1995.
This gang of hellraisers were unflatteringly referred to as the “Pussy Posse” due to their debauched activities on the 90s party scene.
Thanks to a lawsuit brought by DiCaprio and Maguire, Don’s Plum isn’t allowed to be shown commercially in the US or Canada. But it’s resurfaced online again – in all its improvised glory.
The duo were reportedly furious that what was seen as a favour to Cobb was being exploited commercially. They claimed Don’s Plum was initially pitched to them as a short film and had been re-edited into a feature without their consent.
Producer Dale Wheatley has attempted to revive the film by releasing it online free on freedonsplum.com. Things haven’t gone to plan: DiCaprio and Maguire issued a legal notice to Vimeo, the third-party site hosting, and it’s been promptly pulled from the site.
Wheatley vented his frustration at the decision on the film’s website – and DiCaprio was his main target.
“It breaks my heart to inform you that Leonardo DiCaprio has once again blocked only American and Canadian audiences from enjoying Don’s Plum,” he wrote.
“It’s a sad commentary that in 2016 we witness the suppression of film and art by one of America’s most beloved actors. If only Leonardo DiCaprio would follow in the footsteps of the director who admires and works with more than any other, Martin Scorsese, and preserve American cinema rather than suppress it.
“I will appeal Vimeo’s decision to overlook my fair use copyright as an author of the material.”
With DiCaprio poised to take home his first Oscar for The Revenant in February, Don’s Plum is quickly re-emerging as the most bizarre oddity of his career.
For what it’s worth, the critical reception from those who did see it at festival screenings was mixed. Time Out’s Mike D’Angelo said it was “the best film I saw” at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, but Variety’s Eddie Cockrell branded it “unpleasant and tedious”.