10 Huge Movies Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down

Wait, he rejected lead roles in Star Wars AND The Matrix?

Leonardo DiCaprio and American Psycho's Christian Bale
American Psycho Leonardo DiCaprio and American Psycho's Christian Bale. Image Getty Images/Lions Gate Films

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and the 42-year-old has starred in some of the most successful movies of the last 20 years.

Leo has hardly put a foot wrong over his career when it comes to choosing movies, but did you know he’s turned down some of the biggest films ever made over the course of his career?

The actor rejected roles in two of the biggest sci-fi series ever, plus a Marvel film back in the day, and he even snubbed the chance to work with Quentin Tarantino in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds.

Discover the 10 huge movies Leonardo DiCaprio turned down below:


1

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones

Leonardo DiCaprio and Star Wars' Hayden Christensen
Leonardo DiCaprio and Star Wars' Hayden Christensen Image Getty Images/Lucasfilm

Did you know Leo was offered the role of Anakin Skywalker in 2002? The Titanic star came very close to taking on the part, but eventually turned it down. Hayden Christensen took on the role instead.

“I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that… [I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive,” DiCaprio previously says about the Star Wars prequels. Judging by the critical panning the films received, Leo probably made the right choice with this one.

2

Batman Forever

DiCaprio came very close to making his superhero debut in 1995, when he turned down the chance to play Robin in Batman Forever. Speaking to ShortList, the actor said: “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.”

NCIS star Chris O’Donnell ended up taking the role instead.

3

Angels & Demons

Leo has a knack for making the right choices at the right time, doesn’t he? Despite being invited onto the set of Angels & Demons by his Catch Me If You Can co-star Tom Hanks, he turned it down to work with Kate Winslet again on Revolutionary Road in 2008. 

Good choice Leo.

4

 American Psycho

Christian Bale might be synonymous with the role of Patrick Bates, but Leo very nearly starred in American Psycho. Director Mary Harron initially picked Bale for the role, but Lionsgate later acquired the film and Harron and Bale with director Oliver Stone and DiCaprio.

Harron told the Huffington Post in 2014 that the move was “inappropriate”. “To cast someone with a huge fan base among 15-year-old girls felt wrong on many, many levels to me,” she added. The new arrangement eventually fell through, leaving Bale free to take on the role.

5

Boogie Nights

Paul Thomas Anderson was making his way in Hollywood when he tried to cast the up-and-coming DiCaprio in 1997’s Boogie Nights. The movie went on to become a cult favourite, but Leo definitely made the right decision by turning it down to work on Titanic.

“Leo was my first choice,” Anderson once told talk show host Charlie Rose. “He was really wonderful, but ultimately, he decided to do Titanic instead. And I don’t think he regrets it, and I don’t regret it.”

6

Inglorious Basterds

Leonardo DiCaprio and Inglorious Basterds' Christoph Waltz
Inglorious Basterds Image Getty Images/The Weinstein Company

DiCaprio won an Oscar for his role in The Revenant earlier this year, but he could have had one years earlier if he’d landed the role of Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds.

It may be hard to picture anyone but the Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz as the terrifying Nazi officer, but Quentin Tarantino allegedly wanted Leo to play the part first.

In fact, the film was nearly very different indeed. Bizarrely, Tarantino wanted none other than Adam Sandler to play Eli Roth’s Sgt Donny Donowitz (aka “The Bear Jew”) in the 2009 war movie, but the actor turned it down to work on Funny People. To be honest, we’re quite glad things worked out how they did…

7

Steve Jobs

Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic nearly worked out very differently indeed, after Leo was initially offered the role as the tech genius.

However, Steve Jobs’s widow Lauren reportedly did everything she could attempted to stop the biopic from being made, and she called up both DiCaprio and then Christian Bale to beg them not to take on the role. Both turned down the role, before it was bagged by Michael Fassbender.

8

Spider-Man

Spider-Man was officially the biggest movie ever made when it came out in 2002, but Tobey Maguire wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play Peter Parker. Leo previously revealed that he turned down the role, saying: “That was another one of those situations, similar to Robin, where I didn’t feel ready to put on that suit yet.”

9

Interview With The Vampire

Leo was offered the role of The Interviewer in the 1994 horror movie following the tragic death of River Pheonix. However, he passed up the chance to star alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and the part later went to Christian Slater.

10

 The Matrix

Will Smith famously turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix to star in Wild Wild West, but he wasn’t the only one to say no to the sci-fi classic. Leo was also offered the role of Neo, but rejected it over fears about overuse of special effects. Keanu Reeves made the role his own, but it would’ve been amazing to see Leo star in the sci-fi series, wouldn’t it?

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Loaded staff writer Harry Fletcher has covered news, sport and entertainment for several major websites across the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @Harry__Fletcher.