Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio has already made his mark as one of the most versatile actors of our generation. Although we know him for his passion for environmental and wildlife conservation or his often guarded personal life and his love for biopics, there are quite a few interesting facts you probably didn’t pick up from the 40 year old’s acting chops.
1. The inspiration for naming him Leonardo came from the great Leonardo da Vinci as his mother felt him kick for the first time when she was standing in front of one of his paintings.
2. When he was 10 years old, his first agent advised him to change his name to something “more friendly and American” such as Lenny Williams. Clearly he made the right choice!
3. In his childhood, he and his mother lived in poor neighborhoods in Los Angeles which he describes as “Ghettos of Hollywood”.
4. Before he signed on to star in James Cameron’s Titanic, he admitted that he was hesitant at first since this wasn’t the kind of film he had told himself he wanted to make.
5. He was trained by renowned Hollywood Gun Coach Thell Reed, who has also trained actors such as: Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Edward Norton and Russell Crowe.
6. He was meant to star in American Psycho and would have earned $20 million for the role. However, he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts and eventually the role went to Christian Bale.
7. Leo’s role in ‘The Aviator’ portraying Howard Hughes shadowed his own milder issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Apparently, he has the urge to walk through doorways several times.
8. While filming The Beach (2000) off the coast of Thailand, Leonardo and others were swept off a camera boat by strong winds and waves. No one was injured.
9. Director Quentin Tarantino sought the actor to play the Nazi colonel ‘Landa’ in ‘Inglourious Basterds’, but he declined and the role later went to Christoph Waltz.
10. Leonardo DiCaprio’s first film role was in Critters 3, and not as Toby Wolf in This Boy’s Life.
11. He’s never done drugs, and had to speak to a drug expert to prepare for his role in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.
12. DiCaprio broke his vegetarianism by taking a bite of raw bison’s liver during filming of ‘The Revenant’. In his interview with Men’s Journal Magazine he said, “The gelatin one didn’t look right to me. It wasn’t bleeding the right way when I was biting into it. [They] threw me the real one, and you’ll see my reaction in the film; Alejandro kept it in.”