Leonardo DiCaprio on his Audition for ‘This Boy’s Life’: “I was like, ‘Holy sh*t, I blew it'”

Leonardo DiCaprio This Boys Life

“I was this kid that came from television and TV commercials, and I had no idea how to conduct myself on a set” – Leonardo DiCaprio

Many film fans wondered if this would be the year that Leonardo DiCaprio is awarded an Oscar after four previous acting nominations and one previous nomination as producer. Yes, DiCaprio won Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant, and it came after a long, long, wait — not unlike his good friend Martin Scorsese. DiCaprio’s first film role was 25 years ago in Critters 3, though his first significant film role came in 1993’s This Boy’s Life. Reminiscing to Deadline in a pre-Oscars interview, DiCaprio recalls working on This Boy’s Life and how his audition process didn’t go as intended.

DiCaprio confesses that he still doesn’t know what it was that This Boy’s Life director Michael Caton Jones and Robert De Niro saw in him when he was cast in This Boy’s Life, but he has been eternally grateful for the opportunity. He reveals:

I saw Michael Caton Jones recently in London. He said, “I’m sorry I was so mean to you when you were little.” I said, “Are you crazy, you were the greatest big brother I could ever have during my first giant cinematic process.” I said, “You talked me through everything. You told me all the fundamental basics. Like a little league coach, literally telling me how to run the bases, because I had no idea.” I was this kid that came from television and TV commercials, and I had no idea how to conduct myself on a set. I had no understanding when to…shut up. Like when you see Robert De Niro preparing, and I’d get a squeeze in the arm from Michael if I was telling too many jokes, or cracking up, or trying to converse with the crew members. He let me know. “An actor prepares, Leonardo.” “Oh, right, right. Yeah, yeah.”

He literally walked me through the process because I really was this wild child. Very outspoken, ballsy, and I think that’s probably why I got the role. I think it was probably always the little guy thing too that helped in the audition. In school I would always talk back, and if kids were bigger than me, I’d get in people’s faces. I was 15 years old, and I remember somebody telling me…“Do you realize how important this role is, this is a starring role, and it’s Robert De Niro, and you’re the lead. This doesn’t happen, historically, ever.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, shit. Okay. Yeah, I think I get it.”

He recalls trying to impress the cast and crew in his audition by going over-the-top during a particular scene, but he didn’t get the reaction he expected. He recalls, “I remember there was this mustard jar sequence, and just thinking to myself, ‘Shit, I’ve got to do something…memorable. I’ve got to do something to just rattle these people’s cages.’ I went in and they were doing the mustard jar sequence, and [De Niro]’s like, ‘Is it empty, is it empty?’ And I just stood up and threw my chair down, or something, and screamed at him, ‘No, it’s not empty.’ And then Bob had this smirk on his face, and just started slowly busting up, laughing in my face. And then he looked at everybody else, and the whole room starting laughing.”

However, though the audition wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, it gave De Niro and Jones something that they felt they could work with. DiCaprio continues, “I was like, ‘Holy shit, I blew it. I blew this. I blew this whole opportunity,’ but I guess at 15 you misunderstand. I guess they kind of liked it, because Bob was like, ‘That kid was…there’s something interesting there.’ And they brought me back.”

That “something interesting” has carried DiCaprio through more than two decades of leading roles and now an Oscar.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Linnea-Berthelsen-Stranger-Things.jpg
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – Linnea Berthelsen Stranger Things is back on our screens with its second season, something fans have been waiting for ever since season one arrived on Netflix in 2016. Returning to the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/jonathan-groff-hamilton.jpg
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/lina-esco-swat.jpg
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/sam-rockwell-three-billboards.jpg
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rachel-bloom-crazy-ex-girlfriend.jpg
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom