Johnny Depp Says He ‘Tortured’ Young Leonardo DiCaprio on Set
Leonardo DiCaprio is a favorite to win Best Actor for his role in The Revenant at the 2016 Academy Awards, but he nabbed his very first Oscar nomination way back in 1994 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. But evidently his talent didn’t prevent Johnny Depp, the star of the film, from treating him like an irritating little brother.
“I tortured him,” Depp told reporters at the 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where his career was honored with the Maltin Modern Master Award (quotes via People). “It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don’t know why,” the Pirates of the Caribbean actor explained. Depp was almost 10 years into his career at that time, before he’d alter his “Winona Forever” tattoo into the probably-more-accurate “Wino Forever,” back when he’d started experimenting with hats but had yet to delve into advanced scarf draping with 10,000 necklaces.
He admits that he couldn’t abide eager young Leo, and while he doesn’t qualify how he “tortured” him, he says “I really did. He was always talking about these videos games, you know? I told you it was kind of a dark period. ‘No, I will not give you a drag of my cigarette while you hide from your mother again, Leo.'” So basically, DiCaprio was acting like the teenager he was at the time.
While Depp played the titular role What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, DiCaprio played his mentally-disabled younger brother Arnie. The movie’s worth watching if you haven’t — it’s a warmhearted bit of early ’90s indie goodness co-starring Juliette Lewis and John C. Reilly, based on the (also great) novel by Peter Hedges.
In the decades since the movie, Depp has come to admire DiCaprio, and admits he admired his work ethic even then.
“I’d say the absolute truth is that I respect Leo a lot. He worked really hard on that film and spent a lot of time researching. He came to set and he was ready to work hard and all his ducks were in a row.”
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