Why Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down “More Money Than I Ever Dreamed Of”

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Leonardo DiCaprio is a man of principle when it comes to his place in cinematic lore. He always has been.

You might remember some of his early interviews as a teenager, when he went from making commercials, films and playing Luke on Growing Pains to starring roles in films like This Boy’s Life. Yes, the Hollywood powerhouse we all know as “Leo” was once an actor trying to simply manage his career, take in the advice of his parents, agent, mangers and friends–as well as any and all who were suggesting to take the money and run.

This was years before Titanic, Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You CanThe Aviator, The Departed, Inception, Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street. (And this list is merely a scratch on the surface.) This was also way before Leo possessed a net worth of between $200-250 million.

This was back when getting paid for acting was still a luxury, and proving to a potential, life-long bread winner for DiCaprio. He did commercials, he did films like Critters 3, and following his popularity on Growing Pains and in This Boy’s Life, along came Walt Disney Company saying, “Hey kid, how ’bout ya star in Hocus Pocus. We’ll pay ya a boatload!” (At least that’s what I imagine them saying.)

So, Leo considered his options, and as we’re well aware, he never appeared in Hocus Pocus. It would have made him an absurdly rich young man. Instead, he set his sights elsewhere and took a gig to solidify the quality of his talent over the quantity of his earning power. And for someone as good looking and talented as Leonardo DiCaprio, it all comes out in the wash. I’d even argue that his turning down Hocus Pocus eventually led to his casting in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, as well as the first film to bust a billion at the box office, Titanic.

So, why did Leo turn down Hocus Pocus? Check out the video below to find out!


James Sheldon