Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down ‘Hocus Pocus’ Role, Rejected By ‘Moulin Rouge’

Almost Got the Part
You'll never guess who was originally up for these iconic roles.
It’s hard to tell where Leonardo DiCaprio would be in his career now if not for a few life-changing casting decisions.

In his latest interview with Variety, the five-time Academy Award nominee opens up about turning down the role of Max Dennison Disney’s Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus, and rejecting the largest sum of money he had ever seen at the time.

According to DiCaprio, he said no to the part – which eventually went to Omri Katz — to hold out hope for a part in 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, which he hadn’t even auditioned for when he rejected the House of Mouse.

I don’t know where the hell I got the nerve,” DiCaprio says now. “You live in an environment where you’re influenced by people telling you to make a lot of money and strike while the iron’s hot. But if there’s one thing I’m very proud of, it’s being a young man who was sticking to my guns.”

In retrospect, one could say that the ballsy move ultimately paved the way for him to dive into more serious and meatier parts. After all, playing in the autistic Arnie, younger brother to Johnny Depp’s titular character, in the indie film landed him his first Oscar nod.

However, DiCaprio has also had his fair share of rejection. In the interview, the actor also reveals that he was in talks for the lead role of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge but he was eventually rejected for Ewan McGregor because of his singing voice.

“To be honest, I’m not really prepared to do a musical, simply because I think I have a pretty atrocious voice,” he tells the publication. “But we had a friendly thing where it was me and [Luhrmann] and a piano player, and we tried to sing a song together. It didn’t go too well. I think it was ‘Lean on Me,’ and when I hit the high note, he just turned to me … ‘Yes, D, I don’t know if this conversation should continue.’”