Leonardo DiCaprio, one of Hollywood’s most notable actors and leading men whose latest starring role in The Revenant has gotten the Oscar buzz going, shared about an interesting occurrence when he initially began his acting career. At the tender age of 11, young Leo appealed to his then-agent for advice, and the agent suggested that the soon-to-be star change his name, seeing as his own was too “ethnic” and may keep him from getting roles.
What name was Leonardo told to switch to? Lenny Williams. That’s right. DiCaprio’s agent believed that the 11-year-old would land more roles with the name Lenny Williams than with his given name, which led the actor to change agents altogether.
Bang recalls the words of Leo on the name change subject matter.
”Yeah, when I was 11 years old, when I first wanted to be an actor professionally. We went to an agent and they wanted to change my name to Lenny Williams. They felt my name was too ethnic and I wouldn’t get as many jobs. So that thwarted me from being an actor for a number of years. I tried again two years later when I was 13 and got an agent to accept me with my name.”
It’s a good thing the star stood his ground on his name back in the day, because surely all can agree that Lenny Williams really doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Leonardo DiCaprio.
In his interview with Shortlist magazine, the 41-year-old star also discussed the fact that fame was never what he sought. He is adamant that he got into acting purely to assist in producing good films. He’s definitely achieved his initial goal. Bang relays the star’s words to the publication.
”A lot of people may look at what I’ve done career-wise and say that there was a period in which I tried to possibly become a movie star, per se, [and] tried to go for much bigger pictures. The truth of the matter is, there was a period of time, very early on, when I started watching films and having heroes in the industry, actor-wise. But I feel I’ve been consistent about my dreams and what I wanted to be as an actor.”
Leo, as he is known to friends and those close to him, has far surpassed what he had intended to achieve as a budding star back in the day. The Revenant star has more pull when it comes to ensuring films get made than just about any actor in Hollywood. Directors and producers have taken note of the huge successes the star has been a part of — grossing over $1 billion at the box office when his latest films’ totals are combined. The Telegraph expands on the actor’s massive impact on the film industry.
“If DiCaprio says he wants to be in a film, it not only gets made, but it also gets seen; in the past four years, the films in which he has starred (Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street) have made collectively $1.2 billion at the box office. He has been nominated for an Oscar five times (four acting nominations and one for best film, as a producer on The Wolf of Wall Street).”
DiCaprio is clearly an actor who is ever-focused on his art and not on the fame that accompanies it. However, the fame and luxurious lifestyle is surely a great bonus. Leonardo has been known to suffer for his art, and this is obvious when watching the trailer for his latest film, The Revenant, within which DiCaprio was subjected to bone-chilling temperatures in the middle of nowhere for months on end. Reports that crew and cast quit throughout the filming process due to the harsh conditions indicates just how horrific the experience was to achieve such a great cinematic result.
[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]