Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors of his generation, with a total of five Oscar nominations. It’s no surprise that he would be offered giant tentpole films, especially one that is part of the most inspiring trilogy in the history of cinema. While George Lucas was putting together the Star Wars prequels, a role was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio — Anakin Skywalker. But as tempting as it may have been to play one of cinema’s greatest and iconic villains, DiCaprio turned it down, Entertainment Weekly reports.
“I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that, yes,” he says, during an interview with Shortlist. “I just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.”
Leonardo DiCaprio’s career has been one filled with plenty of incredible performances, though as talented as he is, he may have felt like he dodged a bullet with Darth Vader. As it turns out, Hayden Christensen won the role of Anakin Skywalker in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. And while some feel that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was the best of that new trilogy, all three films as a whole were considered monumental disappointments among most Star Wars fans.
This wouldn’t be the only big, iconic role the Revenant actor shied away from.
Leonardo DiCaprio, prior to this, spoke and met with director Joel Schumacher to possibly play the role of Robin in what many now consider to be the worst superhero movie of all time, Batman Forever. If keeping score, that would be two colossal bullets Leo dodged.
“I never screen-tested,” DiCaprio said. “I had a meeting with Joel Schumacher. It was just one meeting and, no, I didn’t end up doing it.”
When he took the meeting, the actor admits that he didn’t really want the role, perhaps just taking the meeting to be respectful. But in addition to these two characters, there was yet another iconic role that the actor passed on — this one yielded much better results than the previous two. Comic book fans may have gotten the opportunity to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s name in the credits of Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man as the lead character. Leo happens to be good friends with Tobey McGuire, who eventually won the role of Peter Parker.
“Er, that was another one of those situations, similar to Robin, where I didn’t feel ready to put on that suit yet,” Leo says. “They got in touch with me.”
So that’s a pass on Robin, Darth Vader, and Spider-Man. That would be a dream come true for most actors, though the ending result of all three properties were met with plenty of mixed emotions. But there may very well be more iconic names the actor passed on during his career. With that being said, Leo isn’t necessarily opposed to putting on tights and saving the world in a giant superhero franchise.
“You never know,” he says. “You never know. They’re getting better and better as far as complex characters in these movies. I haven’t yet. But no, I don’t rule out anything.”
But he isn’t out to prove anything to anyone, he says, nor does he think that’s what audiences want from actors. He pays very little attention to the critical and audience consensus, regarding his acting or his films.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film, The Revenant, is currently playing in limited release and will open in wide release in January, 2016. DiCaprio isn’t playing the role of a superhero, but one of a man who vows to set out on a path of revenge and redemption, when he is left for dead by his comrades. There has been talk that Leo may finally win that coveted Oscar for his role as Hugh Glass in the film, but Michael Fassbender’s work in Steve Jobs seems to be pretty stiff competition.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]