Leonardo DiCaprio Birthday: 5 major franchise roles the Oscar winner passed on in his career

Leonardo DiCaprio is yet to play a superhero in his career and here's a look at the times when the actor has turned down some of the biggest franchise movie roles over the years.

Published on Nov 11, 2022   |  01:51 PM IST  |  224.2K
Leonardo DiCaprio
A look at major projects turned down by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and the Oscar-winning actor has time and again showcased his unmatched acting talents over the years. From winning prestigious accolades such as the Oscar to working with some of the most esteemed directors in the industry, DiCaprio has proven he can take up any role and make it his own. 

Given that majority of the Hollywood business today runs around sequels, prequels and reboots, it's impressive how Leonardo has managed to carve out such an illustrious career without joining the bandwagon of big franchise movies. The actor has starred in films across different genres but hasn't yet played a superhero role. To think that DiCaprio wasn't offered to play comic book characters would be naive and hence you will be surprised to know the major franchises that the actor has turned down over the years. 

Early on in his career, Leonardo began to make his presence felt by starring in independent films and over the years, he has stuck to collaborating with some of the finest directors in Hollywood but never played character roles that have ended up as franchises. As the actor turns 48, we take a look at the major roles that he has turned down in his career. 

Batman Forever 

Not as the caped crusader but Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Robin. After Batman (1989), Tim Burton had plans to introduce Marlon Wayans as Robin in his sequel, Batman Returns although that didn't materialise and after Joel Schumacher took over as director from Burton on 1995's Batman Forever, he approached DiCaprio for the role of Robin. The actor in an interview with The ShortList admitted the same and said, "As I recall I took the meeting but didn’t want to play the role. Joel Schumacher is a very talented director but I don’t think I was ready for anything like that." The role eventually went to Chris O'Donnell who later also appeared in its sequel, Batman and Robin. 

The Matrix

While Keanu Reeves' career has been synonymous with The Matrix films, the actor wasn't the first choice when it comes to the casting of Neo and that before him several other stars including Leonardo DiCaprio were approached. The actor who was fresh out of the success of James Cameron's 1997 epic Titanic was approached by producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura for The Matrix. DiCaprio reportedly also met with Bonaventura and the Wachowski Sisters though eventually decided to turn down the role because he didn't want to do "another visual effects movie" after Titanic. The role eventually went to Reeves who received a massive fan base for the franchise and starred in its three sequels. 


Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Leonardo DiCaprio could have been a part of the Star Wars universe and it all seems impossible to imagine now. The actor was approached for the role of grown-up Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones. According to DiCaprio, he did in fact meet with George Lucas to discuss the role but "just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point" as stated by him in the interview with The Shortlist. The Skywalker role then went onto Hayden Christensen. Taking on Anakin's role would have meant Leonardo would have been Darth Vader in the Star Wars universe.


Before the MCU became as huge as it is today, the first major superhero franchise to hit the screens happened to be Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire as the web slinger. Although before Tobey wore the iconic suit, his close friend from the industry, Leonardo was also approached for the role of Peter Parker although the actor has admitted that he turned it down after not feeling ready to wear the superhero suit in his career. Maguire then starred in the Spider-Man trilogy and recently also made a cameo in Marvel's Spider-Man: No Way Home starring Tom Holland as the web slinger. 

Hocus Pocus 

Leonardo DiCaprio left everyone surprised after he admitted in an interview with Variety that he turned down "more money than I ever dreamed of" to play Max in Hocus Pocus and opting to audition for What's Eating Gilbert Grape. The actor said, "I don't know where the hell I got the nerve." Although the decision to star in What's Eating Gilbert Grape did change Leonardo's life given that it earned him his first-ever Oscar nomination. As for Hocus Pocus, the film starring Omri Katz as Max went on to become a Halloween classic and also received a sequel recently. 


As for Leonardo DiCaprio's career, despite turning down these franchise films, the actor delivered notable performances in major projects such as The Revenant, Inception, Shutter Island, The Departed and more. 

ALSO READ: 28 Best ranked movies by Leonardo DiCaprio

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A writer with 6 years of experience, addicted to coffee, films, and sarcasm. Currently exploring all things Hollywood...

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Nov 11, 2022
He like his friend brad Pitt won’t ever get married . They will drift from women to women enjoying fruits of single dom.