Leonardo DiCaprio has been put through the wringer for many of his films over the years. In every movie he works on, he immerses himself into a character and a role, often putting himself through hell to achieve the best possible performance. As it turns out, the hell hasn’t always been of DiCaprio’s own making. Johnny Depp recently came forward and admitted that he made life on the set of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape incredibly difficult for the 2016 Oscar nominee.
People reports during an appearance at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Depp opened up about his poor treatment of DiCaprio back in 1993:
It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don’t know why… I tortured him. I really did. He was always talking about these videos games, you know? I told you it was kind of a dark period. ‘No, I will not give you a drag of my cigarette while you hide from your mother again, Leo.'
Johnny Depp didn’t go into detail as to how he specifically tormented Leonardo DiCaprio, but it seems like he simply did not love spending time with his co-star. Perhaps it has something to do with experience. At that point Depp was a much more seasoned actor than the then 19-year-old DiCaprio, and – as Depp describes it – DiCaprio seemed very eager and antsy to learn.
Considering the successful career Leo would go on to achieve in the subsequent decades, we can’t help but wonder if the torture inflicted by Depp inspired and galvanized DiCaprio to be the best he possibly could be at his craft. Of course, Depp overall seems apologetic for his treatment of his fellow thespian. Even during the filming of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape he couldn’t help but admire and respect the amount of commitment that DiCaprio brought to his roles.
Even at such a young age, Leonardo DiCaprio went above and beyond the call of duty in order to properly research his roles, and always showed up to set completely ready to film. The commitment seems to have ultimately paid off, considering that DiCaprio’s performance in The Revenant beat out Johnny Depp’s portrayal as "Whitey" Bulger in Black Mass for a Best Actor nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
All in all, things seem to have worked out well for DiCaprio in the end. Whether or not he will win his first ever Oscar remains to be seen, but it’s clear to see he has come a long way since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. We will just have to wait and see what happens when The Academy Awards air and the awards are announced on February 28.