The Two Superhero Roles Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down

Leonardo DiCaprio has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for nearly two full decades. He was already responsible for some great roles in movies like The Basketball Diaries and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, but once Titanic was released, everything changed. He’s gone on to make a number of memorable films but so far he’s shied away from anything that would get him involved in the film franchises that Hollywood loves so much. We wrote yesterday about he had a chance to be Anakin Skywalker once upon a time, but that wasn’t his only brush with playing a fantastical character. The actor has had multiple opportunities to play comic book superheroes. But he’s turned them all down.

Leonardo DiCaprio took meetings in order to discuss taking both the role of Robin in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever, as well as the role of Spider-Man when Sam Raimi launched the franchise. In an interview with The Short List, DiCaprio says in both cases he simply "didn’t feel ready" to put on the suit of a comic book hero. DiCaprio is very political in his answers, so it’s not entirely clear how close he came to the roles, or how much he actually considered taking the parts.

Even the interviewer asks the actor is he feels like he "dodged a bullet" by not taking role of Robin. The Batman films that Joel Schumacher took over from Tim Burton are not viewed nearly as well as the first couple movies. While Robin is not the reason, it’s pretty clear DiCaprio made the right choice there. DiCaprio is a great actor but there was nothing he could do in that scenario. Those movies are actually full of great actors, and none of them were able to stop that train from going off the tracks.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Spider-Man, however, is a different story. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is credited by many as one of the films that first legitimized the comic book adaptation as a film that could be successful both financially and critically. Tobey Maguire did a fantastic job in his own right, and there’s no need to even consider if the movies could have been better, but they certainly would have been different.

DiCaprio doesn’t rule out ever playing a superhero. He says that they are becoming more complex characters, which in itself gives an implication why he may have decided against the earlier roles, so it’s certainly a possibility that we might see him in the MCU or a future DC movie if the right role ever comes along. Which character do you think would be right for Leonardo DiCaprio today? Let us know in the comments.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.