While Steven Spielberg's Peter Pan movie Hook wasn't a massive hit upon release, it wasn't for lack of trying. The film had an impressive cast that included Dustin Hoffman in the title role, Robin Williams as the adult Peter Pan, and strong supporting performances by Julia Roberts and Bob Hoskins. Those are impressive names by themselves, but it appears Hook could have had another big name or at least, somebody that became a big name, in Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Amblin Road Instagram account, which follows the career of Steven Spielberg, recently included an image of a young Leonardo Dicaprio auditioning for a role in Hook. It seems that the image was part of a piece that was actually focusing on the casting directors, but happened to get the shot with a future Oscar winner. Check it out.
Hook hit theaters in December of 1991 so this image was likely taken more than a full year earlier than that. At that point, Leonardo DiCaprio certainly wasn't a household name. He wouldn't even have his recurring role on the TV series Growing Pains until the same year Hook hit theaters.
Two years later Leonardo DiCaprio would have his break out year, starring alongside Robert De Niro in This Boy's Life and receiving his first of many Oscar nominations for What's Eating Gilbert Grape. And the rest is history.
It's unclear what role Leonardo DiCaprio was auditioning for, he would have been about 15 at this point, which makes it unlikely he was looking at the role of Jack, the son of Robin Williams' character. He would have been significantly older that Charlie Korsmo, the actor who got that role. It's more likely DiCaprio was looking for another part. Perhaps he would have been one of the Lost Boys. Can you imagine Leonardo DiCaprio as Rufio? Dante Basco, who got that role, is slightly younger than DiCaprio, so that looks like a better fit.
Leonardo DiCaprio isn't the only actor who very nearly appeared in Hook but did not. Recently, Jurassic Park's Joseph Mazzello revealed that his role as the young Tim in the film came about following an audition to play Jack in Hook. Spielberg apparently liked the young actor but decided he wasn't right for Hook, and so put him in the other movie instead.
One has to notice that Leonardo DiCaprio didn't get a similar opportunity. It would take Leo more than a decade to get his chance to work with Steven Spielberg, in 2002's Catch Me if You Can. It was probably worth the wait all things considered. The role would nab DiCaprio a Golden Globe nomination.
Hook probably wouldn't have made Leonardo DiCaprio a star any faster than he became one. The movie wasn't well loved by critics or the box office upon its release. Today, however, the film is very well regarded by many fans. If it had been a very early Leonardo DiCaprio role, it might have achieved that cult classic status a little faster.
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