De Niro Pitched Leonardo DiCaprio To Martin Scorsese

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It seems Robert De Niro had a huge impact on Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting career. Namely, De Niro suggested to his director colleague Martin Scorsese to try working with Leonardo in the early stage of his career.

The first collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese was on Gangs of New York in 2002, and they continued their work together on another four films. The last movie they did together was the recent hit, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Scorsese said, “Robert De Niro told me, ‘By the way, I’m working with this young kid. He’s really good. You should work with him sometime. His name is DiCaprio.’ And I said, ‘OK.’”
“The last collaboration I did with De Niro was (1995 film) Casino, which was our eighth film. It’s been different since. We don’t see each other that often. So, for him to recommend somebody, out of the blue, that way to me, during a phone call, was very, very special.”

Scorsese admitted that DiCaprio’s role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape convinced him of the actor’s talent. He added, “I hadn’t seen What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in the theatre, but I happened to catch part of it on television, on one of the film channels. Myself and my wife were watching it, and I thought it was a documentary. I didn’t know. I didn’t recognize Johnny Depp. The mother was great. And I was amazed by Leo. And then, I realized that it was actually a staged film. I thought, ‘Who’s that boy?’ We saw the name, and it was the name that De Niro told me about.”

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