HomeMovie ReviewLeonardo DiCaprio's Greatest Pre-Titanic Roles

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Greatest Pre-Titanic Roles

Leonardo DiCaprio got here from humbler origins than one would anticipate for a kid actor who was incomes roles in commercials and tv collection from a really younger age. Rising up in Echo Park, Los Angeles — then a neighborhood recognized extra for gang violence than the next onset of hipsterdom and ubiquitous gentrification of at present — DiCaprio labored his manner via a whole lot of casting calls earlier than starting to safe common appearances in commercials. By the early ’90s the actor managed to get forged in a number of television collection, most notably in Rising Pains, turning into a recognizable younger face usually splashed throughout the pages of teenybopper magazines like Tiger Beat.

An unlimited majority of younger actors who had been set on that path within the ’80s burned brightly, then fanned out when the burden of transitioning to movie roles separated the boys from the boys. DiCaprio would not fall sufferer to that development, making an clever collection of decisions about which administrators would information his profession. Baz Luhrmann and Lasse Halström would turn into essentially the most notable, seeing one thing grander throughout the younger actor, who had already carved out an id for himself by age 13.

Whereas his heartthrob fame helped him safe a better profile, by the point he was a teen he sought to shed that picture. 1993 noticed his biggest leap from adolescent star to critical actor, as he secured an necessary position in This Boy’s Life reverse Robert DeNiro, then crafted a standout efficiency in What’s Consuming Gilbert Grape, as a developmentally-disabled boy rising up in a small Iowa city. By then DiCaprio was off and operating, incomes nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the position of Arnie in Gilbert Grape. The subsequent 4 years noticed continued development for him in dramatic roles, earlier than James Cameron forged DiCaprio in Titanic in 1997, on the time the largest-grossing movie and a bona fide popping out occasion that firmly established him as one of many largest main males in Hollywood. Although he subsequently sought to interrupt away from the romantic motion pictures he tended in the direction of within the Nineties, these early roles usually confirmed hints of his future prowess as a number one man.

The next are Leonardo DiCaprio’s finest pre-Titanic performances.



8 Luke Brower on Rising Pains


It could have appeared insignificant for the sake of displaying his performing craft, however DiCaprio’s position on the community sitcom Rising Pains definitely raised his superstar profile, as Luke Brower, a homeless child who will get taken in by the Seaver household, was added to the present throughout its seventh season. The position tapped DiCaprio’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks attraction for a present that had been stagnating in rankings, giving him a nationwide profile that led to extra audition alternatives in movie, impressing upon casting administrators DiCaprio’s weighty performing ability. It is somwhat of an unfair compairson, however look no additional than Kirk Cameron and the opposite younger stars of Rising Pains to see how DiCaprio outpaced his whole era of younger television actors.

Associated: The ten Most Important Leonardo DiCaprio Moments in Films, Ranked

7 Arthur Rimbaud in Complete Eclipse

Wonderful Line Options

Whereas Complete Eclipse was a business and demanding failure, DiCaprio’s position as poet Arthur Rimbaud was a transparent indication of the actor’s intent to hunt roles exterior the mainstream, because the UK-produced movie noticed him taking profession dangers, performing in a film that included a same-sex love affair between Rimbaud and poet Paul Verlaine (David Thewlis). DiCaprio efficiently took on the position of a French poet, broadening his performing horizons to incorporate eurocentric material typical of 90s unbiased movie. By performing within the Agnieszka Holland movie, DiCaprio was making a transparent assertion that he was simply as fascinated about persevering with to hunt roles in arthouse movies as a lot as bigger studio motion pictures. Whereas Holland’s film was a vital dud, it spoke to DiCaprio’s fearlessness to take dangers when an distinctive director was put in place.

6 Hank in Marvin’s Room

Miramax Movies

One other depthful position in between DiCaprio’s first Oscar nomination and Titanic, Marvin’s Room noticed him performing in an indie reverse heavyweights Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. DiCaprio performed Hank, an angsty teen who will get dedicated to a psychological establishment after setting fireplace to his mom’s home. His efficiency garnered additional vital acclaim, with Roger Ebert already opining that “DiCaprio, on his good days, is without doubt one of the finest younger actors we’ve got.” 1996 proved to be the most important 12 months of development for DiCaprio, notching this movie and Romeo + Juliet as he abruptly went from a youngster in supporting roles to seeing his face on film posters, alongside a few of the 90s most well-known actresses.

5 Price “The Child” Herod in The Fast and the Lifeless

Tri Star Footage

DiCaprio’s solely Western thus far (Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is about to be his second), The Fast and the Lifeless noticed the actor, whereas nonetheless a youngster, steal the present from veterans like Gene Hackman within the Sharon Stone automobile. With a personality forged within the mildew of Billy the Child, DiCaprio displayed a cocksureness that belied the character’s insecurities, bringing a little bit further to a task that might have simply as simply been forgettable. The movie loved solely modest field workplace success, nevertheless it proved by 1995 that DiCaprio might be trusted to excel in a large-budget studio movie, laying the groundwork for a giant 1996, when the actor made a direct leap to the highest of the decision sheet.

4 Arnie in What’s Consuming Gilbert Grape

Leonardo DiCaprio in Whats Eating Gilbert Grape
Paramount Footage

Lasse Halström’s 1993 movie What’s Consuming Gilbert Grape noticed DiCaprio’s first main try to interrupt kind and discover the boundaries of his performing versatility, as Arnie Grape. DiCaprio’s efficiency was championed for his capability to point out the emotional depth of an intellectually-impaired particular person, whose mischievous conduct drives the movie’s pressure, as Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) grapples with the boundaries of his duty for his youthful brother. Enjoying a developmentally disabled position has been a much-debated matter within the trajectory of an performing profession, and if this is not one thing that may essentially occur at present, DiCaprio gave an earnest, researched strategy to the duty, and earned the favor of critic Gene Siskel, who famous for the Chicago Tribune that DiCaprio was “correctly Oscar-nominated for this position.”

Associated: 10 Main Roles Johnny Depp Turned Down or Did not Get

3 Tobias Wolff in This Boy’s Life

twentieth Century Fox

Already 18 by the point he performed Tobias Wolff in This Boy’s Life, DiCaprio had a bodily look that allowed him to play considerably youthful characters. This benefited him in the long term, as a result of he at all times appeared poised past his years. Enjoying the well-known writer as a traumatized boy might be argued as DiCaprio’s finest younger position sheerly for the way he held his personal reverse Robert DeNiro, who handpicked DiCaprio to be Toby. It is a painstaking have a look at home abuse that by no means really obtained its due because of the stage play construction and disconcertingly intimate nature of the story. If that did not translate to audiences, too dangerous, as a result of a number of high-profile administrators sought to forged DiCaprio after seeing this quantity of depth at such a younger age. This led to a clumsy mid-90s interval the place his expertise outweighed a few of the movies he was being forged in.

2 Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries

New Line Cinema

One among DiCaprio’s extra underrated movies, The Basketball Diaries tailored punk poet and writer Jim Carroll’s fashionable memoir of the identical title for the display, with DiCaprio taking part in Carroll, who navigates the drug-laden streets of Nineteen Seventies New York Metropolis, ultimately turning into swept into heroin habit whereas squandering his promising expertise on the hardwood. It was the primary introduction to DiCaprio’s distinctive capability for narration, a expertise that later would make him a favourite of Martin Scorsese. He eloquently mimicked Carroll’s poetic voice with an assuredness that made you’re feeling he belonged on this seedy world, already an grownup someway trapped in a teenaged physique. The movie’s tone was one in every of anxiousness, with Janet Maslin remarking, for The New York Occasions, that “the star shines, however the film is difficult to observe.” Essential although, was this was the place DiCaprio crossed over to a male viewers.

1 Romeo Montague in Romeo + Juliet

DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet
twentieth Century Fox

DiCaprio’s relationship with director Baz Luhrmann has been one in every of his most fruitful, yielding Romeo + Juliet and, a few years later, The Nice Gatsby. Regardless of their thirteen-year separation, each had been princely characters befitting solely of Hollywood’s most promising younger expertise — at totally different phases of a storied profession. The movie concurrently elevated DiCaprio amongst feminine and male audiences, and confirmed that he may lead a movie that dared to modernize Shakespeare for a younger viewers.

It could not have appeared important on the time, however DiCaprio was nominated for an MTV Film Award for Greatest Male Efficiency, diagrammatic of an actor who was each tremendously commercially viable in a studio movie, and possibly extra importantly, tremendous interesting to younger audiences. For higher or worse, DiCaprio has been a intercourse image since his teenage years, and one of the best roles to come back his manner as a younger man tapped that, in addition to his confident performing acumen.



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