Clint Eastwood

“He could have made a lot of money”: Leonardo DiCaprio Agreed for Just 10% of His Usual Fee to Work With Clint Eastwood

From beginning his acting career as a teenager to working with the most prolific filmmakers in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio’s journey to the top has been an inspirational one. The Titanic star with the attractive boyish looks is one of the few celebrities who can boast of collaborations with James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino who make up the industry’s greatest minds.

Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio

In 2011, DiCaprio also realized his dream of working with another Hollywood giant, actor and director Clint Eastwood in the biopic J. Edgar based on the life of the pioneering FBI director. The Aviator star who was already earning huge paychecks from his blockbusters, surprisingly did this film for a very modest sum of money despite having the power to demand much more.

Leonardo DiCaprio Earned A Surprisingly Low Amount For J. Edgar

In 2011, veteran Hollywood filmmaker Clint Eastwood directed Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar, a biopic based on the life of the first director of the FBI, J.Edgar Hoover. The film was offered to Eastwood with a restrictive budget of $35 million which proved to be a difficult task considering the potential scale of the production. But the desire to bring to life one of 20th century’s greatest American influencers made both Eastwood and DiCaprio take up the challenge. The Oscar winning director spoke to Hollywood Reporter and praised The Departed actor for his willingness to play the character despite being offered a significantly small payday.

He could have made a lot of money just doing spectacle movies with all kinds of CGI. But he wants to vary his career, like I’ve always looked to vary mine as a director.”

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar

DiCaprio who earned just $2 million for this film as opposed to his usual $20 million,  is no stranger to period films and biopics, having appeared in films like The Aviator, Revolutionary Road, and Catch me of you Can. The actor though, despite understanding the aesthetics of the genre, did not see eye to eye with Eastwood on many aspects and vowed to not work with the director in the future. The instance that led to this decision was a moment on set when Eastwood did not heed DiCaprio’s request for an extra take and instead, wrapped up filming for the day.

Leonardo DiCaprio Went The Extra Mile To Become J. Edgar Hoover

A look into Leonardo DiCaprio’s career will show that the actor has consistently taken up challenging roles and executed them with ease. The ability to do this comes with a dogged determination to bring out the best in each character and DiCaprio has done that time and again through his films. It was no different for The Wolf of Wall Street star when he signed on for J.Edgar directed by Clint Eastwood. The celebrity proved his passion for cinema when he chose to sweat it out for hours in the make-up chair to get the look of the character to perfection. According to producer Robert Lorenz’s statement to Hollywood Reporter,

We discussed the idea of relying on visual effects to make it easier for the actors. But Leo was insistent. He wanted to be sure it was going to look right.”

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio sat through extensive hours of make up to transform into J. Edgar Hoover

Leonardo DiCaprio’s patience and persistence paid off as the star was able to convincingly portray the enigmatic director of the FBI with his trademark confidence and conviction.

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