Already on that Oscar trail
From the editors of INSTYLE
Words by Jennifer Davis
Can you imagine Leonardo DiCaprio in Hocus Pocus? Well, it might have been. The actor auditioned for our favourite 1993 Halloween movie, and the film’s director, Kenny Ortega, absolutely loved him. Too bad he was also up for two career-making movies, including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
The casting directors warned Ortega that DiCaprio would probably have to turn down the movie, but apparently his audition was a must-see regardless of whether or not he could accept the role. ‘The [casting] ladies called me up and they said, “We’re sending you an actor today but he’s not available but you’re going to fall in love with him but you can’t have him.” I’m like, “Why are you teasing me?” They were like, “You need to see this guy because he’ll inspire you and if nothing else, he’ll help you find the right guy to play Max,”’ Orega recalls to Entertainment Weekly.
‘And they send me in a young Leonardo DiCaprio, who I completely and absolutely fall in love with,’ he continued. ‘He’s just the most sincere and most centred and a wild child at the same time. He was feeling awkward. He was like, “I just feel really bad being here because I’m up for two other movies and I really want them both and I don’t want to lead you on.” I was like, “That’s okay, I was already warned.’”
Oretga asked him what movies he was hoping to book. ‘One of them was This Boy’s Life and the other one was What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,’ DiCaprio revealed to Ortega. ‘Obviously, he left and incredible things happened for that young man and to this day, but meeting him awakened me to the kind of spirit and fun and sincerity that I was looking for in an actor and when Omri Katz came around, I fell in love again and he was our Max.’
Well, we couldn’t have DiCaprio, but Katz was definitely a great pick.