Despite a more than ten-year age gap, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio shared many similarities as they soared to international stardom in the early 1990s. Both were becoming Hollywood heartthrobs, establishing themselves as versatile leading actors, competing for similar roles, and even appearing together on screen at one point.

Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprioJohnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio
Depp and DiCaprio crossed paths in the early ’90s while working on the 1993 film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. In this family drama, Depp portrays Gilbert Grape, who cares for his mentally disabled younger brother, Arnie (played by DiCaprio). While their on-screen chemistry was evident, there was no real brotherly connection between them off-screen.

Johnny Depp Didn’t Treat Leonardo DiCaprio Right On Set

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Johnny Depp revealed that he was facing personal difficulties during the filming of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape due to his breakup with Winona Ryder. He acknowledged that these challenges had an impact on his less-than-friendly treatment of DiCaprio on set.

Depp told Cosmopolitan:
“It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don’t know why. I tortured him. I really did.”
It appears that Depp may have exploited DiCaprio’s younger age to his advantage. Johnny Depp remarked that during that time, he frequently heard discussions about video games. He mentioned that it was a rather somber phase. He firmly declined to share his cigarette with Leo, who sought refuge from his mother once more.

Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gilbert GrapeJohnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gilbert Grape
While Johnny Depp’s treatment of the young actor during the filming of Gilbert Grape was less than gentle, he made it clear that he had a deep respect for DiCaprio’s talent as an actor.

Depp continued:

“I’d say the absolute truth is that I respect Leo a lot. He worked really hard on that film and spent a lot of time researching. He came to set, and he was ready to work hard, and all his ducks were in a row.”
As the decade unfolded, Leonardo DiCaprio’s career continued to thrive, reaching a significant early milestone with James Cameron’s iconic historical romance, Titanic. Interestingly, it was revealed that Johnny Depp had been offered the role of Jack Dawson, which DiCaprio ultimately played, but Depp declined the opportunity.

Johnny Depp Has Turned Down Other Iconic Roles

Titanic doesn’t stand alone as the only film Johnny Depp declined; he’s passed on roles that could have potentially catapulted his career to even greater heights. In addition to turning down the part of Jack in Titanic, he also declined an opportunity in the highly praised 1999 film, The Matrix. Depp attributed his packed schedule as the reason for his refusal, ultimately leading Keanu Reeves to step into the role, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp
The Matrix isn’t the sole intersection of Johnny Depp’s and Keanu Reeves’ cinematic journeys. In 1994, Depp was presented with the opportunity to portray Jack Traven in the popular film Speed. Likewise, for the action-thriller Point Break, Depp was under consideration for the role of Johnny Utah, but the producers ultimately opted for Reeves to fill the part.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape can be rented or purchased on Google Play.