Why Leonardo DiCaprio Has Never Been Cast In A Superhero Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio-Joaquin Phoenix

Over a career that spans three decades, Leonardo DiCaprio has appeared in everything from sitcoms to independent films to massive blockbusters — but never a superhero movie. It’s easy to assume that an actor who has been nominated for six Academy Awards (he won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in 2016 for The Revenant) might shy away from movies that lack the cache of the character-driven fare that usually attracts DiCaprio; however, with projects like Watchmen and Joker elevating the genre beyond pure (mindless) action films, there have been ample meaty roles that DiCaprio could have sunk his teeth into. So, why hasn’t he ever appeared in a superhero movie?

DiCaprio appeared in the critically-acclaimed films This Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (for which he received his first Oscar nomination), as well as less well-received fare such as The Quick and the Dead, Total Eclipse, and The Basketball Diaries before starring in the film that made him a heartthrob and a household name, Titanic. DiCaprio has spoken in interviews about his affection for the film. It paved the way for DiCaprio to work with directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and Quentin Tarantino. DiCaprio is impossible to pigeonhole, playing a wide assortment of characters from a reclusive billionaire, to a charismatic con artist, to a mental patient, to a washed-up TV actor, to an undercover cop — so why is he conspicuously absent when it comes to the superhero genre? Oscar winners Jeff Bridges, Brie Larson, Gwyneth Paltrow, William Hurt, Ben Affleck, and Natalie Portman are just a few who have gone on to appear in a Marvel or DC project.

Warner Bros. Wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to Play the Riddler in Nolan's Dark  Knight Movies - Comic Book Movies and Superhero Movie News - SuperHeroHype

It isn’t because DiCaprio hasn’t had the opportunity. In an interview with ShortList, DiCaprio confirmed he hadn’t found the right project. He met with director Joel Schumacher about possibly playing Robin in Batman Forever, but DiCaprio confessed he wasn’t interested in the role despite considering Schumacher to be a “very talented director.” DiCaprio also mentioned being contacted about Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, but again, DiCaprio “didn’t feel ready to put on the suit yet.” The part the eventually went to DiCaprio’s friend Tobey Maguire. DiCaprio was careful not to disparage either franchise. When asked if he wanted to play a superhero, DiCaprio responded, “You never know. They’re getting better and better as far as complex characters in these movies. I haven’t yet. But no, I don’t rule out anything.” It seems DiCaprio is open to a superhero movie under the right circumstances.

Leonardo DiCaprio holding a hammer in Django Unchained

When the news of Warner Bros. Joker origin movie broke, Martin Scorsese was listed among the producers. Sources stated the studio was hoping Scorsese’s involvement would lure DiCaprio to the project. The plan didn’t work, and with DC introducing the multiverse in 2022, this could be one reason DiCaprio shied away from these types of movies. A stand-alone film might tempt DiCaprio more than recreating a character in a long-running franchise.

DiCaprio remains elusive when it comes to headlining a superhero vehicle, despite many A-listers eagerly attaching themselves to these high-profile projects. DiCaprio is familiar with the Marvel universe: his father was an underground comics distributor [via Rolling Stone]. The actor is also a huge fan of Stan Lee. Before his death, Lee claimed DiCaprio was interested in playing the comic book legend in a biopic. DiCaprio may always be the type of actor who is more interested in playing the man behind the masks than any of the characters wearing them.


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