Sharon Stone Once Paid Leonardo DiCaprio’s Wages Because the Studio Didn’t Want Him

Esquire Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine a time in which Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t sought after by every casting director in Hollywood. He was taking on major roles in his early teens and had already earned an Academy Award nomination. Yet, even amidst all that early success, some weren’t convinced.

In her new autobiography, The Beauty of Living Twice, actor Sharon Stone has revealed that she had to pay Leonardo DiCaprio’s wages for 1995’s The Quick and the Dead because the studio didn’t want him in the role.

"This kid named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who nailed the audition," Stone wrote, going on to say she auditioned many other teen actors for the character of The Kid. “In my opinion he was the only one who came in and cried, begging his father to love him as he died in the scene."

The suits at the studio, TriStar Pictures, weren't so keen. They asked, "'Why an unknown, Sharon, why are you always shooting yourself in the foot?'" She was unmoved by their protests, so they gave her an ultimatum. "The studio said if I wanted him so much, I could pay him out of my own salary. So I did," Stone writes.

The film was directed by Sam Raimi, who went on to create the original Spiderman trilogy, and Stone recalls that she had to fight for him to get on the project too. The studio saw him as a "D-movie director", following his success with The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, and Stone had to convince them that Raimi "would work nearly for free as an enticement".

"Getting a producer credit as an actress is often thought of in my business as a ‘vanity deal,’ meaning they pay you for the job but shut the fuck up and stay out of the way," Stone wrote about her role in packing the film out with talent. "I won’t accept a vanity deal and let them know that upfront. This is illegal, I say, and I like to work within the law. That gets a lot of silence and not a lot of joy on the other end."

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