“I tracked him down”: After Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down $43M Mark Wahlberg Movie, Director Got Actor’s Father Instead for ‘Licorice Pizza’ 24 Years Later

After Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down $43M Mark Wahlberg Movie, Director Got Actor's Father Instead for 'Licorice Pizza' 24 Years Later
Featured Video

Leonardo DiCaprio has been a busy little bee ever since his Hollywood career took off all those years ago. Getting a chance to work with notable and iconic directors over the years, DiCaprio has always had to face tough choices while working simultaneously on several projects.


Well, back in 1997, the actor rejected Paul Thomas Anderson’s film titled Boogie Nights after which Mark Wahlberg was cast in the lead role. 24 years later, Thomas Anderson approached DiCaprio’s father for a cameo in his 2021 movie titled Licorice Pizza and his father obliged!

A still from Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza (2021)
A still from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza (2021)

When Paul Thomas Anderson Tracked Down Leonardo DiCaprio’s Father

Back in 1997, Mark Wahlberg and Paul Thomas Anderson worked together to create the drama/comedy movie titled Boogie Nights. The movie received a high rating and Wahlberg found quite the fame he so rightfully deserved.


Before the Ted actor was finalized, however, the role was initially offered to Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio rejected the offer and starred in other movies instead of working alongside Paul Thomas Anderson. 24 years later, Thomas Anderson was creating the 2021 movie titled Licorice Pizza. In the coming-of-age movie, the director had a role to offer to someone who owned a wig shop.

George DiCaprio, the father of Leonardo DiCaprio in a still from Licorice Pizza (2021)
George DiCaprio, the father of Leonardo DiCaprio in a still from Licorice Pizza (2021)

Also read: “I’m not saying I would have”: Leonardo DiCaprio Might Consider Rejecting ‘Titanic’ For 1 Movie If He Can Turn Back the Clock

Lucky for the director, he had a guy in mind that seemed to fit the role perfectly. Talking about how Paul Thomas Anderson tracked down Leonardo DiCaprio‘s father and asked him for a cameo. In a Twitter thread by Kyle Buchanan, the director answered some questions about his 2021 movie.


“I created a picture of a guy who owned a wig shop that sold these water beds, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I kept saying, ‘Who do I know that looks like this?’ And like a bolt of lightning, I remember, like, ‘Leo’s dad looks exactly like this.'”

He further continued,

“So I tracked him down, asked him if he’d ever be interested in being in a film. He said, ‘Sure.’ I explained the scenario to him. He said, ‘Sounds great. Did Leo tell you that I owned a water bed company?’ It was called Foggy Bottom. It was one of those things. I said, ‘Well, you’re the right man for the job.'”

In another interview, Thomas Anderson talked about why Leonardo DiCaprio actually rejected his role in Boogie Nights. Stating that he has no feelings of hatred against the actor, Anderson agreed that DiCaprio had a tough choice to make.

Suggested: “It was actually very cute”: Watching Leonardo DiCaprio Nervous Before an Off Script Moment Was a Sight to Behold For Quentin Tarantino


Leonardo DiCaprio Chose The Right Film In 1997

A still of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic (1997)
A still of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic (1997)

Related: Before Turning Down Spider-Man, Leonardo DiCaprio Rejected Playing DC Superhero in Controversial $336M Batman Movie

In an interview with Screenrant, the Magnolia director talked about why Leonardo DiCaprio had a tough choice to make when he was offered Boogie Nights. Stating that there was another movie offered to the actor, Thomas Anderson revealed that DiCaprio made the right choice.

“That is very true that I asked Leo to be in Boogie Nights, and he spent many, many months agonizing and debating about it. Ultimately, what I came to realize, about halfway into that long decision-making process, is that he had a choice to make—either to do Titanic or to do Boogie Nights, and he chose to do Titanic”

In the end, Boogie Nights received a rating of 7.9/10 on IMDB and 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. As for the 2021 movie, Licorice Pizza received a rating of 7.1/10 on IMDB and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes while getting 3 Oscar nominations. The film is available to stream on Prime Video in the U.S.


Source: Twitter


Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2003

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.