Leonardo DiCaprio has had the pleasure of being directed by Martin Scorsese on several occasions. Comedy movie The Wolf of Wall Street and thriller movie Shutter Island are just two on a growing list. Turns out, DiCaprio has another of Scorsese’s frequent collaborators to thank for the opportunity – Robert De Niro.
During the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where DiCaprio and Scorsese were present, the acclaimed director talked about how their relationship came to be. “Robert De Niro told me, ‘By the way, I’m working with this young kid. He’s really good. You should work with him sometime. His name is DiCaprio.’ And I said, ‘OK’,” Scorsese recalled.
“The last collaboration I did with De Niro was Casino, which was our eighth film. It’s been different since,” he continued, per Digital Spy. “We don’t see each other that often. So, for him to recommend somebody, out of the blue, that way to me, during a phone call, was very, very special.” De Niro had worked on one of DiCaprio’s earliest projects, This Boy’s Life, and clearly, the experience left an impression.
In a case of serendipity, the deal was sealed when Scorsese stumbled upon What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? on TV. “Myself and my wife were watching it, and I thought it was a documentary. I didn’t know. I didn’t recognize Johnny [Depp],” Scorese said. “The mother was great. And I was amazed by [Leonardo]. And then, I realised that it was actually a staged film. I thought, ‘Who’s that boy?’ We saw the name, and it was the name that De Niro told me about.”
The rest, as they say, is history. DiCaprio featured in Scorsese’s the Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and short film The Audition, in addition to the aforementioned. They continue to have a fruitful relationship, with Killers of the Flower Moon coming up as well.
Scorsese reunited with De Niro on Netflix movie The Irishman as well. Maybe we’ll see the three of them together one day, wouldn’t that be something?