Leonardo DiCaprio Was Once Turned Down for This Film Because of His ‘Atrocious Voice’

As one of Hollywood’s premier actors, Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio pretty much has his pick in whatever role he chooses. But back in his earlier days, even the Titanic star didn’t get a free pass for every role. In fact, there was one part DiCaprio couldn’t clinch because of his ‘atrocious voice.’

Leonardo DiCaprio lost out a role to Ewan McGregor because of his voice

Leonardo DiCaprio posing in a suit.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Netflix

DiCaprio has enjoyed being one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors. But even when his popularity had reached its peak, the Oscar-winner wasn’t immune to rejection every now and then. This was the case when he auditioned for 2001’s Moulin Rouge.

The film was a romance musical that would’ve seen DiCaprio reunite with his Romeo + Juliet director Baz Luhrman. It was a commercial success and received several nominations at the academy awards.

Back in a resurfaced interview with Variety, DiCaprio revealed that he lost out on the role because he just wasn’t cut out for that genre of film.

“To be honest, I’m not really prepared to do a musical, simply because I have a pretty atrocious voice,” DiCaprio said.

Because of this, he would lose Moulin Rouge to Ewan McGregor. But not for a lack of trying.

“But we had a friendly thing where it was me and him [Baz Luhrman] and a piano player, and we tried to sing a song together. It didn’t go too well. I think it was ‘Lean on Me,’ and when I hit the high note he just turned to me. ‘Yes, D, I don’t know if this conversation should continue,’” DiCaprio recalled.

How Leonardo DiCaprio learned how to handle rejection

In order to become the movie star he eventually became, DiCaprio had to change his attitude towards auditioning and rejection. It was a lesson he learned at an early age when he was first starting out in the industry. When auditioning, DiCaprio would try to prove himself to casting directors by attempting to be whoever they needed him to be.

“You’re supposed to set yourself up as somebody that can basically do anything that they want,” DiCaprio said to the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. “And I remember sort of having that attitude for a while and I didn’t book a job for like a year.”

But that year taught The Wolf of Wall Street star a valuable lesson about acting.

“But the truth is, it was that year of rejection where I took a different attitude towards the audition process and started getting jobs after that,” DiCaprio said. “And I think it was really because I said to myself I’m not dependent on this job. This isn’t going to define me. I started to sell myself less, prepare more for the roles, really investigate the characters as much as I could. And not feel like my self-worth was dependent on whether I booked the job or not.”

The one role Leonardo DiCaprio regrets turning down


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Apart from being rejected, DiCaprio has also turned down his fair share of movie roles as well. In a resurfaced interview with GQ, there was one film in particular that DiCaprio would’ve wanted to do.

Boogie Nights is a movie I loved and I wish I would’ve done,” he shared.

As some know, DiCaprio turned down the Paul Thomas Anderson film to do Titanic. The starring role would later go to Mark Wahlberg. The actor asserted if it was possible, he would’ve tackled the two films at the same time. Still, he didn’t regret doing Titanic.

“I would have been happy to do them both. And the truth is, if I’d not done Titanic, I wouldn’t be able to do the types of movies or have the career I have now, for sure,” DiCaprio said.But it would have been interesting to see if I had gone the other way.”