Robert De Niro Sold Martin Scorsese on Leonardo DiCaprio With 1 Short Sentence

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese might be the most iconic actor-director pairing since Robert De Niro and Scorsese. DiCaprio and Scorsese have collaborated several times, but Leo’s nervousness when he found out he would work with the legendary director caused him to spill his lunch. DiCaprio’s opportunity to work with Scorsese might not have happened if not for De Niro lobbying for the young actor to the legendary director.

Robert De Niro (left) and Leonardo DiCaprio embrace as De Niro receives the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2020. DiCaprio and De Niro worked together on one movie, which was enough for De Niro to recommend him to Martin Scorsese.
Robert De Niro (left) and Leonardo DiCaprio | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Turner

Leonardo DiCaprio starred with Robert DeNiro in one of his first movies

As DiCaprio looked to move on from Growing Pains and other TV roles, he landed a prime part — co-starring with De Niro in 1993’s This Boys Life.

DiCaprio’s first movie was Critters 3, and he had a sizable role in the Drew Barrymore-starring Poison Ivy. Still, This Boy’s Life was his breakthrough movie, and De Niro helped him land the part with a screaming match during the audition. 

This Boy’s Life remains the only on-screen collaboration between DiCaprio and De Niro. The younger actor never got over being intimidated working with De Niro, and it turns out De Niro had a memorable experience that led him to vouch for DiCaprio to Scorsese.

De Niro sold Martin Scorsese on DiCaprio with just one “special” sentence

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Working with DeNiro was a big step up for DiCaprio. He learned everything about making movies from his time on set, and This Boy’s Life eventually led to another big step for DiCaprio — working with Scorsese.

DiCaprio’s memorable audition and strong performance in This Boy’s Life caught Scorsese’s eye, but De Niro’s endorsement clinched Leo’s reputation as an actor to watch. As Scorsese said (per Digital Spy):

“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.’ The last collaboration I did with De Niro was ‘Casino,’ which was our eighth film. It’s been different since. 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.”

Martin Scorsese details Robert De Niro’s words of praise for Leonardo DiCaprio

Casino hit theaters in 1995, but De Niro’s praise for DiCaprio left an impression on Scorsese. The actor and director started their collaboration with 2002’s Gangs of New York, and they’ve worked together several more times.

DiCaprio and Scorsese are working together behind the scenes for ‘Devil in the White City’

RELATED: Leonardo DiCaprio Was Directed by Both Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg in One ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Scene — ‘It Was Like a Double Whammy’ 

We’ve long known that Devil in the White City would be coming to Hulu. DiCaprio won’t star in the limited series (Keanu Reeves snagged the lead role), and Scorsese isn’t slated to direct. Yet both serve as executive producers for seven episodes, per IMDb.

DiCaprio and Scorsese plan to team up several more times in the near future, according to IMDb:

  • Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t have a release date, but we know DiCaprio stars in the Scorsese-directed AppleTV+ movie. 
  • DiCaprio stars in The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder. Scorsese directs, and both of them produced the project.
  • Roosevelt features both in their usual jobs as actor and director, and both produce.

DiCaprio and Scorsese continue to add to their list of collaborations. They both have Robert DeNiro to thank for it.

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