Why Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Quit Acting for Breakdancing
Apparently, Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio is a man of many talents. Before hitting it big on the silver screen in blockbusters including Titanic, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street, the superstar considered channeling his love of performing through a different medium than acting.
‘The Aviator’ star eschewed academics
Growing up in a rough area in Hollywood, DiCaprio wanted to break into show business at a young age. He credits his parents for giving him a taste for the arts.
“I always wanted to become an actor. My parents know I was outgoing as a child, and whenever people came over I’d automatically do impressions of them as soon as they left; it was my mom’s favorite thing,” DiCaprio told Interview in 1994. “I grew up in Hollywood but not in any rich neighborhood. But my parents, who were split up, were so good at keeping my environment strong and keeping everything around me not focused on the fact that we were poor.”
The Revenant star confessed that academics were never his strong suit, preferring to socialize rather than study.
“School, I never truly got the knack of. I could never focus on things I didn’t want to learn,” DiCaprio revealed. “Math is just the worst. To this day, I can’t concentrate on it. … actually, I cheated a lot because I could not sit and do homework. Most of the other stuff that I got from school was from hanging out with friends and meeting kids.”
Leonardo DiCaprio can bust a move
In a previous conversation with talk show icon Oprah Winfrey, the Catch Me If You Can star revealed his other talent outside of acting.
“I was a breakdancer,” DiCaprio told Winfrey in 2004, adding, “Now don’t ask me to break-dance, because I’ve since lost my moves. But I was a breakdancer, and I had a choppy, sort of punky haircut.”
Winfrey shared that the Academy Award winner’s nickname during his breakdancing tenure was “The Noodle.”
“That’s from way, way back when I was a little kid in my pop-locking days,” DiCaprio explained of the moniker.
‘Titanic’ star was discouraged early on
DiCaprio admitted that he was somewhat of a spirited child who could rarely be contained, even when on set.
“My mom got me on Romper Room when I was five — it was my favorite show. But they couldn’t control me,” DiCaprio told Interview. “I would run up and smack the camera, and I’d jump around and do my little flips and routines. I wish I could get that tape now.”
The Shutter Island star also recalled a humbling experience during his youth which made him question his pursuit of acting.
“There was this one casting call when I was about 10. They brought five kids in just to see their look and if they’d be right for acting,” DiCaprio explained. “I had this sort of punk haircut because I was into breakdancing at the time. I swear to God, it felt like we were a row of meat. The lady looked at me and at the other kids, saying, ‘Not him, not him not him. You stay.’ I was one of the ‘not hims.'”
Completely deflated, DiCaprio received some much-needed encouragement from his father that helped him stay the course.
“On the way home in the car, I cried and I said, ‘Dad, I really want to become an actor, but if this is what it’s about, I don’t want to do it,’” the Romeo and Juliet star said. “He put his arm around me and said, ‘Someday, Leonardo, it will happen for you. Remember these words. Just relax.’ And then I stopped crying and I said, ‘Okay.’”
Now one of the most famous celebrities in showbiz, DiCaprio clearly made the right choice.