Leonardo DiCaprio chose Titanic over Boogie Nights

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Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson reveals Leonardo DiCaprio was faced with quite the choice earlier in his career, and chose to do Titanic.

Off the back of 1996’s hit Romeo + Juliet, Leonardo DiCaprio was white-hot in Hollywood, with a raft of filmmakers enquiring about the young actor’s availability. DiCaprio’s next project would ultimately see him faced with the decision to make a huge blockbuster with a legendary director with huge commercial appeal, or a small indie movie with an unproven young filmmaker. Of course, you all know how this story played out, but according to the director of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson, the decision wasn’t as clear cut as you might think.

Anderson recently spoke about the casting process for the film on the Smartless podcast (by way of The Hollywood Reporter). The filmmaker remembered that DiCaprio seemed eager to play the role of up-and-coming porn star, Dirk Diggler, that would eventually launch the career of Mark Wahlberg.

“That is very true that I asked Leo to be in Boogie Nights,” remembered Anderson, “and he spent many, many months agonising and debating about it. Ultimately, what I came to realise, 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. Which, in the long run, catapulted him into this massive worldwide fame, but on the other hand, I think possibly – we laugh about it now – but he regrets missing the experience and doing it.”

Anderson also mentioned that DiCaprio would recommend Wahlberg for the part when he finally made the decision to do Titanic, which would catapult his career to incredible new heights. It’s an interesting recollection from Anderson, and we hope one day that the pair to get to do something together. Boogie Nights 2, perhaps?

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