Leonardo DiCaprio recently shared with E! News his repeated expressions of gratitude to Sharon Stone for funding his acting fees back in 1995. This was during a time when the studio was not in favor of casting him for the movie “The Quick and the Dead,” directed by Sam Raimi.
Following his Oscar-nominated performance in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” DiCaprio was a rising star, and Stone was keen on working alongside him. Determined to cast both DiCaprio and Russel Crowe, Stone was prepared to cover the costs herself.
Recalling the experience, DiCaprio said, “She said, ‘These are the two actors I want to work with.’ It’s incredible. She’s been a huge champion of cinema and giving other actors opportunities, so I’m very thankful.” He added, “I’ve thanked her many times. I don’t know if I sent her an actual, physical thank-you gift, but I cannot thank her enough.”
In “The Quick and the Dead,” Stone portrayed a gunslinger who encounters conflict in a frontier town, led by Gene Hackman. Her 2021 memoir, “The Beauty of Living Twice,” reveals that she personally financed DiCaprio’s salary after TriStar Pictures declined to cast him.
Stone wrote about auditioning several young actors for the role of The Kid and finding DiCaprio the most compelling. “This kid named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who nailed the audition,” she stated.
Stone remembered the studio questioning her choice: “Why an unknown, Sharon, why are you always shooting yourself in the foot?’” They told her if she wanted DiCaprio so badly, she could pay his salary. And she did.
This experience was a turning point for Sharon Stone, leading her to take up producing as a way to support actors she felt strongly about. In her memoir, Stone talks about her perspective on producing, saying, “Getting a producer credit as an actress is often thought of in my business as a ‘vanity deal.’ I won’t accept a vanity deal and let them know that upfront. This is illegal, I say, and I like to work within the law. That gets a lot of silence and not a lot of joy on the other end.”
“The Quick and the Dead,” released in 1995, was part of a significant year for DiCaprio, which included “The Basketball Diaries” and “Total Eclipse.” His career soared the following year with “Titanic.” Currently, he stars in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”