Sharon Stone once paid Leonardo DiCaprio's salary for a film when the studio refused to cast him

It's difficult to imagine a time when Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't the formidable acting force we recognize today, but it appears that he owes part of his success to Sharon Stone.
Following his breakthrough performance in "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape," Leonardo DiCaprio evidently attracted the attention of Sharon Stone.

In her subsequent leading role in Sam Raimi’s 1995 revisionist Western drama "The Quick and the Dead," she was adamant about collaborating with the young actor, as well as Russel Crowe.

However, the studio refused to cast him, leaving Sharon to take matters into her own hands and deciding to pay his salary so he could be in the flick.

“She said, ‘These are the two actors I want to work with',” DiCaprio recalled as he spoke to E! about the story.

“It’s incredible. She’s been a huge champion of cinema and giving other actors opportunities, so I’m very thankful.”

“I’ve thanked her many times,” he added. “I don’t know if I sent her an actual, physical thank-you gift, but I cannot thank her enough.”
Stone also shared this story in her 2021 memoir, "The Beauty of Living Twice." “In the audition, this young actor named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who truly aced it,” Stone wrote.

She went on to explain that she auditioned numerous teenage actors for the role of The Kid, and DiCaprio stood out the most.

“In my view, he was the only one who came in and portrayed the scene with genuine tears, pleading with his father to love him as he faced death,” she added.

Stone recalled the studio questioning her choice, saying, 'Why choose an unknown, Sharon? Why do you always undermine yourself?'

“The studio suggested that if I was so insistent on casting him, I could use my own salary to pay him. So, that's what I did,” Stone continued.
Stone also detailed her approach to film production, emphasizing her hands-on involvement rather than settling for a more passive role.

“In the film industry, receiving a producer credit as an actress is often dismissed as a ‘vanity deal,’ where they compensate you for the role but expect you to keep quiet and stay out of the way,” Stone wrote in her memoir.

She further stated, “I refuse to accept a vanity deal and make it clear from the outset. I consider it unlawful, and I prefer to operate within legal boundaries. This tends to result in silence and not much enthusiasm on the other end.”

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