The two co-starred in 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned DiCaprio — who played Depp’s disabled younger brother — the first of his six Oscar nominations.
Depp, who has racked up a few nominations of his own and was thought to have had a chance to join DiCaprio in this year’s pool of Best Actor nominees for his work in Black Mass, remembers being in “kind of a dark period” when shooting Gilbert Grape, and that he subsequently was pretty tough on young Leo. He discussed the topic while receiving an award at the 31st annual Santa Barbara Film Festival this week:
“It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don’t know why,” Depp said. When it came to his relationship with the then 19-year-old DiCaprio, Depp said, “I tortured him. I really did. He was always talking about these videos games, you know? I told you it was kind of a dark period. ‘No, I will not give you a drag of my cigarette while you hide from your mother again, Leo.'”
Depp went on to praise DiCaprio’s work ethic, even 23 years ago, saying, “I’d say the absolute truth is that I respect Leo a lot. He worked really hard on that film and spent a lot of time researching. He came to set and he was ready to work hard and all his ducks were in a row.”
We’re sure Leo looks back on Depp’s “torturing” him and gets a good laugh to this day.