It is certainly not the more successful film of the two, but it is a fundamental step in the young DiCaprio’s career, and he owes it to Sharon Stone.
Although the iconic success of ‘Titanic’ erased from the memory of many DiCarpio’s previous career, the truth is that the actor already achieved an Oscar nomination in 1994 with ‘Who does Gilbert Grape love’. However, it was not until 1996 with ‘Rome and Juliet’ and, above all, to the ship that swept the box office like an iceberg in 1997 that the young Leo became the great Hollywood star that continues to be almost three decades later.
1995, therefore, was a key year in DiCarpio’s career, the season in which he went from breaking in with a movie at the Oscars to establishing himself as a leading man. That year he participated in three films, ‘Lives to the limit’, ‘Diary of a rebel’ (in which he starred) and ‘Quick and deadly’. The latter was a production in which none other than Sam Raimi and Sharon Stone (as star and producer) wanted to give a feminine twist to the typical western story. As in “Unforgiven,” the cast’s antagonist was Gene Hackman.
The ‘Basic Instinct’ star, who keeps making headlines with her memoir ‘The Beauty of Living Twive’, remembers that it was she who paid DiCaprio’s salary for her wish to participate in the film, to which the studio, TriStar Pictures, refused. As Insider collects from the aforementioned book:
This boy named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who managed to audition. In my opinion, he was the only one who came in and cried, begging his father to love him while he died on the scene.
Stone, however, remembers that the studio told him “Why a stranger, Sharon, why do you always shoot yourself in the foot?” Despite his Oscar nomination, the studio wanted a more well-known star:
The studio said that if I wanted him that much, I could pay him out of my own salary. So I did it.
But Stone also had to defend the work of Sam Raimi, who had not yet directed the successful first Spider-Man trilogy and was listed as director of series b. After assuring that he “would work almost for free”, the studio ended up hiring him.
Getting an acting producer credit is often viewed in my business as a ‘vanity deal’, meaning you get paid for the job, but shut your mouth and stay out of the way. I did not accept a vanity deal and let them know that in advance. It is illegal and I like to work within the law. This generates a lot of awkward silence and not exactly a lot of joy at the other end (the producer).