It has been reported that Leonardo DiCaprio has dropped out of playing Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic about the late Apple CEO, directed by Danny Boyle. The news came with a quiet chorus of ‘Who cares?’ – the movie isn’t shooting yet, no one really knows how this one will turn out with such an eclectic mix of talents, and is Steve Jobs really that exciting a role for DiCaprio?
The real story may lie beneath – Leo’s torrid history with the biopic. A look down his resume shows us two of his biggest flops have been when playing a real-life character. Forget The Wolf of Wall Street – a bombastic role that many actors would have excelled in, having the freedom to be entirely extrovert and roll around in some cocaine.
Did he reject it due to creative differences? Schedule constraints? Maybe, maybe not. But just maybe…Leo rejected the Steve Jobs gig due to the scars of J. Edgar and The Aviator.
These two movies give us not only a pair you could call Leo’s biggest disappointments, but also the biggest disappointments of their respective directors. Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese helmed the box-office-duds; two respected cornerstones of Hollywood used to rolling in accolades and praise just as Leo’s Wolf rolled in his cocaine last year. Martin himself actually also helmed Wolf, a good example of just how well he can handle stories based on truth on a good day.
With The Aviator, he and DiCaprio crafted a sloppy, baggy, irrelevant tale of what’s-his-name. In the movie Leo is left floundering as he over-acts along with all those around him, the films tone and pace massively misjudged. The fact that this movie garnered so many nominations at certain ceremonies goes to show the ridiculous and cliquey nature of the awards academies.
‘Go on – give Aviator a nom, for old time’s sake’ – Martin Scorsese in 2004 (I presume)
Then there is J. Edgar – arguably a more painful example of how a movie can fail. With someone like DiCaprio headlining a Clint Eastwood movie about a past US president, expectations were high. They came crashing down as next to no one saw the ponderous movie. It has since slipped into obscurity.
The failure of these movies can’t exactly be attributed to the performances of DiCaprio, at least not entirely, however their failures may have lived long in the actor’s memory as testaments to the difficulty of stories based on truth; the challenges of performance as well as narrative structure.
Maybe, just maybe, it was a factor in his withdrawal from playing Steve Jobs.
Or maybe it was the fact that he looks NOTHING like the man.
Both valid arguments.