“Believe me”: Leonardo DiCaprio Was Inches Away From Stealing Matt Damon’s Oscar Winner And $350K Paycheck

Among his long list of Oscar nominations, DiCaprio could’ve also added one for a role in Good Will Hunting, the part which went to Matt Damon in the end.


When it comes to certified hitmakers in the film industry, seldom comes a name that is more prominent than Leonardo DiCaprio, and rightfully so, seeing the illustrious career the star has to boast of. Thus, it may even be considered unwise for a production company to not hire the star when they have the chance.


But despite production wanting to cast him in the 1997 thriller Good Will Hunting, he was unable to take the role. The part in question here was later portrayed by none other than Matt Damon, who also received an Academy Award nod for the Best Actor category along with the film winning an Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay.

Leonardo DiCaprio Was Almost Cast Instead Of Matt Damon In Good Will Hunting


Throughout the years, especially after his fame playing Jack Dawson in the blockbuster Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio proved time and time again that he wasn’t just a one-trick pony by giving award-worthy performances in almost all of his films. Thus, it’s no surprise that every studio in Hollywood was trying to get him on board for their projects.

Among them, Good Will Hunting was also a project that studios wanted him to be a part of as the main lead, but Matt Damon wouldn’t let that happen.

In a past interview with Vanity Fair, the Jason Bourne star was talking about the film that he co-wrote with his co-star and best friend Ben Affleck which won them their first Oscar award for Best Original Screenplay and got him nominated for Best Actor. He revealed that when they pitched the story to different studios, they wanted the Inception star to play the lead role.

Since he was the hot new name in the industry with back-to-back critical and commercial hits, it was almost a no-brainer for them to not cast The Wolf of Wall Street star as the main character. He said:

“Believe me, they really wanted to take it away from us,’ They were like, ‘God, Leonardo DiCaprio would be so good in this.’

Despite the studio’s push to cast DiCaprio as the lead and the actor duo to sell their story to them, Damon and Affleck stayed firm to their story, taking inspiration from action legend Sylvester Stallone with his tale of Rocky.

What Was Good Will Hunting About?


Quite literally, Good Will Hunting was the film that catapulted Both Damon’s and Affleck’s careers to new heights and enabled them to become premier stars in the industry.

The film follows the tale of Will Hunting, a genius gifted with exceptional intellect who somehow ends up working as a janitor at MIT. When he decides to solve a difficult math question one day, he’s caught doing so by one of the professors. Seeing the potential, Hunting is taken under their wing to turn his life around for the better, in more ways than one.

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