Leonardo DiCaprios costar was fired from movie due to young age

Oscars: Schumer jokes about Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘girlfriends’

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Leonardo DiCaprio was a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s. Not only did he star in the record-breaking Titanic, but he also took the lead in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, as well as The Man in the Iron Mask, Total Eclipse and The Quick and the Dead. But in 1996 he began working with Baz Luhrmann to bring Romeo + Juliet to life. There were some casting issues, though.

Long before Claire Danes took on the titular role of Juliet in the movie, DiCaprio was first due to play Romeo opposite Natalie Portman.

The Israeli-American actress, at the time, was an up-and-coming star who had only appeared in a handful of movies – including Léon: The Professional. So this modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s was sure to catapult her into superstardom. Unfortunately, there was one major issue. DiCaprio, who was playing Romeo, was 21-years-old, while Portman was just 13-years-old.

If Portman were to play Juliet in Romeo + Juliet she would have matched the age of the character in the original source material. The Bard wrote Romeo as 16-years-old, while Juliet was just 13-years-old.

But still, this eight-year age gap caused quite a stir behind the scenes.

Portman previously looked back on the casting efforts, calling it a “complicated situation”, according to Unilad.

“At the time I was 13 and Leonardo was 21,” she explained before adding: “It wasn’t appropriate in the eyes of the film company or the director, Baz.”

After much back and forth, Portman was removed from the project. She went on to call her exit a shared choice.

She said: “It was kind of a mutual decision, too, that it just wasn’t going to be right at the time.”


Before long, Luhrmann (who recently helmed the Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis), began looking for another actress to take Portman’s place.

He eventually chose Danes, who had recently found fame in the TV series My So-Called Life. But she, too, was quite a bit younger than DiCaprio at just 17-years-old during the shooting of Romeo + Juliet.

This is not the first time DiCaprio has partnered up with a younger woman, however. Reports recently surfaced that he may have a new girlfriend in Eden Polani, a 19-year-old model from Israel who boasts 200,000 followers on Instagram.

DiCaprio and Polani were recently spotted together, sparking rumours of their dating life.

At the time of writing, DiCaprio is 48-years-old, making him 29 years older than his supposed lover.

Before Polani, DiCaprio was dating model and actress Camila Morrone. When they got together she was 20-years-old and he was 42. They split up in 2022.


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