The Troubling Way Johnny Depp Treated Leonardo DiCaprio On Set

Considering he's one of the most celebrated actors alive, it's hard to imagine Leonardo DiCaprio as a victim of behind-the-scenes bullying. DiCaprio has more money than he knows what to do with, finally earned an Oscar in 2016, and is simply well-liked in Hollywood. "Leo's very committed. I could go in any direction and he'd be right there. It pushed me to take more risks, because he was," Margot Robbie told the Irish Independent after working with the actor on "The Wolf of Wall Street" in 2013. "My friends and family who got to meet him all walked away amazed by how incredibly normal he is." Robbie isn't the only actor to praise DiCaprio; former co-star Jesse Bradford told Elle that DiCaprio is "the nicest guy, just such a good dude," while Kate Winslet told The Guardian, "I've known him for half my life... We're bonded for life." 

However, DiCaprio's fellow actors weren't always so enamored with him. As a yet-to-be-established 19-year-old, one of his older co-stars barely gave him the time of day. When DiCaprio and Johnny Depp played brothers in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," Depp really gave the younger actor a hard time on set.

Johnny Depp 'tortured' Leonardo DiCaprio

During the filming of 1993's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," Johnny Depp was going through a rough era in his personal life. He didn't connect with his on-screen younger brother as some may have hoped, and instead seemed to view Leonardo DiCaprio as a pest. "It was a hard time for me, that film, for some reason. I don't know why. I tortured him. I really did," Depp told Cosmopolitan in 2016 about his once-green co-star. "He was always talking about these video 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.'" 

Unlike DiCaprio, Johnny Depp was already well-known in the entertainment industry by the time he starred in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Roles in 80s and 90s films like "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Edward Scissorhands" propelled him to stardom; in comparison, DiCaprio's only starring role at the time was in "This Boy's Life," which was released earlier in 1993 and only grossed $4 million at the box office.

While DiCaprio and Depp's careers were in much different places during the filming of "Gilbert Grape," they would soon be on equal footing. DiCaprio's performance received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and he quickly became a leading man in the mid-90s with films like "Romeo + Juliet" and "Titanic."

They haven't worked together since

In the past three decades, "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" remains the only time Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp have crossed paths. DiCaprio hasn't spoken about Depp in interviews, and in 2016, Depp had only good things to say about his former co-star. "I'd say the absolute truth is that I respect Leo a lot," the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star told Cosmopolitan. "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."

If we take Depp at his word, it sounds like the on-screen brothers have moved on from any past issues. However, in 2020, Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of speaking negatively about DiCaprio. She claimed in a defamation suit that Depp called DiCaprio "pumpkin head," and had similar nicknames for other male actors. "He also accused me of having affairs with stars I auditioned with, like Leonardo DiCaprio," Heard alleged, per Metro. "He would taunt me about it — especially when he was drunk or high — and had derogatory nicknames for every one of my male co-stars he considered a sexual threat." 

According to Elle, Heard was on the shortlist for Margot Robbie's part in 2013's "The Wolf of Wall Street," the film that gave DiCaprio his fourth Oscar nomination, so perhaps that is where the actors crossed paths. DiCaprio hasn't responded to Heard's claims about Depp.