The Killers of the Flower Moon star shared with the entertainment outlet that he’s praised Stone “many times” for paying his 1995 acting salary when TriStar Pictures initially refused his casting in Western drama The Quick and the Dead. Stone was a fan of young DiCaprio after seeing him in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (where he earned his first Oscar nomination), and urged for him and Russell Crowe to be cast alongside her.
“She said, ‘These are the two actors I want to work with,’” DiCaprio told E! News. “It’s incredible. She’s been a huge champion of cinema and giving other actors opportunities, so I’m very thankful.”
“I’ve thanked her many times,” he continued. “I don’t know if I sent her an actual, physical thank-you gift, but I cannot thank her enough.”
DiCaprio ultimately landed in the film, which Stone recalled in her 2021 memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, where he wrote that he was “the only one who nailed the audition” out of other teen actors. “In my opinion he was the only one who came in and cried, begging his father to love him as he died in the scene.”
“Why an unknown, Sharon, why are you always shooting yourself in the foot?’” Stone claimed the studio told her.
“The studio said if I wanted him so much, I could pay him out of my own salary. So I did,” Stone continued.
Stone’s bold move eventually made her transition into production roles, where she continued to uplift new talent. Crowe also discussed Stone’s graciousness on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2020, where the Gladiator actor said he received the Hollywood breakthrough “because Sharon Stone had seen a movie I was in.”