In an excerpt from her new book, “The Beauty of Living Twice”, the 63-year-old star recalled the time when she had to fight the studio making the 1995 film to cast Leo, who was about 21 at the time.
The movie centered on a woman gunslinger (played by Sharon) who visits a frontier town and clashes with its leader (Gene Hackman).
As a producer on the movie, Sharon revealed that she paid for Leo’s salary herself after studio TriStar Pictures refused to cast him.
“This kid named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who nailed the audition,” she wrote. “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.”
She went on, revealing that the studio pushed back on Leo and asked her “Why an unknown, Sharon, why are you always shooting yourself in the foot?”
“The studio said if I wanted him so much, I could pay him out of my own salary. So I did.”
Sharon also revealed that she stood up to have Sam Raimi direct the movie, who the studio thought was a “D-movie director.”
“Getting a producer credit as an actress is often thought of in my business as a ‘vanity deal,’ meaning they pay you for the job but shut the f*** up and stay out of the way,” she added about using her producing power to fight for talent she believes in. “I won’t accept a vanity deal and let them know that upfront. This is illegal, I say, and I like to work within the law. That gets a lot of silence and not a lot of joy on the other end.”