Leonardo DiCaprio Was Up For The Role Of Max In ‘Hocus Pocus’

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It’s been more than 20 years since Hocus Pocus first entered our lives, and it quickly became a Halloween staple. Although we couldn’t imagine a different cast for this iconic film, Leonardo DiCaprio was actually almost Max, and it’s blowing our minds.

In honor of the Halloween season, Entertainment Weekly sat down with the film’s director Kenny Ortega, and got the real story as to why DiCaprio wasn’t actually cast in the role.

“The [casting] ladies called me up and they said, ‘We’re sending you an actor today but he’s not available but you’re going to fall in love with him but you can’t have him.’ I’m like, ‘Why are you teasing me?’ They were like, ‘You need to see this guy because he’ll inspire you and if nothing else, he’ll help you find the right guy to play Max,’” Ortega told Entertainment Weekly about how he first met DiCaprio.

The Descendants director revealed that his casting team was right and he did fall in love with the Titanic actor, the only problem was he really didn’t have time to take the role.

“He’s just the most sincere and most centered and a wild child at the same time,” Ortega recalled of their meeting. “He was feeling awkward. He was like, ‘I just feel really bad being here because I’m up for two other movies and I really want them both and I don’t want to lead you on.’ I was like, ‘That’s okay, I was already warned. What are the movies?’”

While Ortega didn’t find his Max with DiCaprio (who was auditioning for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and This Boy’s Life at the time), it did help him to be ready for the perfect Max, which we all know was Omri Katz.

“Meeting him awakened me to the kind of spirit and fun and sincerity that I was looking for in an actor and when Omri Katz came around, I fell in love again and he was our Max,” Ortega added.

We couldn’t imagine another Max, or Thackery (who is played by NCIS star Sean Murray), or anyone else in the cast for that matter, which is why in the end DiCaprio having other roles was the best thing for Hocus Pocus.

Okay that’s enough with this story—go ahead and start watching Hocus Pocus right now, just don’t light the black flame candle!

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