The Story Behind Why Sharon Stone Once Paid Leonardo DiCaprio's Salary Before His Breakthrough Titanic Success

 Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic/Sharon Stone in Casino (side by side).
Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic/Sharon Stone in Casino (side by side).

Everyone comes from somewhere and, before Leonardo DiCaprio hit it big with Titanic, he was a struggling working actor in Hollywood. While he had early success on the sitcom Growing Pains, and in small independent films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Basketball Diaries he was far from the movie star we know him to be today. In his journey to becoming one of the most recognizable actors of his generation, he received some help along the way. You may be surprised to hear that there's a sweet story involving Sharon Stone paying his salary on one of his earliest movies, 1995's The Quick and The Dead.

The 49-year-old leading man was promoting his latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, when he was asked about Sharon Stone, who recently said that she was a fan of his most recent Martin Scorsese collaboration. During the interview with E!, he was asked about Stone paying his salary along with Russell Crowe’s when they worked on  the aforementioned movie together back in the '90s. Apparently, the studio didn't want to pay the young actors, and the Casino legend stepped in to take matters into her own hands. The Romeo + Juliet co-lead has since become a major star, but he remains appreciative of Stone's efforts:

I've thanked her many times. I don't know if I sent her an actual, physical thank you gift, but I cannot thank her enough.

As for why the Total Recall icon decided to pay Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe’s salaries on The Quick and the Dead, she had a really great reason. According to the Oscar nominee, it was simply because she wanted to work with them and was willing to put up her own money to do so. Clearly, she saw something in the two young actors, and wanted to help in any way she could. DiCaprio described the act of kindness, saying:

She said, ‘These are the two actors I want to work with.’ It's incredible. She's been a huge champion of cinema and giving other actors opportunities, so I'm very thankful.

While Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio went on to become Oscar winning movie stars, at the time, Sharon Stone was the major star in the equation, and had top billing alongside Gene Hackman for The Quick and the Dead.  She was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood after starring in Basic Instinct and around that point, had also worked with Martin Scorsese on Casino, which earned the star her sole Oscar nomination. She was at the top of her game, using her own stardom to help other young actors who were just starting to find their own footing. You love to hear about artists supporting their peers in such a way, and it's also great that DiCaprio is still grateful even after all these years.

Since then, the Wolf of Wall Street star has paid it forward in his own way, adivsing young actors who are just starting out. He famously gave guidance to Timothée Chalamet, with whom he worked with on Don’t Look Up, and fans once observed the actor praising Jacob Elordi for Euphoria at a party. Stardom ebbs and flows, and it's nice that the old guard does its best to lift up rising talent while at the peak of their own careers. Sharon Stone seemingly set a great example that her co-star took after. Hopefully, the next generation of superstars will carry on this trend, creating a solid support system for up-and-comers in the process.

You can see Leonardo DiCaprio in the ever-captivating Killers of the Flower Moon, which is currently playing in theaters nationwide and is one of the biggest titles on the schedule of 2023 new movie releases will be available for Apple TV+ subscribers in the near future. You can also check out Sharon Stone in her latest film, Beauty, which is currently streamable for those with a Netflix subscription.