Keanu Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio Both Faced the Same Sad Problem Early In Their Careers

Keanue Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio are both highly successful actors. They have proven that they can handle a wide variety of roles, both being superstar stars in the 1990s and going on to succeed in a number of films.

However, breaking into the field of acting was not easy. And they both had the same problem when they were starting out.

Keanu Reeves;  Leonardo DiCaprio
Keanu Reeves; Leonardo DiCaprio | Steve Granitz / WireImage; Photos by Michael Loccisano / Getty for National Geographic

Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to take action so he could avoid school

Leonardo DiCaprio did not have the easiest childhood. His parents separated when he was just a child, and he was raised mostly by his mother, although he remained close to his father all his life.

DiCaprio didn’t have much money growing up. His mother was a secretary, and according to The Independent, he once told the Los Angeles Times that he had “become very ill” near the “main ring of prostitution.” DiCaprio also said it was not uncommon for “people to smoke and burn heroin” in his area. DiCaprio went to a public school in the LA area, and did not like it, so he often had to take his mother to auditions.

Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic"
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic” CBS / Getty Photos

Keanu Reeves dropped out of high school to become an actor

Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, but moved to Toronto, Canada in 1970. He attended four different high schools, during which time he decided he wanted to focus on a career in hockey. However, Reeves was drawn to acting, and after moving several times (and being eliminated once) he finally decided to let go for acting.

Reeves was not an American citizen, but his father was born in Hawaii, which made it easier for him to get a green card when he decided he wanted to move to the U.S. Three years after he fell out, Reeves moved to California to get his started career.

Keanu Reeves in 'A Walk In the Clouds'
Keanu Reeves in ‘Walking in the Clouds’ | Close Murray / Sygma / Getty Pictures

DiCaprio and Reeves were turned away from acting because of their different names

While it may be hard to believe now, there was a time when neither DiCaprio nor Reeves knew if they would ever have a career in acting. DiCaprio wanted to get out of the public school in which he lived, and while he was considering focusing on marine biology, he decided to get involved in acting. However, it became difficult for DiCaprio to get an agent, never to get a acting gig, and his name was often the subject of conversation. according to curriculum vitae, one DiCaprio agent suggested changing a name to something easier to remember, such as Lenny Williams. DiCaprio declined, and quickly 30 years later – he clearly did not need the name change.

Keanu Reeves dealt with the same embarrassing problem while breaking into acting – his name was too special. Several representatives suggested that he change, and although he was initially reluctant, Reeves eventually introduced him. according to March, he wanted to change his name to Chuck Spadina, and while it might have been easier to pronounce than Keanu, that was certainly not what he wanted. His representatives then advised against it, and considered the name Templeton Page Taylor instead. However, he eventually decided to keep his birth name.

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