According to Guinevere Turner, who starred in the film as one of Bateman’s victims and co-wrote the screenplay, DiCaprio got cold feet about the project because of Steinem.
“I believe I’m the one who started that rumour,” she told Vice in a 20th anniversary oral history of the film. “I mean, I don’t know if it’s a rumour. My friend, who had just spoken to Gloria Steinem, said that Gloria Steinem took Leonard DiCaprio to a Yankees game, I believe, and said, ‘Please don’t do this movie.’”
Turner said she had heard that Steinem told DiCaprio: “Coming off of Titanic, there is an entire planet full of 13-year-old girls waiting to see what you do next, and this is going to be a movie that has horrible violence toward women.”
Turner continued: “Soon after that, Leo dropped out, so who knows what really happened?”
Turner also noted that, in a strange twist of fate, Steinem ended up marrying Christian Bale’s father, adding: “I wonder what Thanksgiving was like!”
Mary Harron, who directed the film, also explained in the story that she never wanted to meet with DiCaprio about the role in the first place, despite him being the most in-demand actor in Hollywood in the wake of Titanic.
“I knew I would find him charming, and then I would find myself getting into doing it with him,” she recalled. “They would change the script and try to make the character more sympathetic, and it was just going to lose anything it really had.”
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