Leonardo DiCaprio Warned Timothée Chalamet To Avoid Superhero Movies (And Hard Drugs)

Having once graced the cover of magazines like Tiger Beat, Leonardo DiCaprio knows a thing or two about being a teenybopper, and he knows a thing or two about outliving all that and coming to be regarded as a serious dramatic actor. So it is that DiCaprio has occasionally been in a position to dispense career advice to other young actors in Hollywood, the latest being "Dune" star Timothée Chalamet.

Chalamet is well-established as an Oscar-nominated thesp, but he, too, is something of a magazine idol, who just became the first guy to appear solo on the cover of the British edition of Vogue. In an interview with the magazine (via The Hollywood Reporter), Chalamet revealed that when he first met DiCaprio in 2018 — before they went on to costar in last year's "Don't Look Up" — DiCaprio gave him a piece of advice that has become a guiding principle for his career: "No hard drugs and no superhero movies."

At one point, the magazine's piece on Chalamet compares him to James Dean and River Phoenix, the latter of whom died of a cocaine and heroin overdose at the age of 23 after making a promising career start with an Oscar nomination for "Running on Empty" and other notable appearances in films like "Stand by Me," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," and "My Own Private Idaho." DiCaprio's "no hard drugs" advice brings to mind what happened to Phoenix, and his "no superhero movies" advice just seems like another way of encouraging Chalamet to stick with the kind of dramatic work he has been doing.

Making the right choices

DiCaprio appeared on the sitcom "Growing Pains" in the early 1990s and received his first Oscar nomination for his supporting role in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" in 1993. It was around the time of "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet," and of course, "Titanic," that he really became known the world over as a teen idol. By 2002, however, DiCaprio had begun to distinguish himself as much more than a flash-in-the-pan idol: working with two of the greatest directors of all time that year, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, on "Gangs of New York" and "Catch Me If You Can." He's since become one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood.

I remember reviewing Netflix's "The King" in 2019 and being fairly impressed by Chalamet; at that point, I hadn't yet seen him in "Lady Bird" or much else beyond Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," where he played the younger version of Casey Affleck's character. Since then, he's risen to fame even more with "Dune" and other roles and seems well on his way to becoming a "next DiCaprio" sort of star.

Zac Efron is another young actor who has brushed elbows with DiCaprio and received some career advice from him over the years. In 2008, they were photographed sitting courtside next to each other at an NBA game, and Efron later said that DiCaprio invited him over for breakfast, trying to make waffles but burning them and going with pancakes instead. Speaking to MTV News at the time, Efron put it best when he said, "I think someone who's made very wise choices is Leonardo DiCaprio. He's kind of my definition of teen star because when I was growing up his face was everywhere. I think since then he's developed an incredible body of work."