Leonardo DiCaprio Does Not Want Anyone To See His Movie That’s Banned In The US
Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Don's Plum with Tobey Maguire before the two broke out in the mid-90s, and ever since, they've been keeping the film from being distributed in North America.
Every now and then, an actor appears in a film so horrible that they manage to bury it for decades, either through suddenly becoming a major A-list star like Matthew McConaughey and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, or what Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maguire did: sue everyone. Leonardo DiCaprio, according to Collider, has suppressed the film Don’s Plum from being distributed in the United States and Canada. To this day, the film has been screened only a few times, and it’s increasingly likely that the public will never get to see it.
Don’s Plum is about a group of young friends in their early-20s that get together at the eponymous diner once a week, usually bringing along new female companions each time. In addition to DiCaprio and Maguire, the film starred Kevin Connolly, Scott Bloom, Ethan Suplee, Jeremy Sisto, Marissa Ribsi, Nikki Cox, Amber Benson, and Jenny Lewis. For a no-budget, mostly improvised art film shot entirely in black and white, that’s an impressive lineup of 90s acting talent, which raises the question, what went wrong?
DiCaprio and Maguire agreed to make a short film with their friend, Dale Wheatly, inspired by Kevin Smith’s Clerks, the same way that Transformers inspired Go-bots. Without a set script, the cast was given the general topic for each scene and then allowed to improvise. Principal shooting was completed in just two days, with Leonardo DiCaprio leaving Don’s Plum at that point and Tobey Maguire filming a few additional scenes months later.
That’s when the trouble began, as now Wheatly decided to expand from a short movie to a feature-length film, something no one in the cast had agreed to. DiCaprio cited this choice in his 1998 lawsuit, blocking distribution, claiming, ” I would never go in for one night and improvise with my friends and make a feature film. There’s no way I would ever do that.”
Screened to Hollywood insiders in 1996, Don’s Plum was ripe for distribution by Miramax Films, the primary distributor of indie films in the 90s. Unfortunately for Wheatly, DiCaprio and Maguire’s stars were rapidly rising, giving the stars the power to pressure Miramax films to drop their pursuit of the film and Sundance Film Festival to drop all screenings. Lawsuits flew from both sides, resulting in a settlement that cleaned up the star’s “colorful” language and restricted the film to screenings in limited European and Japanese markets.
Today, the rights to Don’s Plum are with the films bankroller, writer Tawd Beckman’s father, who just happened to be one of the men behind creating McDonald’s Happy Meal. Beckman and Wheatly went on to create The Curse of Don’s Plum, a three-part documentary about the “true story” behind the banned film. With Leonardo DiCaprio’s career showing no signs of slowing down, no matter what the allegations about his dating life may be, the only way for anyone to watch Don’s Plum is to find a rare copy from overseas and have it imported.