In the trajectory of Leonardo DiCaprio’s ascent in Hollywood during the 1990s, Sharon Stone emerged as a pivotal figure. Back then, DiCaprio had secured an Oscar nomination for his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” However, when it came to casting him as Fee “The Kid” Herod in the Western film “The Quick and the Dead,” the studio wasn’t convinced of his fit alongside Stone, who played gunslinger “The Lady.”
In a revealing disclosure in 2021, Stone admitted that DiCaprio was the standout choice during auditions, but the studio was reluctant to hire him for the role. It was Stone’s determination that eventually secured DiCaprio’s involvement in the film. She made a decisive move by personally covering his salary for the project, an act that DiCaprio remains immensely grateful for, expressing numerous thanks to Stone for her support.
Moreover, Stone advocated not only for DiCaprio but also for Russell Crowe, who hadn’t starred in an American film before. She recognized Crowe’s talent from his performance in the Australian thriller “Romper Stomper.” DiCaprio fondly acknowledged Stone’s unwavering support for cinema and her dedication to offering opportunities to fellow actors. He highlighted her advocacy by stating, “These are the two actors I want to work with,” emphasizing Stone’s commitment to nurturing talent in the industry.
“The Quick and the Dead,” directed by Sam Raimi, arrived in the aftermath of Clint Eastwood’s groundbreaking Western “Unforgiven.” Despite the challenge of standing out in a genre so recently redefined by a cinematic masterpiece, the inclusion of young talents like DiCaprio and Crowe in hindsight appears a brilliant decision by the studio.
The film, boasting the energy of its youthful cast alongside seasoned actors like Stone and Gene Hackman, stands as a notable ’90s Western. Its impact remains evident, marked by memorable performances and, notably, a visceral headshot scene that epitomizes Raimi’s signature style. While overshadowed by its predecessor, “The Quick and the Dead” remains a noteworthy addition to the Western genre’s repertoire.