Leonardo DiCaprio is hellbent on keeping some of his youthful endeavours buried deep, deep in the past. Back in 1996, he shot a film called Don’s Plum with some famous friends (Tobey Maguire, Kevin Connolly, and Jenny Lewis), over the course of a few days in Los Angeles. According to IMDB, the movie is about “a group of Los Angeles teenagers [who] meet every week at their local diner to discuss their latest misadventures in their miserable lives.” Nothing much happens and the script is largely improvised.
If you’ve never heard of it, that’s largely by design. Every time it resurfaces, DiCaprio issues an immediate cease-and-desist. At this point, the movie is sort of like an urban legend… It exists, but really, does it?
Why doesn’t Leo want us to see some of his early work? Well, reports vary, but the general consensus is that DiCaprio and Maguire are worried it will damage their reputations. Both have said they only filmed the movie as a favor to the filmmakers and were under the impression it was to be a short film, not a feature-length movie. The actors also said that, at the time, they thought it would only be screened at independent film festivals.
That might sound a little hopeful on their part — what if it had been picked up by a larger production company? However, keep in mind this was before Leo’s movie career took off and before the age of the Internet. Secrets were a lot easier to keep back then.
Don’s Plum was actually briefly released in Germany in 2001, but it has been repeatedly blocked from U.S. and Canadian audiences for the last twenty years. Critics who have seen the movie repeatedly say it is the worst film of Leo’s career, which is probably tough on the 5-time Oscar nominee. One review on IMDB states, “I think I have seen better stuff from my friends collection of his uncle pass out after a Xmas party.”
Dale Wheatley, a producer of the film, recently posted the full-length movie on his website, Free Don’s Plum. However, it was taken down by Vimeo within a day. Wheatley told FOX411 that Vimeo sent him a takedown notice that read: “We have removed your video titled Don’s Plum, previously available at Vimeo, in a response to a takedown notice submitted by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’).”
Wheatley posted on his website his intentions to appeal the decision. He believes he has “fair use of copyright as an author of the material.” Hmm. If Leonardo DiCaprio has prevented it from seeing the light of day for this long, we wonder if we’ll ever really get to see it.
(Image via Polo Pictures Entertainment)