Before Once Upon A Time In Hollywood hits theaters, Leonardo DiCaprio opened up about being starstruck by Luke Perry, who died on March 4 from complications following a stroke. Quentin Tarantino's new film will be Perry's last, but DiCaprio made it clear, that his reputation will live on. In fact, the actor revealed he was in awe of Perry while filming the movie.
In a red carpet interview with Extra at the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood premiere, DiCaprio said that Perry was "the kindest, sweetest human being you could ever encounter." Working with Perry meant something to DiCaprio, who grew up in the '90s and knew him as everyone's favorite sensitive bad boy on Beverly Hills 90210. "I grew up with him on 90210," DiCaprio told Extra, "looking up to him as literally the coolest dude on earth, and honestly, when I was on set, I was starstruck."
In a May interview with Esquire, DiCaprio said that seeing Perry on set was like a “butterfly moment of like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Luke Perry over there!’" Brad Pitt, who co-stars in the Tarantino film, was also in awe of the '90s heartthrob, telling Esquire, that they "were like kids in the candy shop because I remember going to the studios and [Beverly Hills, 90210] was going on, and he was that icon of coolness for us as teenagers.”
DiCaprio told Extra that while on-set "we got to sit down and chat," and Perry was everything he imagined he would be as a kid watching him on TV. "He couldn’t have been a more amazing human being," DiCaprio said. "It’s a real tragic loss."
Following the news of Perry's death in March, DiCaprio tweeted a similar sentiment, writing that the Riverdale actor "was a kindhearted and incredibly talented artist. It was an honor to be able to work with him."
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood focuses on TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) as he tries to transition into the film industry with the help of his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Pitt. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, Dalton's journey also intersects with Charles Manson and Sharon Tate, who was murdered by members of the Manson Family in the summer of '69. Perry plays Scott Lancer, an actor working in a Western TV show with Dalton.
Appearing in the film was a real dream come true for Perry, according to the film's producers. In a March interview with Entertainment Weekly, producers David Heyman and Shannon McIntosh said being in a Tarantino film was a "bucket list" goal for the actor.
They also said that fans are going to walk away happy with Perry's performance, which pays homage to the actual Western TV show Lance starring Wayne Maunder. “[Luke] brings a very vivid character who is charismatic, and he brings heart to whatever he does," Heyman said. "I think that it will be a pleasure for those fans of Luke to see."
On Monday (July 22), Perry's daughter, Sophie also shared a tribute to her dad and his final role on Instagram. “It both breaks my heart and fills it with pride at the same time, to know that this film, this little point in history, is here,” Sophie captioned a shot of a Once Upon A Time in Hollywood billboard featuring Perry. “My dad has never been more excited in his life than he was to be part of this. He was like a kid faced with a banana split the size of his head, or a trip to Disneyland, or I don’t even know what.”
Fans will get to see Perry on the big screen one last time when Once Upon A Time In Hollywood hits theaters on July 26. Maybe bring the tissues, just in case.