Former child star LEONARDO DiCaprio rejected a lucrative offer to star in spooky Disney favourite Hocus Pocus back in 1993, because he was holding out hope for a role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

The actor reveals he had not even auditioned for Lasse Hallstrom's drama when he was offered "more money than I ever dreamed of" to play young Max in Hocus Pocus, alongside Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker as witches.

His daring decision paid off as he was eventually picked to star as Johnny Depp's mentally-handicapped brother, a role which landed him his first Oscar nomination.

DiCaprio tells Variety, "I don't know where the hell I got the nerve (to turn down Hocus Pocus). You live in an environment where you're influenced by people telling you to make a lot of money and strike while the iron's hot. But if there's one thing I'm very proud of, it's being a young man who was sticking to my guns."

The part of Max in Hocus Pocus eventually went to Omri Katz.