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Leonardo DiCaprio: A great white shark almost ate me

Jan. 7, 2014 at 7:33 PM ET

Leonardo DiCaprio's character ends up in some crazy situations in his new movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street," but DiCaprio himself landed in an even worse predicament.

Image: Leonardo Dicaprio
Carl De Souza
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has come a long way from “Growing Pains.” He’s played gangsters, gamblers, kings and con men during his lively Hollywood career.

DiCaprio told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show Tuesday that he once was trapped in a shark cage when a great white shark tried to chomp its way inside.

The actor's Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation seeks to protect endangered wildlife habitats, including five species of threatened sharks. While filming the 2006 film "Blood Diamond," DiCaprio was inside a shark cage when feeding time went wrong.

"They actually said (that) in 30 years, this has never happened," DiCaprio said. "But the tuna kind of got stuck on the top of the cage, and the great white kind of leapt out and tried to bite it, and it went into the cage with me and half its body was in and out, and I flattened down at the bottom and it chomped a few times."

DiCaprio praised the work of the foundation, but told DeGeneres, "it was absolutely terrifying."

He also related a secret from "Wolf of Wall Street." In a scene where Jonah Hill's character nearly chokes to death on a piece of ham and DiCaprio's character performs CPR, the filmmakers had trouble getting Hill's spat-up ham to stick to DiCaprio's face.

"We had to do 70 takes because they couldn't get this ham to stick on my face," DiCaprio said. "And they had to (use) K-Y Jelly, and there was literally a guy there with this plastic spoon just flicking ham on my face all day long."


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