"A great white jumped into my cage," Leonardo DiCaprio recalled of when he went diving in South Africa

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated December 14, 2015 03:30 PM
Credit: Variety/REX Shutterstock

Leonardo DiCaprio feels lucky to be alive.

DiCaprio, 41, may play an 1820s fur trapper who fights for survival in his upcoming film The Revenant, but that’s nothing compared to the close brushes with death the actor has endured throughout his lifetime.

“If a cat has nine lives, I think I’ve used a few,” DiCaprio told WIRED magazine in its January issue.

From a shark attack and skydiving accident to a near plane crash, the adrenaline junkie shared his tales of his extreme adventuring and the few times he’s almost looked the Grim Reaper right in the eyes.

“A great white jumped into my cage,” DiCaprio recalled of when he went diving in South Africa. “Half its body was in the cage, and it was snapping at me.”

The actor explained that after the water had been chummed with tuna, a wave hit and splashed some of the shark food into the cage, causing a great white to jump and try to catch the food.

“I sort of fell down to the bottom and tried to lie flat. The great white took about five or six snaps an arm’s length away from my head,” she said. “The guys there said that has never happened in the 30 years they’d been doing it.”

While that would end most people’s desire for extreme adventuring, DiCaprio was just getting started. He also recalled a time when he nearly plummeted to his death while skydiving.

After jumping out of a plane and free-falling toward the ground, DiCaprio and his instructor found themselves tangled in two different knotted parachutes.

“He just kept shaking it and shaking it in midair, as all my friends were, you know, what felt like half a mile above me, and I’m plummeting toward earth,” he laughed. “And he finally unravels it in midair. The fun part was when he said, ‘You’re probably going to break your legs on the way down, because we’re going too fast now.’ So after you see your whole life flash in front of your eyes – twice – he says, ‘Oh, your legs are going to get broken too.'”

But DiCaprio doesn’t just come face-to-face with death during inherently dangerous activities. The actor revealed that he’s also been in a near plane crash as well.

“I was in business class, and an engine blew up in front of my eyes,” he recalled. “I was sitting there looking out at the wing, and the entire wing exploded in a fireball.”

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He continued: “They shut all the engines off for a couple of minutes, so you’re just sitting there gliding with absolutely no sound, and nobody in the plane was saying anything. It was a surreal experience. They started the engines back up, and we did an emergency landing at JFK.”

Perhaps the daredevil actor might want to just stay indoors for now?

The Revenant hits theaters Christmas Day.