For many, the 2002 American biographical drama Catch Me If You Can is the movie where Tom Hanks gets to chase Leonardo DiCaprio around while Amy Adams makes awkward faces. Or, if you go by the trailer, it’s the movie where Tom Hanks tries to chase Leonardo DiCaprio around but it’s also just mostly DiCaprio flirting and hooking up with women. Sorry, we mean DiCaprio’s character, Frank Abagnale. We should probably be more clear on that.

The movie seems to go out of its way to make us think that this Abagnale guy — the poster boy of American Dream-type fraudsters— was a hit among the ladies. Only, real life is often more disappointing and, unfortunately, just way worse. See, the real Abagnale enjoyed embellishing his sexual exploits just as much as his fraudulent shenanigans, because of course he did. We guess it should probably come as no surprise that Hollywood made a dodgy guy played by Leonardo DiCaprio look way more suave than he actually was.

It turns out that the real Frank Abagnale was actually just a giant douche. Like most people who choose the con-artist profession of lying and manipulating others to get what they want, Abagnale boasted about his many criminal activities and often made himself seem more clever and cunning than he really was. For instance, the guy keeps on telling people that he was only ever caught once — in Montpellier, France. It’s as if he thinks no one believes things like newspaper clippings and other public records that prove he’d been arrested multiple times throughout the United States. He also claims to have “never ever ripped off any individuals” but that is simply not true and just the biggest load of bull.

In fact, Frank Bullcrap Abagnale insists that the only individual he’s ever ripped off was a sex worker, like he thinks chauvinism will somehow make him look like the good guy here: “She tried to charge me $1,000 for an evening, so I gave her a $1,400 forged cashier's check, and got $400 in change.”

But wait, it gets worse. While Abagnale claimed to have been a pediatrician for a year when he was 18, those pesky public records — again! — show that the dude was in prison at the time. However, Abagnale did once pose as a doctor at the University of Arizona where he performed physical examinations on students … some of which were female. In 2005, while speaking at some Business Expo, he told the crowd of listeners that when students came around with actual injuries he showed them away, but “when the girls came by I always gave them a thorough examination and sent them on their way. I was young, but not stupid.”

So yeah, the real Frank Abagnale is trash. But hey, that’s how men get ahead in this world, right?

Zanandi is on Twitter and also on that other platform.

Top Image: DreamWorks Pictures

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