Leonardo DiCaprio went to great lengths to prepare for an unusual scene in his latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, by wearing protective padding. The scene, which has been the subject of considerable attention and discussion, involves a spanking between DiCaprio and his co-star Robert De Niro.
In an interview with Insider, the film’s cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto, discussed the behind-the-scenes details of this controversial scene. Prieto revealed that while the actors filmed the spanking, DiCaprio had padding on his buttocks to minimize the discomfort. However, it was evident that De Niro, known for his commitment to authenticity, was genuinely striking DiCaprio during the scene.
Prieto shared his impressions, saying, “I do remember doing them quite a few times and thinking, ‘Oh, that must hurt.'” He noted that the padding was used to reduce the impact for DiCaprio, who plays the character Ernest Burkhart in the film. Prieto also commended DiCaprio’s dedication, stating that he was “game for so much” and willing to “do anything” for the sake of the film.
Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, is an adaptation of David Grann’s critically acclaimed 2017 nonfiction book. The story revolves around the murders of indigenous people in Osage County, Oklahoma, during the 1920s and the formation of the FBI’s investigation into these crimes.
Just A Coincidence?
In the film, DiCaprio portrays Ernest Burkhart, the nephew of businessman William Hale, played by De Niro. The plot centers on Hale’s sinister plan to murder a wealthy Osage family after oil is discovered on their land. Coincidentally, this family is related to Ernest’s wife, Mollie Kyle, portrayed by Lily Gladstone. In addition to portraying the formation of the FBI and its investigation into the Osage Nation murders, the film delves into the love story between Ernest and Mollie.
The unexpected spanking scene in the movie occurs about halfway through its lengthy runtime of 3 hours and 26 minutes. The scene, which was not part of the original script, was added during production, surprising the cast and crew. The scene aims to convey the brutality of the time and the power dynamics within the story.
During production, the current Osage Nation Chief Standing Bear was consulted to ensure that the film accurately represented his people’s history and culture. He expressed his satisfaction with the film’s commitment to accurately telling the Osage Nation’s story and acknowledging their enduring suffering.
A Shift In Perspective
In September 2023, Martin Scorsese, the film’s director, revealed that he wanted to shift the film’s perspective from focusing solely on the early days of the FBI to centering on the relationship between Ernest and Mollie. He realized that the original approach was “from the outside in” and decided to explore the characters’ relationships and the impact of historical events on their lives.
This shift allowed Lily Gladstone, who portrayed Mollie, to shine in her role. Scorsese praised the actress for her ability to convey both “fierceness and serenity” simultaneously, all while encapsulating intelligence in her eyes.
Killers of the Flower Moon is expected to provide a unique perspective on a dark period in American history marked by tragedy and violence. Despite the controversy surrounding the spanking scene, the film aims to shed light on the complex and layered story of the Osage Nation’s struggles during the 1920s.