Leonardo DiCaprio had to wear ‘butt padding’ for Killers of the Flower Moon spanking scene

‘You could tell De Niro was really hitting him,’ cinematographer said of filming scene

Tom Murray
Tuesday 24 October 2023 20:16 BST
Comments
Killers of the Flower Moon trailer

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Leonardo DiCaprio wore “butt padding” for a Killers of the Flower Moon scene in which Robert De Niro repeatedly spanks him.

DiCaprio, 48, plays Ernest Burkhart, the nephew of malevolent rancher William Hale (De Niro), in Martin Scorsese’s new film about the Osage Indian murders of the 1920s.

In one scene, Hale punishes Burkhart by spanking him repeatedly with a giant paddle.

“I don’t think that was in the first script,” the film’s cinematographer, Rodrigo Prieto, told Insider of the scene in a new interview. “That was something that was added, and it’s shocking in the film.”

The Oscar-nominated cinematographer continued: “I do remember doing them quite a few [takes] and thinking, ‘Oh, that must hurt.’

“There was some padding on his butt. But you could tell De Niro was really hitting him.

“Leo is game for so much,” Prieto added. “He’ll do anything.”

Lily Gladstone, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Lily Gladstone, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (Apple TV+)

DiCaprio is indeed known for going above and beyond for his roles.

For his Oscar-winning performance in 2015’s The Revenant, the actor ate raw bison liver on camera.

“The bad part is the membrane around it,” he said of the experience at the time. “It’s like a balloon. When you bite into it, it bursts in your mouth.”

In Killers of the Flower Moon, Ernest marries Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), a member of the Osage Native American tribe who find themselves being killed off one by one after oil is found on their land.

The Western true-crime thriller is an adaption of David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction book of the same name. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Scorsese admitted to overhauling the script for the film after realising he was “making a movie about all the white guys”.

DiCaprio was originally set to play FBI agent Tom White, who investigated the murders; however, the role was recast (given to Jesse Plemons) after the pair realised that Burkhart and Kyle’s relationship should be the core of the movie.

“The movie’s faithful to the history,” Grann told The Independent in a new interview. “Scorsese did a masterful job. I could not be happier with the way this all worked out.”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

However, Reservation Dogs star Devery Jacobs is not so sure about the film’s portrayal.

Writing on X/Twitter on Monday (23 October), the Native actor, 30, said: “Being Native, watching this movie was f***ing hellfire.

“Imagine the worst atrocities committed against yr [sic] ancestors, then having to sit thru [sic] a movie explicitly filled w/ them, w/ the only respite being 30min long scenes of murderous white guys talking about/planning the killings.”

Jacobs said that “all the incredible Indigenous actors” were the “only redeeming factors of this film”.

Killers of the Flower Moon is out now in cinemas and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ in November.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in