Scorsese on DiCaprio's Ad-Libbing in 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Scorsese on DiCaprio's Ad-Libbing in 'Killers of the Flower Moon'


Martin Scorsese, the iconic filmmaker, recently opened up about his experience working with Leonardo DiCaprio on their latest project, "Killers of the Flower Moon." In a candid interview with The Telegraph, Scorsese shared some interesting insights into the dynamic between DiCaprio and his long-time collaborator, Robert De Niro.

"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a film based on the true story of the murders of members of the Osage nation in the 1920s. The film showcases the talents of both DiCaprio and De Niro, but it seems they approached their roles in quite distinct ways. Scorsese explained that DiCaprio's improvisation on set was "endless, endless, endless," while De Niro took a different approach, preferring not to engage in much dialogue.

DiCaprio's penchant for ad-libbing and improvising his lines is nothing new. Throughout his career, he's been known for his ability to inject spontaneity into his performances, often leading to memorable moments in iconic films such as "Titanic," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood." While this improvisational style can undoubtedly add depth to a character, it appears that on the set of "Killers of the Flower Moon," it occasionally tested the patience of both Scorsese and De Niro.

As Scorsese humorously described it, there were moments during filming when he and De Niro exchanged knowing glances and even rolled their eyes in response to DiCaprio's constant ad-libbing. It's a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of these talented individuals. But, as Scorsese pointed out, they weren't simply frustrated with DiCaprio's approach; they were trying to guide him to a different perspective. "You don't need that dialogue," they would tell him.

The film's plot revolves around De Niro and DiCaprio's characters, an uncle-nephew duo scheming to steal the oil beneath the Osage tribe's land. The contrast in their acting styles adds an intriguing layer to the characters they portray. De Niro's character prefers to keep things close to the chest, letting his actions speak louder than words, while DiCaprio's character seems to embrace improvisation as a way to explore his character's motivations and emotions more deeply.

Interestingly, the creative process behind "Killers of the Flower Moon" didn't stop at improvisation. Scorsese revealed that after working on the script for two years with co-screenwriter Eric Roth, DiCaprio proposed some changes. The original script focused on the perspective of bureau agents investigating the murders. However, DiCaprio challenged this approach, asking, "Where is the heart of this story?"

Scorsese's response to this question is revealing. He had engaged with the Osage community, and he recognized that the true heart of the story wasn't from an external perspective but rather from within, in the heart of Oklahoma itself. This shift in perspective and emphasis, inspired by DiCaprio's question, showcases the collaborative nature of filmmaking. It's a reminder that sometimes, even the most accomplished creators need to step back and reassess their work to find the true essence of a story.

"Killers of the Flower Moon" has certainly been a project full of creative exploration and collaboration, both in the acting and scriptwriting processes. The tensions arising from different acting styles and the open dialogue about the heart of the story highlight the dedication of the cast and crew to making the film as impactful as possible.

As for the movie itself, "Killers of the Flower Moon" is currently gracing the big screens, offering audiences a chance to witness the results of these creative processes firsthand. With Scorsese at the helm, De Niro and DiCaprio leading the way, and a story rooted in historical events, this film promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging cinematic experience.

In the end, the story of the making of "Killers of the Flower Moon" serves as a testament to the ever-evolving and collaborative nature of filmmaking. It shows that even in the face of creative differences and challenges, the end result can be a powerful piece of art that resonates with audiences. So, if you're a fan of Scorsese, DiCaprio, or De Niro, or simply enjoy films that delve into real historical events, this is one movie that you won't want to miss.

What are your thoughts on the different acting styles of DiCaprio and De Niro in "Killers of the Flower Moon"? Do you believe that improvisation enhances a performance or can it sometimes be distracting? And how important do you think it is for a film's creators to reevaluate their approach, as Scorsese did when DiCaprio asked about the story's heart? Let's discuss in the comments!


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