While Leonardo DiCaprio’s talent speaks for itself, his words aren’t always what’s in the script.
Just ask Martin Scorsese.
The Killers of the Flower Moon director told the The Wall Street Journal that the Titanic star tends to flesh details out and improv while filming, describing his technique as “endless, endless, endless!”
Although Scorsese has worked with DiCaprio on six films, beginning with his 2002 Gangs of New York, he and one of DiCaprio’s A-list co-stars in the upcoming Western drama couldn’t stand the ad libbing: Robert De Niro.
“Then Bob didn’t want to talk,” Scorsese explained. “Every now and then, Bob and I would look at each other and roll our eyes a little bit. And we’d tell him, ‘You don’t need that dialogue.’”
In terms of improv, some of DiCaprio’s greatest scenes throughout his career were the result of his own imagination. According to director Quentin Tarantino, DiCaprio’s famous freakout scene as Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood “wasn’t in the script,” but was brought to the table by DiCaprio himself, per IndieWire.
It also turns out that De Niro was the one to introduce DiCaprio and Scorsese following their collaboration in This Boy’s Life in 1983.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Killers of The Flower Moon is the first full-length film that the two actors have worked on together under Scorsese’s direction.
Also, DiCaprio is the one to thank for helping Scorsese determine that the film needed a rewrite in order to avoid being a “movie about all the white guys.”
“It just didn’t get to the heart of the Osage,” DiCaprio told Deadline in May, with reference to the original script.
“It felt too much like an investigation into detective work, rather than understanding from a forensic perspective the culture and the dynamics of this very tumultuous, dangerous time in Oklahoma.”
He also noted that they were shooting “during the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, which was a half-hour car ride away from where the Osage reign of terror occurred and happened in the same year, 1921, as the first Osage murder.”
“We were there for the Tulsa massacre and the return of the Flower Moon,” he added. “It was cosmic insane coincidence that we were telling this story, 100 years later.”
For De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon marks his tenth film under the direction of Scorsese. Their partnership began with the 1973 gangster film Mean Streets.
Killers of the Flower Moon is now in cinemas.
This article originally appeared in Decider and was reproduced with permission.