When you reach the pinnacle of fame, artistic evolution becomes a profound challenge. Leonardo DiCaprio, renowned for his heartthrob status after "Titanic," faced this predicament. In 2000, actor Ethan Hawke expressed concerns about DiCaprio’s career trajectory following the blockbuster’s massive success. Hawke lamented that DiCaprio’s popularity made it arduous for him to continue excelling in edgy and diverse roles he was known for, such as those in "This Boy’s Life," "Romeo + Juliet," and "The Basketball Diaries."
DiCaprio’s Journey in Hollywood
At that point, DiCaprio was riding the wave of commercial success with films like "The Man in the Iron Mask" and "The Beach." However, he had to step away from the tantalizingly risky "American Psycho" due to creative differences. The film’s director, Mary Harron, later disclosed that DiCaprio’s huge teenage fanbase was a deciding factor. The baggage of megastardom was, at times, an impediment to the creative, out-of-the-box roles DiCaprio had excelled in earlier in his career.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s, and Leonardo DiCaprio had navigated through the challenges of fame. The physically grueling, survival-oriented "The Revenant" marked a turning point in his career, earning him his first Oscar in 2016. While he had already amassed an impressive filmography, the three films that followed – "Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood," "Don’t Look Up," and Martin Scorsese’s "Killers of the Flower Moon" – showcased DiCaprio in a different light.
A Reflective, Mournful Quality
These roles presented a more complex, somber version of the actor. His performances were neither heroic nor antiheroic, not righteous or monstrous. They were, instead, characterized by a reflective and almost mournful quality, indicating an evolution in his acting prowess.
Scorsese and DiCaprio Collaboration
DiCaprio’s collaboration with Martin Scorsese is a testament to his evolving career. They first worked together during the early 2000s, tackling films like "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator," "The Departed," and "Shutter Island." Despite the corporate constraints, these films offered fresh perspectives on morality, with DiCaprio portraying characters in shades of gray, challenging his heartthrob persona. Notably, his intense portrayal of Howard Hughes in "The Aviator" earned him an Oscar nod over a decade after his breakout in "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape."
A Transformation in Villainy
DiCaprio ventured into transformative villain roles with Clint Eastwood’s "J. Edgar" and Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained." But it was Scorsese’s "The Wolf of Wall Street" that truly turned the actor’s appeal inside out. As the sleazy stockbroker Jordan Belfort, DiCaprio presented a brilliant challenge. For three hours, audiences were immersed in his depraved world, a performance that was both fearless and, at times, grotesque. Critics found the film in conflict with itself, as it seemingly valorized its despicable protagonist. However, that was precisely Scorsese’s intention – to show that DiCaprio was almost too good at portraying the morally reprehensible.
A Fresh Phase with "Killers of the Flower Moon"
Fast forward a decade, and DiCaprio reunites with Scorsese in "Killers of the Flower Moon." The film marks a fresh career phase for DiCaprio, one unburdened by the peak of fame and perhaps less in need of subversion.
A Transformation in "Killers of the Flower Moon"
In this film, DiCaprio plays the character of Ernest Burkhart, a war veteran unwittingly entangled in a horrifying conspiracy to extort and murder the Osage community in 1920s Oklahoma. The film begins as a sweeping love story between Ernest and an Osage woman named Mollie (Lily Gladstone) before descending into a searing horror story about his involvement in the deadly poisoning of her and her family. His mob-boss-esque uncle, William Hale (Robert De Niro), orchestrates the sinister plot. Yet, it’s Ernest’s utter indifference towards stopping the atrocities and protecting those he’s destroying that marks the film’s most insidious and tragic form of evil.
A New Perspective
Scorsese and co-writer Eric Roth had been developing this adaptation for years. Initially centered on the FBI’s investigation, they realized it underserved the Osage perspective. DiCaprio was initially slated to play the lead agent, Tom White, but as they explored the limitations of that angle, DiCaprio proposed a unique approach – to play the character of Ernest. This transformation, with DiCaprio embodying the character of a feeble bystander to genocide, is less shocking than it would have been a decade ago.
The Humble Evolution
DiCaprio’s versatility shines in his role in "Killers of the Flower Moon." He has moved from heartthrob status to portraying characters that challenge his star power and showcase his acting prowess. Whether it’s his role in "Don’t Look Up" or his performance in "The Wolf of Wall Street," he continues to evolve, presenting audiences with multi-dimensional characters that reflect the depth of his talent.
In "Killers of the Flower Moon," Leonardo DiCaprio cements a thrilling new era in his career, one where he effortlessly navigates the complexities of morally gray characters, leaving a lasting impact on the cinematic landscape.
Exploring the Historical Significance in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Are Leonardo DiCaprio & Martin Scorsese Reteaming on ‘Killers of the Flower Moon?’
In an exciting development for film enthusiasts, Hollywood icons Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are joining forces once again. According to a report by Variety, the dynamic duo is set to collaborate on a new movie. The project in question, "Killers of the Flower Moon," has generated significant buzz and anticipation. This partnership marks their return to the big screen together, promising an intriguing cinematic experience.
The news of their reunion was first announced by Justin Kroll in an article for Variety on October 24, 2018. The collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese has a history of delivering exceptional films, and this new venture has captured the attention of movie enthusiasts and critics alike.
Is ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Based on a True Story?
As the highly anticipated film "Killers of the Flower Moon" prepares to hit cinemas next week, questions arise about its roots in reality. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this true-crime epic has propelled Leonardo DiCaprio to new heights on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is an adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 book, and it delves into a haunting chapter of history. Focusing on the Osage tribe of 1920s Oklahoma, the narrative unravels the mysterious deaths that occurred after the discovery of oil beneath their reservation.
This compelling storyline explores real events, making "Killers of the Flower Moon" a powerful and historically rooted cinematic experience.
Who Starred in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’?
The eagerly awaited "Killers of the Flower Moon" boasts an impressive ensemble cast. In this Apple Original film, Leonardo DiCaprio takes the lead role, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, who explores his first Western in this project. Alongside DiCaprio, the star-studded lineup includes Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and Brendan Fraser. This captivating collaboration promises a cinematic experience filled with talent and artistry.
Did Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone Collaborate?
In the 1920s-set adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction work, "Killers of the Flower Moon," the talented Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone join forces on the big screen. The film portrays them as a couple caught in the midst of a murder investigation, entangled with the tragic deaths of members of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma. This marks the seventh collaboration between DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese, showcasing their on-screen chemistry once again.
How Did Leonardo DiCaprio Prepare for His Role in the Film?
Leonardo DiCaprio’s dedication to his craft is well-known, and his preparation for "The Revenant" was no exception. To embody his challenging role, DiCaprio took his commitment to the next level. He immersed himself in the wilderness, even sleeping inside an animal carcass, consuming raw bison, and routinely swimming in frigid rivers. These extreme measures illustrate the actor’s unwavering dedication to delivering a remarkable performance in the film.
What Is the Historical Context of the Osage Community in the Film?
Martin Scorsese’s epic, "Killers of the Flower Moon," delves into a harrowing historical context. The film traces a genuine plot by white individuals to systematically murder dozens of Native Americans in the 1920s, who held valuable oil rights in Oklahoma. In that era, at least 60 Osage people met a tragic fate, either through murder or unexplained disappearances, with a chilling pattern – their white killers frequently marrying the victims before carrying out their heinous acts. This dark chapter in history serves as the backdrop for the intense narrative depicted in the film.