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.”
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.”
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.