Martin Scorsese Recalls Moment Leonardo DiCaprio Made Lily Gladstone Laugh on

Martin Scorsese Recalls Moment Leonardo DiCaprio Made Lily Gladstone Laugh on

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone play married couple Ernest and Mollie Burkhart in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ in theaters Friday

Killers of the Flower Moon Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Martin Scorsese found Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio made for a compelling couple in his latest movie.

During a recent press conference for 80-year-old Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, the famed filmmaker said that “the heart of the story” told in his film lies within 37-year-old Gladstone’s character, an Osage woman named Mollie Burkhart whose family members are murdered throughout the movie.

“She had a good relationship with Leo,” Scorsese said of Gladstone. “I think you could see it in the scene where he’s driving the cab and she’s in the backseat and she’s saying things in Osage and he says, ‘What’d you just call me? I don’t know what you just said, but it must be Indian for a handsome devil.’ ”

“And she starts laughing,” he adds. “That’s a total improv.”

DiCaprio, 48, plays Ernest Burkhart in Killers of the Flower Moon, a man who moves to Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 1920s to seek work with his uncle, local businessman William K. Hale (Robert De Niro). Ernest meets, falls in love with and marries Molly — a wealthy woman from her family’s share of oil-abundant land in the area — soon after his arrival in the county.

Killers of the Flower Moon Cast Discuss Using ‘Authentic’ Osage Language in New Clip (Exclusive)

Leonardo DiCaprio Talks Importance of Being 'Authentic' in Killers of the Flower Moon Featurette

JaNae Collins, Lily Gladstone, Cara Jade Myers and Jillian Dion in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

“And so that really hit it from that moment on, they took off trusting each other, working together and enjoying each other too,” Scorsese said of how the actors approached the characters’ romance. Scorsese even noted that while the couple fell in love, Molly “enjoyed the charm of the scoundrel — and she knew he was [a] scoundrel [who] says he wants money.”

Killers of the Flower Moon, based on a true story, depicts Ernest and Molly’s relationship during several years in the 1920s during which white settlers in Oklahoma orchestrated plots to murder a number of members of the Osage Nation in order to obtain their headrights to the tribe’s oil deposits.

The movie is adapted from author David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction book of the same name, which centers on the FBI’s investigation into the murders. Scorsese, however, decided to take a different route with the film to prevent it from playing like a typical murder-mystery.

“In reality, it wasn’t a matter of who did it. I wanted to show who didn’t do it,” he said during the press conference.

Martin Scorsese Defends 3.5-Hour Runtime for Killers of the Flower Moon: ‘Give Cinema Some Respect’

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Scorsese originally cast DiCaprio as FBI agent Tom White, portrayed by Jesse Plemons in the film. However, the filmmaker said after a script reading, DiCaprio approached him and suggested he instead should play Ernest, who was ultimately implicated in assisting his uncle Hale with a number of murders.

“He said, ‘You’re going to kill me. I want to play Ernest now,’ ” the filmmaker recalled DiCaprio saying. He went on to explain that centering the film’s tragedies around Ernest and Mollie’s relationship.

“Here you see how it could work out on a day-to-day basis, not just a villain’s [reveal],” Scorsese added. “No, here you see it in the bedroom and in the kitchen and with the children. That’s interesting.”