Leonardo DiCaprio Gushes Over Lily Gladstone's Performance in 'Killers of the Flower Moon' (Exclusive)

The Oscar winner calls the acclaimed actress the 'heart and soul' of the hotly anticipated drama.

Leonardo DiCaprio has lived his life in front of the camera and worked with hundreds of scene partners over the course of his Oscar-winning career -- and the revered actor shared particularly effusive praise for his Killers of the Flower Moon co-star, Lily Gladstone.

In an ET exclusive on-set interview with DiCaprio -- recorded back before the start of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike -- the star opened up about working with Gladstone, and playing her husband in the long-awaited, Martin Scorsese-helmed drama.

"I felt her at moments living as Mollie," DiCaprio said of Gladstone, who plays a member of the Osage tribe, and wife to DiCaprio's Ernest Burkhart. "She embodied that character, she took on the soul of this woman and embraced herself into the Osage community."

"Once again, being from a different tribe, going to the Osage community, listening to [Mollie's] story and direct descendants and just embodied in every moral fiber of her being who Mollie was," DiCaprio continued. "[And she] expressed it through her performance in a very profound way."

"She is the heart and soul of this movie, she really is," he added.

Gladstone had equal praise for DiCaprio and admitted that starring alongside the screen icon was a bit intimidating at first.

"The first day that I worked with him my hands were shaking, naturally, because it's Leonardo DiCaprio," Gladstone said. "But after getting through those initial nerves, I was just sitting across from an incredibly present, generous, talented, immensely talented actor."

"And the rest of the nerves about it faded away when we were so focused on if we were doing justice to our characters," she added. "So that was incredibly inspiring."

Based on David Grann's best-selling nonfiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the upcoming Western crime epic centers on a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma, after oil is discovered on tribal land in the Osage Nation. 

The murders became known as the "Reign of Terror," during which wealthy Osage Nation members were murdered for their oil money by the "white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted, and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder."

In addition to DiCaprio -- in his seventh onscreen collaboration with Scorsese -- and Gladstone, the film also stars frequent Scorsese collaborator Robert De Niro -- playing the historical villain William King Hale -- as well as Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow, Tantoo Cardinal and more.

ET spoke with De Niro ahead of the 2023 Tribeca Festival in June, during which he opened up about the film's impressive reception and rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival weeks earlier.

"We were very happy," De Niro said of the film's reception. "Listen, I'd rather be standing there for nine minutes for standing ovations as opposed to being booed for nine minutes. Because that audience, the audience at Cannes are known for that booing." 

Killers of the Flower Moon hits theaters on Oct. 20 and will stream on Apple TV+ at a later date.



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