Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto told Insider in a new interview that Leonardo DiCaprio wore butt padding for the scene in which Robert De Niro has to repeatedly spank him. Prieto recalled watching the scene on set and thinking, “Oh, that must hurt.” He commended DiCaprio for being open to try anything Scorsese asked him to during production.
“I don’t think that was in the first script,” Prieto said of the spanking scene. “That was something that was added, and it’s shocking in the film.”
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“I do remember doing them quite a few times and thinking, ‘Oh, that must hurt,'” Prieto added. “There was some padding on his butt. But you could tell De Niro was really hitting him…Leo is game for so much. He’ll do anything.”
The spanking scene occurs about halfway into the lengthy “Flower Moon” runtime. DiCaprio’s character, Ernest Burkhart, has messed up part of a larger plan to rob the Osage of its wealth. De Niro’s character, William Hale, is Ernest’s uncle and decides to punish his nephew by bending him over and spanking him. The punishment further manipulates Ernest into being under William’s control.
In a recent interview with Variety, Prieto discussed how he worked with Scorsese to pull off the film’s breathtaking opening in which oil busts out of the Osage lands and showers its people in thick petroleum.
“Scorsese kept talking about oil gushing up in the air,” Prieto said. “When you find oil, it bubbles under the surface, but he wanted to do something surreal and joyful, which contrasts with what that black gold brought them.”
Prieto is widely considered to be an Oscar contender for best cinematography not only for his work on “Killers of the Flower Moon” but also on “Barbie.” He went to shoot the Greta Gerwig-directed comedy after wrapping up production on Scorsese’s $200 million Western crime epic.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is now playing in theaters nationwide from Paramount and Apple.
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