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Inside Leonardo DiCaprio’s off-screen relationship with co-star Lily Gladstone after contentious Killers of the Flower Moon performance

Martin Scorsese's star-studded film about a real-life tragedy is out in theaters now

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio attend the "Killers Of The Flower Moon" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2023 in Cannes, France
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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While Martin Scorsese's new film Killers of the Flower Moon has some huge names in its cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, it's their co-star Lily Gladstone that (deservedly) takes up all of the spotlight.

The actress, 37, stars in the movie as Mollie Burkhart, the wife of Leo's character Ernest Burkhart, who – spoilers ahead – is complicit in the real-life slaughter of Native Americans across Osage Nation in Oklahoma throughout the 1920s.

While their characters' relationship was complicated, offscreen, Leo's support of Lily's ascent to stardom has been unwavering.

WATCH: Killers Of The Flower Moon Official Trailer

Despite Leo's own A-Lister status, last month he maintained to British Vogue: "Lily is absolutely astonishing in this movie," and declared: "She carries the entire film and the story."

Further raving about Lily's stellar performance to The Hollywood Reporter back in May, the Catch Me If You Can actor stated: "Lily has amazing presence and strength."

He continued: "She spent months studying Mollie Burkhart and her family, working extensively to understand the intricacies of this woman, her relationship with Ernest and her legacy within the Osage community."

Robert de Niro, Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese attend the "Killers Of The Flower Moon" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2023 in Cannes, France© Getty
Robert, Martin, Lily and Leo at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this summer

The Oscar winner added: "As a Native actor, in a lot of ways, she became a source of guidance for all of us, Scorsese included, in terms of how we told the story."

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As in the film, in real life, Lily is of Native American descent, specifically of Siksikaitsitapi and NiMíiPuu heritage. Her mother is white, while her father is Blackfeet and Nez Perce, and she grew up on the Blackfeet Nation reservation in Browning, Montana until she was 11 years old.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Martin Scorsese attend the "Killers of the Flower Moon" press conference at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2023 in Cannes, France© Getty
The actor has had nothing but praise for his co-star

Leo also credits Lily and her heritage as part of why the Killers of the Flower Moon script was reworked from a film that erred on the side of Hollywood's usual white-savior narrative, to one that accurately highlighted the tragedy that was the Reign of Terror it depicts.

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"It just didn't feel like it got to the heart of it," Leo also told British Vogue about the initial idea, before revealing: "We weren't immersed in the Osage story. There was this tiny, small scene between Mollie and Ernest that provoked such emotion in us at the reading, and we just started to penetrate into what that relationship was, because it was so twisted and bizarre and unlike anything I've ever experienced before."

Leo and Lily's commitment and on-screen chemistry – especially Lily's own Oscar-buzzy performance – has already gained high-praise from critics and netizens alike, who across social media have shared admiration like: "So much life behind Lily Gladstone's eyes in any given moment of Flower Moon. What a rich performance, it's been on my mind all day," and: "Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon is one of the most restrained, utterly devastating turns I've ever seen in a major Hollywood movie… She dominates it."

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