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From Ernest’s ignorance to missing Wabonka pins, Leonardo DiCaprio & Lily Gladstone share how their relationship came to be in Killers of the Flower Moon

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone open up about all that solidifed their onscreen chemistry in Killers of the Flower Moon, despite Ernest's ignorance about her Osage history and tradition.

From Ernest’s ignorance to missing Wabonka pins, Leonardo DiCaprio & Lily Gladstone share how their relationship came to be in Killers of the Flower Moon
Still from Killers Of The Flower Moon

Last Updated: 11.03 AM, Dec 30, 2023


Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon has won over most critics and fans with its powerful storytelling, unconventional ending, and poignant personal touch. The film is an adaptation of its eponymous novel by David Grann, that chronicles the Osage Reign of Terror in the 1920s, in Oklahoma.

The film focuses on the systematic and greedy annihilation of rich, Osage people, by a group of white interlopers, via the lens of the love story between Ernest Burkhart, a white businessman who is here to work for the story’s antagonist, his uncle, William Hale, and Mollie, a composed Osage woman.

In a discussion on Variety’s Notes on a Scene, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone point out interesting bits and information about shooting the the Table Scene. While playing through the scene, as their onscreen selves share and smoke tobacco, Lily Gladstone suddenly notes that Mollie is wearing two Wabonka pins on her dress, which means that she’s been married previously.


In Osage culture, unwed women wear three such pins. However, when Ernest immediately punctures the silence with his query, “How come you don’t have a husband?” and further states that as he is a man, he wishes to know why Mollie does not have a husband, her little, unconscious hint to him also fails to pierce his cloud of ignorance, as proclaimed by Leo himself, and assented upon by Lily.

Mollie, on hearing his query, unknowingly touches her pins and straightens her shirt. But Ernest fails to identify it, due to his utter lack of knowledge about the Osage, despite his attempt at manipulation and flirtation with one.

Gladstone and DiCaprio admitted that they researched a lot and talked with the Osage community, about Ernest and Mollie, and their children Cowboy and Lizzie, who had survived and known for their love for hosting parties, to know more about the dynamics between the two, and base it off their legacy.

Despite having a “Machiavellian relationship” as described by Leonardo, their relationship was not all manipulation and no emotion. Despite all the conspiring, Ernest did have an actual connection with Mollie and their love might have begun in a pure place, despite its tragic, betrayed ending.

And that is what, both Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio agreed upon, by explaining that the legacy of their children, the research claiming an authentic origin to a doomed story, as well as Montgomery Clift movies aided by becoming the foundation on which the Ernest-Mollie love story of Killers of the Flower Moon built upon.

They concluded the discussion by crediting the most influential films that shaped their relationship dynamics, from A Place in the Sun to Olivia de Havilland’s The Heiress, especially for the realization the female protagonist has towards the end about the person she cares about and truly understands the latter for who he is, before “making that switch.”

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