Leonardo DiCaprio really cut himself in Django Unchained scene

Leonardo DiCaprio cuts his hand in a famous scene from Tarantino's Django Unchained, and not only was the injury real, it shocked the other filmmakers

Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained

Sometimes, being a great performer means suffering for your art. Leonardo DiCaprio discovered this the hard way while making thriller movie Django Unchained. In a big monologue from this character, he cut his hand and filmed the whole thing while bleeding profusely.

As DiCaprio recalled to The Hollywood Reporter, while cutting himself obviously hurt, it gave the scene a particular edge it didn’t have before. “My hand started really pouring blood all over the table. Maybe they thought it was done with special effects,” he says. “I wanted to keep going. It was more interesting to watch Quentin’s and Jamie’s reaction off-camera than to look at my hand.”

The problem is, he’d really done some damage. To make things easier for post-production, they did every scene thereafter with it looking injured and with the cut covered up, so the edit had the option of omitting. Thankfully, it was left in. “We did it bloodied and bandaged for the rest of the movie,” DiCaprio said. “I’m glad Quentin kept it in.”

The scene in question involves Calvin (DiCaprio) calling out Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr King (Christoph Waltz) for lying to him. He gives a thunderous speech in the Western, and when he slams his hand on the table, you can a glass break.

YouTube Thumbnail

From then on, blood starts pumping out of the wound, but DiCaprio treats it like it was supposed to happen. Impressive stuff and an added wrinkle that makes Calvin seem like even more of a murderous sociopath. If literal blood on his hands doesn’t bother him, what does more figurative blood matter?

A happy accident, even if DiCaprio probably still bears the scar. Have a look at our list of family movies for something a little easier on all involved.