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One of Leonardo DiCaprio’s most iconic movie scenes was improvised

Leonardo DiCaprio actually improvises an iconic scene in one of his best movies, and what's more, the star was actually nervous about getting it all right.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

We all know Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors ever. Another aspect of his greatness came out when working with Quentin Tarantino, who explained that an iconic scene in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, one of the best movies of 2019, was actually improvised.

“I knew I wanted to have that scene but I didn’t want to write it out,” Tarantino explained on 2 Bears, 1 Cave with Tom Segura. “I didn’t want it to have to be dialogue he remembered. So I got Leo and I was saying, ‘So look, here’s what I want to do: I want you to come in having fucked up on set not knowing your lines and I want you to come in the trailer and have a whole mad anger at yourself, detest fest, a complete temper tantrum against yourself’.”

The scene really helps elevate the film to one of the best comedy movies, with DiCaprio, who pays fictional actor Rick Dalton, returning to his trailer after screwing up a day of shooting. He comes in, and just starts cursing himself out and such. There’s a lot of self-loathing, captured with that signature Tarantino thriller movie spark.

“I gave him different subjects he could rant about,” Tarantino adds. “‘Here’s a subject, here’s a subject, here’s something you could say.’ And he goes, ‘Great.’ He was a little nervous. It was actually very cute that he was nervous that day because it’s on him and he knows that.”

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It’s almost endearing that someone with DiCaprio’s level of experience, who’s made some of the best drama movies ever, still gets nervous. He has Christopher Nolan movies and Martin Scorsese projects under his belt, yet being the total centre of attention still makes him a litle edgy, it’s like he’s one of us!

In any case, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is to date Tarantino’s last new movie. DiCaprio stars alongside Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt, and each deliver some of their best work. Robbie has moved onto bigger things now, though, heading up the Barbie cast for what’s not the highest-grossing movie of 2023.

Tarantino’s concerned with Tinseltown, when we’ve all moved to Barbieland. Check out our guide to the Barbie 2 release date for when we might get more of that, and we have a list of 20 things you don’t know about Barbie. Life as plastic, it’s fantastic.