The best Rick Dalton scene was the one where Leonardo asked the director, Quentin Tarantino, for a rewrite.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a once in a generation talent, but when he was starting out in the 90s, most people probably did not think he would be THE go-to guy in Hollywood if you want nuanced and professional performance from an actor. Robert De Niro was the gold standard of Hollywood for the late 1900s, and since then, Leonardo DiCaprio is the rightful heir to the thrown of the greatest actor working in Hollywood.
There are just not enough superlatives to describe the performance and talent of Leo, whether he is using a funny accent in 'Blood Diamond' or grunting for two hours straight and sleeping inside an animal in 'The Revenant.' If the story needs that little bit extra to drive the point home, Leo will do anything in his power.
Watch: Leonardo DiCaprio win his first and only Oscar for Best Actor, to date
That is dedication is probably the reason why the actor was finally awarded an Oscar for his performance as 'Hugh Glass' in the amazing movie 'The Revenant.' But it also goes to show how little respect he's got of the Oscar voters, because off the top of our heads; we can name five performance which is acting Hall of Fame worthy.
But the lack of Oscar love is a topic for another day, and we are here to discuss another master class performance by the actor in the recently released 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.' The ninth movie by Quentin Tarantino was an ode to the Western era of Hollywood and also the unsung heroes of TV western actors who could never make their way to the mainstream scene as time and genre of movies and TV shows just passed them by.
Quentin Tarantino directed the amazing movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Source: Time
Leonardo was tasked with playing 'Rick Dalton' in the film, and the character of 'Rick' was one of the stars of the TV boom and the start of a long-running western TV show. By the time the show was done, and the actor was done with western career, Hollywood passed him by and no longer was the mysterious, mustached, macho men the standard of the film word.
'Rick' was the last of a dying breed and the way Leo plays the character really gives you an idea of what he must be going through. But what really pushes the message home in the audience's mind is the fantastic scene where 'Rick' goes into his trailer and suffers a breakdown. It was the best scene in the movie outside of the flamethrower-pool scene.
Watch: Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
'Rick Dalton' was given a chance by a director to play a character, which would be perfect for him, and the ‘Lancer’ scene was where Leo’s character 'Rick' messes up his lines to the irritancy of himself. But the way Tarantino wrote the scene, it was now how the whole thing was supposed to go. The director intended the scene to go off without a hitch, but Leo came to him and told him a break down would do a lot for the character.
Tarantino said, “Leo said, ‘I think I need to f*ck it up and forget the lines.’ I just wanted to do my ‘Lancer’ scene, a way to do this Western through the back door. [Leo] said, ‘I know I’m kind of f*cking up your scene, but I think that would be good for the character.’ I saw it as him ruining my fun, basically, but I say, ‘Fine. I’ll write a version, and we’ll do the ‘Lancer’ scene straight, and with the f*ck-up, knowing that in the editing room, I was going to do what I wanted to.”
Watch: The scene filmed at the behest of Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino was going to whatever he wanted to with the scene and filmed both versions, but when Leo gave the amazing snotty performance inside the trailer, he knew what he was going to do. “As soon as we did that second version, the take that is in the movie, I was like, ‘OK, OK, we’re obviously doing this now.’ He was right. It was terrific, and it gave the whole thing an arc that worked wonderfully,” Tarantino said.
The scene definitely gave an insight into the time in his career Leo was in, and it was great on the feet thinking by an amazing actor. Tarantino was also appreciative of being able to work with a talent like Leo. He said, “[Leo] is one of the most if not the most talented actor of his generation and the most naturally gifted actor I’ve ever worked with.”
Watch: The trailer for the ninth movie by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
For a man who was not willing to cut a single scene so the movie would be cleared to be screened in China, it was a great compromise, and the scene added to the character of 'Rick' along with giving a highlight-reel performance moment for Leonardo DiCaprio.