Lily Gladstone’s career is about to forever change at the Cannes Film Festival thanks to the world premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” in which she stars opposite the director’s longtime muses Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
During an interview as part of the Kering Women in Motion talks at Cannes, Gladstone admitted it’s near impossible not to think about how “Flower Moon” may impact her career. She first broke through in Kelly Reichardt’s 2016 movie “Certain Women,” which premiered to instant acclaim out of Sundance Film Festival.
“You can’t not [think about it], right?” Gladstone said. “I anticipated I would be way more nervous. I am just grateful I get to be here doing all of this. I do think about whatever this attention, but it’s to be shared. It’s not to be hoarded or boasted.”
In “Killers of the Flower Moon,” she plays Mollie Burkhart, the indigenous wife of DiCaprio’s Ernest. She is the heart of the story, as her Osage wealth and community is preyed upon by outsiders.
“I’m mostly excited for more people to see what Martin Scorsese has created and to learn about Osage perseverance and survival,” Gladstone said of the film.
Gladstone added that there are no words to describe what it’s like sharing the screen with heavyweights DiCaprio and De Niro. She compared the experience to staring at the Annapurna mountains and realizing you have to climb to the top.
“But in doing so, it’s little steps,” Gladstone said. “You adjust to the altitude sickness quickly. I told Leo our first week, ‘I just can’t think about that.’ When you’re working with such titans, the most refreshing thing is they are people. They’re incredible artists and sensitive storytellers who care about the truth about what’s happening in the scene and the authenticity of the relationship that’s being developed.”
Gladstone admitted that she was anxious on set, but her feelings were quelled by realizing that DiCaprio and De Niro felt similarly.
“Everybody here is nervous because we want to make sure we’re doing this story justice,” she said. “It’s too important not to take it seriously. There was no way I was going to let being starstruck get in the way of doing honest work.”
What did Gladstone learn from her Oscar-winning co-stars? “Don’t abandon it until you have it,” she said. “It’s okay to feel haunted by it. It’s probably good you feel haunted by it, making sure everything is right. The effortlessness, but also the effort is inspiring.”
Gladstone adds, “I loved watching Leo work because when we were working through scenes, he’s so generous. He vocalizes his thought process so it’s out there for you to see and to anticipate and to weigh in on. I appreciate that because in a lot of ways, I tend to be more guarded with it.”
Watch Gladstone’s full Kering Women in Motion talk in the video below. Apple and Paramount will release “Killers of the Flower Moon” in theaters on Oct. 20.