In his 50-plus year career as a filmmaker, Martin Scorsese has never directed a western. But that’s about to change with his next movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, which reunites him with his two muse movie stars: Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Read Scorsese’s comments on the new film below.
In an interview with Cahieurs du Cinema via Premiere (by way of The Film Stage), Scorsese reveals the genre of Killers of the Flower Moon and lays out the brutal, real-world context for the story, which is based on author David Grann‘s non-fiction book:
“We think it’s a western. It [takes place] in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. They are certainly cowboys, but they have cars and also horses. The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered oil there and, for about ten years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita. Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian.”
When Osage members begin falling victim to a series of mysterious murders, the fledgling Federal Bureau of Investigation sends an agent to find out what’s going on, and the agent puts together an undercover team and unites with the Osage to discover the horrible truth. In this interview, Scorsese confirms that DiCaprio will play the main role of the FBI agent, while “Bob (De Niro) will return to play William Hale, ‘King of the Osage Hills,’ the man responsible for most of the murders. The rest will be Native American actors.” Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) wrote the screenplay.
Killers of the Flower Moon won’t just be a reunion between Scorsese and his two favorite acting collaborators, but it’ll be a big behind-the-scenes assembly of some of his more technical collaborators, as well. Longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto are all joining forces with him once again here, and we can’t wait to see what they all do with the western genre. Filming is slated to begin next month.
The Film Stage also pointed us to this great clip of the filmmaker talking about westerns from his A Personal Journey Through American Movies, which is so good that I have to include it here as well:
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