Killers of the Flower Moon” is an epic Western crime saga, rooted in a true story, and woven through the unlikely romance of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), where genuine love intersects with unspeakable betrayal. With Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons in prominent roles, the film is helmed by Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth, drawing from David Grann’s best-selling book.
At the turn of the 20th century, oil brought a fortune to the Osage Nation, who became some of the richest people in the world overnight. The wealth of these Native Americans immediately attracted white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted, and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder.
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” based on a shameful episode in American history, wouldn’t fit the traditional mould. Scorsese and Roth’s adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon” started out with a different hero: Thomas Bruce White Sr., the heroic Texas Ranger and FBI agent who solved the Osage murder case.
“I wanted to explore it,” Scorsese recalls, “to start working with Eric and see what kind of a movie we could make. But what that meant was that, from 2017 to 2020, while we were shooting “The Irishman,” we went through every aspect of that story from the point of view of the FBI and Tom White’s character, including some aspects of the history of the Texas Rangers. It all hinged on Tom White. We came at the story from every possible angle, with Tom White as the main character.”
Credit, then, is owed to Scorsese, Roth and DiCaprio for eventually realising that a pivot was needed.
“It was definitely a revelation,” says actor Leonardo DiCaprio of Grann’s book, noting the proximity of events to the two-day 1921 Tulsa race massacre, another horrific incident of white-on-minority violence that occurred less than 30 minutes away. (Sadly, it’s taken a century for both injustices to become widely known.) “Whereas the Tulsa massacre was an outright carpet bombing of an entire community of African Americans, this was much more Machiavellian and lasted many years. There are still repercussions of it to this day.”
Produced by Paramount Pictures, A Viacom18 Studios release in India, “Killers Of The Flower Moon” is all set to hit the theatres on Oct 27