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Martin Scorsese to Direct First Western Movie With ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

BY David Riley

Published 4 years ago

Martin Scorsese to Direct First Western Movie With 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Martin Scorsese is known for directing period epics, psychological thrillers, and yes, even the much-debated mobster films. But with the wide range of movies that the iconic director has under his belt, there’s one that he has never tried before until now. Scorsese describes his next project, titled Killers of the Flower Moon, as a “timeless western.”

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the 2017 non-fiction book of the same name by David Grann and will dive deep into the horrific Osage Indian murders that took place in the early ’20s in Osage County, Oklahoma. It’s a fitting period piece given the growing racism in modern society (seemingly taking from the books of history too), and Scorsese wants to shed more light on the racial violence perpetrated by white men during this era. Speaking to Premiere for his Cahiers du Cinéma cover story, Scorsese dished out a slew of chunky details about the post-The Irishman project.

“We think it’s a western. It happened in 1921, 1922, in Oklahoma. They are certainly cowboys, but they have cars, and also horses,” Scorsese reveals. “The film mainly talks about Osages, an Indian tribe with which we gave a horrible territory, but which they loved because they said to themselves that the Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered petroleum there and during approximately ten years, the Osages became the people the richest in the world, per capita. Then as with the Yukon and the mining regions of Colorado, the vultures disembark, the white man, the European arrives, and all that is lost. (…) There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than killing an Indian.”

Scorsese also revealed what Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro will be playing in Killers of the Flower Moon. This marks the two’s first co-starring role in a Scorsese movie and first in 30 years since 1993’s This Boy’s Life. “Leonardo DiCaprio will play the main role, Bob (De Niro) will return to play William Hale, the “king of the Osage hills,” the man responsible for most of the murders,” the director said. “The rest will be Native American actors. It’s so interesting to think about the mentality that leads us to this. The history of civilization goes back to Mesopotamia. The Hittites are invaded by another people, they disappear and later, it is said that they have been assimilated, or rather, absorbed.”

It’s interesting to feel Scorsese’s passion for the project and how it will all play out in true, western movie fashion. Though we’ve all seen great period pictures from the director in movies like SilenceGangs of New York, and The Last Temptation of ChristKillers of the Flower Moon seems to be the kind of film that’s epic in all proportions.

“It is fascinating to see this mentality which is reproduced in other cultures, through two world wars. And which is therefore timeless, I think. Finally, this is the film that we are going to try to make,” Scorsese adds.

Killers of the Flower Moon will begin production in March and is set for a 2021 premiere.

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