On the heels of the success of The Irishman and its 10 Academy Awards nods at the 2020 Oscars, director Martin Scorsese is looking ahead to his next movie: Killers of the Flower Moon. After years of trying to get this project off the ground, Scorsese is finally able to talk confidently about the project ahead of its March 2020 filming start date, including teasing the genre of the movie and the time period at the heart of the story.
While speaking with French outlet Premiere, Scorsese opened up about what genre Killers of the Flower Moon will probably be styled as — and it’s a major first for the beloved director. According to Scorsese,
“We think it’s a Western. It happened in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. There 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.
Longtime Scorsese collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro will be joining the director in re-telling the events of this historical drama which is set in Oklahoma in the 1920s. It sounds like all three will have quite a time getting it right; Scorsese’s continued comments to Premiere indicate he’s thinking about the bigger and broader implications of the murders and their place in history.
“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 is fascinating to see this mentality which is reproduced in other cultures, through two world wars. And which is therefore timeless, I think. This is the film that we are going to try to make.”
Based on the nonfiction book of the same name from author David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the actual murders of members of the Osage Nation after vast reserves of oil were discovered on their reservation. The string of murders eventually grabbed the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and the nascent FBI. After floating around for a while, production on Killers of the Flower Moon began to take shape when Paramount Pictures scooped the feature up back in June 2019.
Killers of the Flower Moon is set for release in 2021. In the meantime, check out our round-up of the most anticipated movies of 2020.