After earning rave reviews after its Cannes premiere, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is inching closer to its wide theatrical release.
The Western epic, which details the “Reign of Terror” that saw a series of wealthy Osage Nation members murdered for their oil money in 1920s Oklahoma, reunites Scorsese with his longtime collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. The $200 million Apple film was shot on location in Osage County, with various members of the Osage Nation working closely with Scorsese to ensure historical accuracy. DiCaprio plays Ernest Buckhart, the conniving husband of Osage oil heiress Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), while De Niro stars as villainous business magnate William Hale.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is based on David Grann’s book of the same name. Scorsese co-wrote the screenplay with Oscar winner Eric Roth. In addition to DiCaprio and De Niro, “Killers of the Flower Moon” stars Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Meyers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, Brendan Fraser, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson.
At his Cannes press conference, Scorsese recalled the lengthy development process that led to DiCaprio switching roles. The Oscar winner was originally slated to play the FBI agent role that ultimately went to Plemons, but changed parts when Scorsese and Roth overhauled the script to lean away from the procedural aspects and focus on the Osage Nation.
“At one point, after two years of working on the script, Leo came to me. And he was going to play Tom White, that Jesse plays, and said to me, ‘Where’s the heart of this story? And I had had some meetings with the Osage,” Scorsese said. “And I learned a lot about them in those three hours. I learned about the people that settled, and the stories. They’re all related to each other, and there’s still relations and there’s still issues and so-and-so is in love… and it goes on like that. And I said, ‘There’s the story.’”
Scorsese also called the film first and foremost a “love story” between DiCaprio and Gladstone’s characters, as shown in the latest trailer.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” will open in theaters October 20 before streaming globally on Apple TV+. Watch the trailer below.