Martin Scorsese’s frequent cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto said last December the tone of their next collaboration together, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” was still being worked out. Now comes word from Scorsese himself that the tone has been set and the project, based on David Grann’s historical book of the same name, will be the director’s first Western. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is Scorsese’s follow-up to “The Irishman,” which nabbed 10 Academy Award nominations this year. The project is set to star longtime Scorsese muses Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
“We think it’s a Western,” Scorsese tells Premiere of the film. “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.”
Scorsese continues, “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.”
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David Grann’s book centers around the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were killed after discovering oil on their reservation. The murders attracted the attention of the newly-created FBI. Paramount Pictures boarded the project last June, bringing Scorsese back to a major Hollywood studio following his work on “The Irishman” with Netflix. Production on “Killers of the Flower Moon” is expected to begin this spring, making a 2021 release date most likely.