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 novel 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.”
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.
It looks like Martin Scorsese is missing his pals at Netflix. The streaming giant essentially gave Scorsese a blank check to make The Irishman, and now that the legendary filmmaker is back working with a regular studio, he’s reportedly getting nostalgic for that Netflix freedom. Scorsese is currently working on Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars both Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. The movie already has a budget over $220 million dollars, which is rumored to be giving studio Paramount more than a few sleepless nights.
Richard Rushfield broke this story in his Ankler newsletter, stating that there are rumors swirling that Netflix could swoop in and grab Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Rushfield states these are nothing but rumors for now, but does add that even if Netflix doesn’t come to the rescue, Scorsese would sure like them to. As the story goes, Paramount is nervous about Flower Moon‘s current $225 million budget – and not even the presence of box office draw Leonardo DiCaprio is soothing these worries.
Scorsese had money to burn and a wealth of freedom on the Netflix-released The Irishman, and Paramount’s worry over the budget seems to have him pining for that sweet, sweet Netflix support system. Again: None of this means Netflix is going to ride in on a white horse and take Killers of the Flower Moon away. Still, it’s interesting to learn how fond of Netflix Scorsese has become – and who can blame him? He’s been making movies the old fashioned way for decades, and then Netflix went ahead and gave him tons of money and freedom to do whatever the heck he wanted. Who wouldn’t want to return to that?
Based on a true story, and the book of the same name by David Gran, Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of the Osage murders of the 1920s. At the time, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma had become extremely wealthy due to oil being discovered beneath their land. Then, as the book jacket explains “one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.” The FBI, still in its infancy at the time, began investigating, and sent in a former Texas Ranger, Tom White, to try to find the killer or killers. White put together an undercover team to get to the bottom of things, and ended up exposing a conspiracy in the process.
As a lifelong Scorsese fan, I’m of the opinion that studios and producers should give him as much damn money and freedom as he wants to get his films made, but hey, that’s me. Scorsese is set to start...