Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio tell how Cannes hit ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ changed along the way

·2 min read

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio experienced the ultimate plot twist while making their new film, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

The writer-director Scorsese originally enlisted DiCaprio to portray an FBI agent investigating a string of murders among Oklahoma’s Osage Nation tribe, but as the project developed, he recast the Oscar winner.

DiCaprio now stars as Ernest Burkhart, whose marriage is central to the film that premiered to rave reviews Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

“This story, much like the Tulsa massacre, has been something that people have started to learn about and started to understand is part of culture, part of our history,” DiCaprio, 48, told reporters Sunday. “After the screenplay, from almost an anthropological perspective — Marty was there every day — we were talking to the community, trying to hear the real stories and trying to incorporate the truth.”

The film is set during the 1920s and centers on the manipulation and killings of oil-rich Osage Native Americans. Lily Gladstone plays Mollie, an Osage woman who married Burkhart, while Robert De Niro portrays William Hale, a man in the middle of the extortion.

“I said, ‘I think the audience is ahead of us,” Scorsese, 80, said Sunday. “They know it’s not a whodunit. It’s a who-didn’t-do-it.”

The film received a nine-minute standing ovation after Saturday’s premiere and is due out in U.S. theaters and on Apple TV+ this October.

“Early on, I asked Mr. Scorsese, ‘How are you going to approach the story?’” Osage Nation Chief Standing Bear said. “He said I’m going to tell a story about trust, trust between Mollie and Ernest, trust between the outside world and the Osage, and the betrayal of those trusts. My people suffered greatly, and to this very day those effects are with us. But I can say on behalf of the Osage, Marty Scorsese and his team have restored trust, and we know that trust will not be betrayed.”

The film marks the latest collaboration between the Queens-born Scorsese and DiCaprio, whose other titles together include “The Departed,” “Shutter Island” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” It’s also the latest team-up for Scorsese and the Manhattan-born De Niro, whose movies together include “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino” and “The Irishman.”

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is one of numerous high-profile projects at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny” premiered Thursday, while Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” Pixar’s “Elemental” and The Weeknd’s HBO series “The Idol” debut this week.

With News Wire Services