Martin Scorsese overhauled his script for Killers of the Flower Moon after realising it focused on the wrong characters.
The upcoming movie is an adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, which is about the systematic murder of members of the Osage Nation tribe in early 1920s Oklahoma.
Grann’s book focuses on the birth of the FBI and its head investigator Tom White, who was originally going to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio. However, Scorsese and DiCaprio realised the heart of the movie was actually the love story between Ernest Burkhart and his Osage wife Mollie, played by Lily Gladstone, so that became the film’s core and DiCaprio took on the role of Ernest instead.
“After a certain point, I realized I was making a movie about all the white guys,” Scorsese explained in a cover interview for Time magazine. “Meaning I was taking the approach from the outside in, which concerned me.”
After shifting the perspective of the script, Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth, cast Jesse Plemons as Tom, who became a supporting character.
In a recent conversation for Interview magazine, Gladstone revealed that the movie “did a 180” after the rewrites.
“I’d heard that the rewrites completely did a 180. Leo was supposed to be playing Tom White, Jesse Plemons’s character,” she said. “And so, the focus would’ve been the FBI, with Mollie and Ernest being part of the supporting storyline, instead of the central one.”
She previously told Vulture that the rewrites meant the film “is not a white-savior story. It’s the Osage saying, ‘Do something. Here’s money. Come help us.'”
Killers of the Flower Moon will be released on 20 October.
– Cover Media