Killers of the Flower Moon has been a book adaptation that Scorsese has been wanting to tackle for some time. Now, The Irishman director is bringing it to the big screen.
Killers of the Flower Moon, a film adaptation of David Grann's non-fiction book that Scorsese has been attached to since at least 2017, is set to go in front of cameras early next year. The film, which will reteam stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro for the first time since 1993's This Boy's Life, is scheduled to start shooting March 2020, according to an interview Irishman and Flower Moon cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto gave to Collider.
Prieto was in Bartlesville, Oklahoma -- where director Terrence Malick shot his recent film, To the Wonder -- doing some early camera tests and location scouts when he revealed the news. While schedules can change, Scorsese's new thriller is gearing up for that start date and it could be the director's most commercial project since Shutter Island.
Collider asked Prieto on the status of the film's tone and visual aesthetic. And while it is still early days, the DP revealed:
I asked Prieto if he and Scorsese had hit upon an aesthetic theme or tone for the new project, but he said it’s still early days:
“Right now, I’m in the process of researching different ways of shooting it so we still have to actually meet, and I’ll show him images, propose ideas. He’ll probably have his thoughts, too, but we still haven’t figured [out the tone of the film]. So, on the way.”
Why This Movie Is a Big Deal
Killers of the Flower Moon has box office hit and Oscar contender written all over it -- before one frame is shot.
The book (adapted by Forrest Gump screenwriter Eric Roth) centers on a very movie adaptation-friendly, true crime event: In the early 1920s, a series of mysterious murders plague the Osage Indians of Oklahoma. The case -- which intersects with oil, money, power, and corruption -- was the first case the FBI ever took on and it helped forge the Bureau into the federal agency it is today.
Paramount Pictures came aboard to finance and distribute Killers of the Flower Moon in June 2019 -- which is fitting, since Paramount could have another Chinatown on their hands, with this story set in and around Native American country.
Scorsese rarely gets to flex his more "commercial" muscles, and when he does, the end results are some of his most dynamic films (think Cafe Fear and The Departed). The true crime subject matter is also a plus, with the period setting allowing the director to reach back in time to dramatize a timely mystery in an age when gumshoes and detectives with oily pistols and untested investigation methods were all that stood between justice and crime.
The Oscar-caliber talent assembled here -- Roth, Leo, De Niro, Marty, and Prieto -- also put this movie high on the "must-see" list. Expect this film to find its way to several awards nominations when its released in 2021 or 2022.