Is Martin Scorsese Making the Last Big Western?

Credit: Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Martin Scorsese is headed out West. 

One of the hardest things about Hollywood is that the tide is always ebbing and flowing depending on what's popular. It feels like only the most famous directors can work in and out of certain genres. And while we see IP ruling the day, we also are seeing the erasure of one of the staples of Hollywood. 

The Western. 

In fact, last month, the screenwriter of the new Scorsese movie, Eric Roth, said that Killers of the Flower Moon might actually be the last Western we get for a long time. Lucky for him, he's been working on the project for years.

“I think this is my fifth year or sixth year on it,” Roth told Collider this month. “And there were some changes that came about that were interesting about what Leonardo was going to play in it. I think in the long run—we all had our moments of trying to figure out how best to portray things because the story is so impactful—and I think we ended up with exactly the right material and that Marty made the right decisions. I just think he’s going to make—and obviously I would say this—but I think [of] all my work, this one could be one of the great movies. I really mean that. I think it has all the ingredients, which I don’t want to jinx it, but the story is so important.”

We are definitely on board for a great movie.

Roth continued, “I know Marty’s trying to make a movie that’s probably the last Western that would be made like this, and yet, with this incredible social document underneath it, and the violence and the environment. I think it’ll be like nothing we’ve ever seen, in a way. And so this one is, to me, one for the ages.”

The last Western? While I think that may be a touch hyperbolic, when I look at what Hollywood is making right now, this is the only Western on the docket. and I don't hear any rumblings of companies chasing others. It helps that this was adapted from a best-selling novel, but it's still hard to see the future of cinema without something that built the popularity of movies over the first century. 

There are lots of things interesting about this movie in addition to the genre. Recently, it was announced that Jesse Plemmons would be joining the cast, taking over a role that was supposed to be for Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio will move into another role in the film, described as a co-lead. 

Eric Roth told Collider, “I wouldn’t say [Plemons is] the lead. I would say that he was the designated hero. But yeah, I think that’s fairer because I think the parts are pretty equal and they were always equal to a certain extent, and Leo’s part is very complicated and very interesting. It’s a smart part for a smart actor to play. I mean, if Montgomery Clift was alive, I think he might think of playing him.”

Looks like I am going to have to pick up the book to read the parts and decide myself. You can put this movie right at the top of the list of my most anticipated. 

Let me know what you think in the comments.     

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1 Comment

I love his work. Goodfellas is (cliche alert) the reason I transitioned from acting to creating. I think that Thelma Schoonmaker may be the finest editor in the business. But I feel like his last several films have been an hour too long. Not saying that I’d want to be the one to have to “trim the fat”, but I think that the work would be more impactful, not less, if he were to embrace brevity.

April 16, 2021 at 5:57PM

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Jed van Dale
Director/cinematographer
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