Leonardo DiCaprio convinced Martin Scorsese to change the script for Killers of the Flower Moon two years after it was written.
The Taxi Driver director has teamed up with Eric Roth to write the film, based on David Grann’s 2017 book of the same name, which focuses on the FBI’s investigation into the murders of Osage Native Americans in Oklahoma throughout the 1920s. He was originally slated to play lead investigator Tom White.
However, Scorsese ended up completely reworking the script and changing the story’s focus to the character of Ernest Burkhart and his marriage to an Osage woman named Molly.
After a script change, Scorsese recast DiCaprio as Ernest and Jesse Plemons took on the role of Tom White, who became a supporting character.
And it was DiCaprio who believed that this story should be told from the point of view of Osage society, and not from the point of view of the bureau agents leading the investigation.
In an interview with The Irish Times, the director said: “Leo came to me and asked: ‘Where is the essence of the story?’ I had meetings and dinners with the Osages, and I thought, “Well, that’s the story. We felt that the real story was not necessarily coming from outside, through the bureau, but rather from within, from Oklahoma.”
With a change of perspective, the legendary director met with 300 members of the Oklahoma Gray Horse community.
He said, “I’ve always said that if I ever do anything to do with Indigenous people, I better know who these people are, or at least be comfortable with them as people.”
Scorsese had his own misgivings about making an “all white guy” movie.
He told Time magazine: “After a certain point, I realized I was making a movie about all white guys. This means I’m taking an outside approach, which worries me.”