The Love Story at the Heart of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s upcoming epic, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ has been making waves with its intriguing trailers. The latest trailer, released by Apple TV, sheds light on the complex love story at the core of this Osage Nation crime drama. The movie, based on David Grann’s renowned nonfiction book, features Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart and Lily Gladstone as Mollie Kyle, two characters whose performances are being touted as potential Oscar winners.
‘Killers of the Flower Moon‘ transports viewers to Osage County, Oklahoma, during the tumultuous 1920s. It delves into a harrowing series of killings that targeted members of the Osage community due to their valuable oil-rich land. Alongside DiCaprio and Gladstone, the star-studded cast includes Robert De Niro as William Hale, Jesse Plemons as an FBI precursor agent investigating the murders, and Tantoo Cardinal as Mollie’s mother.
An Unconventional Love Story in Troubled Times
The heart of this gripping narrative lies in the unconventional love story between Ernest and Mollie. In a touching moment, Mollie playfully calls Ernest a “coyote” in the Osage language, to which he responds with a charming, “I don’t know what you said, but it must’ve been Indian for ‘handsome devil.'” This spontaneous exchange, fully improvised by Leonardo DiCaprio, captures the essence of their early courtship.
However, as the story unfolds and members of the Osage community meet suspicious deaths, the strain on their marriage becomes palpable. In a poignant scene, a bedridden Mollie implores Ernest to seek vengeance on the men who murdered her family, questioning whether he still loves her. This second trailer intensifies the tension and violence that underlie this grim narrative, showcasing shootings, fights, and even an explosion that rocks the room where Mollie and Ernest lie.
Leonardo DiCaprio, speaking about the central relationship in the film, said, “I think there are different ways to look at their relationship, but ultimately there was a love story there between these two and that’s what we wanted to focus on.” He emphasized the twisted, convoluted, and complex nature of their love, marveling at their enduring commitment amidst adversity.
Behind the Scenes: How the Film’s Focus Evolved During the Pandemic
In a September 11th interview with Interview Magazine, Lily Gladstone discussed the film’s evolution during the pandemic. She revealed that the original story had placed greater emphasis on the FBI, relegating Mollie and Ernest to supporting roles. However, this changed significantly as the pandemic unfolded.
Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Gladstone collaborated extensively during this period. A pivotal two-hour Zoom discussion marked the project’s turning point, allowing the actors to build chemistry and explore their characters’ depth. Subsequently, DiCaprio and Gladstone dined together and spent time with Maggie Burkhart, the real-life granddaughter of their characters, to further immerse themselves in the roles.
Killers of the Flower Moon
The Pandemic-Induced Shift in Focus
The pandemic-induced rewrite of the film’s focus shifted the narrative’s core to the love story between Mollie and Ernest. This change added layers of complexity and authenticity to their characters. It transformed a straightforward FBI-centric story into a nuanced exploration of love and loyalty amidst harrowing circumstances.
The pandemic, while posing challenges for the film industry, provided an opportunity for ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to refine its storytelling. The shift in focus reflects the resilience and adaptability of the filmmaking process in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
Authenticity and Dedication: Bringing Osage Culture to Life
In a June conversation with Osage News, the film’s three stars—DiCaprio, Gladstone, and De Niro—discussed the significance of bringing the “Reign of Terror” events to the big screen. They also highlighted the importance of learning about Osage culture and the intricate dynamics between their characters, particularly the relationship between Mollie and Ernest.
DiCaprio expressed his fascination with the enduring love between Mollie and Ernest. He acknowledged the need to portray their relationship authentically and emphasized the dedication of the entire team to staying true to the story. The film’s success, according to him, hinged on capturing the convoluted yet compelling love story at its core.
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is set to premiere in theaters in the United States on October 20, with a limited IMAX release. Following its theatrical run, the film will be available for streaming on Apple TV+. As anticipation builds, it’s clear that this gripping crime drama, with its focus on an unconventional love story, promises to be a cinematic experience like no other. Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone’s powerful performances brought to life through pandemic-induced rewrites, are poised to captivate audiences and potentially earn them coveted Oscar nominations.