It’s like the movie Killers of the Flower Moon that we’re watching in theaters now. It’s very different from the first version that director Martin Scorsese wanted to release in theaters. Initially, Scorsese and co-writer Eric Roth planned to adapt David Grann’s book of the same name as faithfully as possible. Through the lens of an FBI agent investigating a series of murders committed against the Osage during the 1920s.
Previously, Scorsese told the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound magazine that the first version of the script took four hours to read. Because it’s over 200 pages long, he also told The New Yorker about the first version of the screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon:
“One night we had an important script reading meeting. It consisted of me, Leo, Eric, and my daughter. It’s considered to be a lot of people. For the first two hours we still got along well. After two hours everyone felt like they were too old to do something like this.
For Scorsese, attempts to write the first version of the screenplay failed. Because it is linked to the Central Bureau of Investigation officials’ murder investigation guidelines. This is something that will make the audience see the answer very clearly
“These guys are from Worthington. And when they get off the train and when they get into town you look like De Niro, and then you know who did it.” The audience was well ahead of us, and I said, “Looks like we’re going to spend two and a half hours looking at how these people are investigating.” This is how the police work. Which, according to the textbook, would still work. But for me these types of police guidelines I can see. But maybe I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to write a story. I don’t even know where to start.’ I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ So we’ll keep trying new things.
Scorsese also revealed to the Irish Times that in the first version of the script for Killers of the Flower Moon, Leonardo DiCaprio will play Chief of Staff Tom Wyatt. He is an American actor. Who came to ask him to change the narrative perspective of the film after being stuck in the scriptwriting process for more than two years.
“Eric Roth and I talked about telling the story from the perspective of the government officials investigating the matter. After two years of writing the script, Leo came to me and asked: “Where is the heart of the matter?” I had a dinner date with the Osage people. Then I thought, “Okay, here’s the story.” It was a true story that we all felt. It does not have to come from outside the government. But it has to come from within. More from Oklahoma.
Scorsese and Roth then completely overhauled the script. This now makes the film centered within the Osage community. And it’s not coming from a white guy coming from outside, and DiCaprio will play Ernest Burckhardt, a World War I veteran. Embroiled in a greedy uncle who tried to take the wealth of the Osage people as their own, his original role as Tom White was replaced by another actor, Jesse Plemons.
“Rewrite is the wrong word. We enjoy it because we’re always discovering new things, or because someone will tell us something, or Marian Power will find something good. It is the link between us. And you and all of them and it works with many sectors. With several Osage technical advisors and then something interesting came along to replace a lot of the old stuff.
Killers of the Flower Moon is in theaters today.
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