Leonardo DiCaprio Explains Why First Killers of the Flower Moon Script Was Axed

DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese felt the first script didn't capture the heart of the movie.

Killers of the Flower Moon remains one of the most-anticipated movies of the rest of the year, as movie fans have been eager to see Martin Scorsese's epic. As a new interview with the film's two stars reveals, Killers of the Flower Moon nearly took a wildly different approach to how it told its story. While speaking to British Vogue alongside co-star Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that the original script of Killers of the Flower Moon was centered around Tom White, an FBI agent ultimately portrayed in the film by Jesse Plemons. Scorsese and DiCaprio ultimately took issue with the film dwelling on the law enforcement's point of view, throwing out the original script, as Scorsese and co-writer Eric Roth turned it into a more balanced version of the story.

"It just didn't feel like it got to the heart of it," DiCaprio revealed. "We weren't immersed in the Osage story. There was this tiny, small scene between Mollie and Ernest that provoked such emotion in us at the reading, and we just started to penetrate into what that relationship was, because it was so twisted and bizarre and unlike anything I've ever experienced before."

Is Killers of the Flower Moon Based on a True Story?

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on David Grann's nonfiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. While Grann's original book was set from White's point of view, the author praised the distinct ways that Scorsese and company decided to adapt it.

"I did visit the set for a few days," Grann said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. "And I was, again, just really impressed by how they managed to bring these historical figures to life and capture the hidden truths about the story. Leo [DiCaprio] just seemed to just be able to capture the nature of Ernest Burkhart, and the level of complicity of his character, and this evil system. And Lily Gladstone brings Mollie to life with such sensitivity and emotional power, at least in the bits I saw."

"What I was struck by from Scorsese to the actors was the level of commitment and how much research they did to understand the parts and understand the history. They just seemed voracious, a little bit like historians, in their search for any knowledge, transcripts, documents, speaking to descendants, speaking with members of the Osage Nation," Grann continued. "The film had Osage-language experts working with the actors to make sure they were able to teach them the language and that they got the language right, technically. I saw a scene where many of the tribal council members of the Osage Nation were speaking, and I think they contributed to a lot of that dialogue themselves. I think anyone who sees that will find it bracing and breathtaking and powerful."

What is Killers of the Flower Moon about?

In Killers of the Flower Moon, members of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking a major FBI investigation directed by a 29-year-old J. Edgar Hoover and former Texas Ranger Tom White, described as "an old-style lawman." 

Also starring in Killers of the Flower Moon are Tantoo Cardinal, Louis Cancelmi, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Tatanka Means, Pat Healy, Scott Shepherd, and Gary Basaraba.

What do you think of Leonardo DiCaprio's new comments about Killers of the Flower Moon? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Killers of the Flower Moon is set to be released on October 20th.