Leonardo DiCaprio will reunite with Robert De Niro in Killers of the Flower Moon, director Martin Scorsese's followup to The Irishman. De Niro's rumored casting was confirmed by DiCaprio Sunday during the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards, where DiCaprio presented De Niro with the Life Achievement Award for a career spanning nearly 50 years. DiCaprio and De Niro both appeared in the Scorsese-directed 2015 short film The Audition — a comedic take depicting the prolific actors competing for the lead role in Scorsese's next picture — but Killers of the Flower Moon marks the first time Scorsese brings together two of his most frequent collaborators in a feature film.
DiCaprio and De Niro first teamed in 1993's This Boy's Life, among DiCaprio's earliest roles, and DiCaprio would begin his relationship with Scorsese in 2002's late 1800s-set crime-drama Gangs of New York. They would re-team on 2004's Howard Hughes biography The Aviator, 2006's crime-thriller The Departed, 2010's mystery-thriller Shutter Island, and 2013's outrageous The Wolf of Wall Street.
Flower Moon marks the tenth feature collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese, a partnership that blossomed out of 1973's Mean Streets. In the nearly five decades since, Scorsese directed De Niro in Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, and 1995's Casino. De Niro and Scorsese only recently reunited in 2019's The Irishman, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture.
An adaptation of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, Scorsese's next film tells the true story of the Osage Nation murders in the early 1920s. The project is expected to begin principal photography in March.
In December, Scorsese said he envisioned De Niro playing criminal William "King of the Osage Hills" Hale, with DiCaprio playing Ernest Burkhart. Scorsese said he hasn't yet settled on who will play former Texas Ranger Tom White.
"I've been working with Eric Roth on the script for a few years now, and we're – now, actually, yesterday, in this room, and last night – we're knocking away at this script, and restructuring it, rethinking it. Because it's convenient to do a sort of detective story, but we all know what it is," Scorsese told Sight & Sound last month. "So I want to explore something else, and that is the nature of a whole way of thinking as being complicit in genocide. It's dehumanizing people."
He continued, "I was out in Oklahoma about six weeks ago, and ultimately, as the Osage told me, it's about greed. And therefore you could think that these people don't deserve any of it because they're not human anyway. Not really human."
Killers of the Flower Moon will release in 2021. Image credit: Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan