With the Barbie vs. Oppenheimer discourse still sucking up most of the movie coverage oxygen, it’s easy to forget that awards season is just around the corner. Summer blockbuster season (which has been characterized thus far by underperforming tentpoles like The Flash and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) is always a lead-in to fall prestige season, when the studios release most of their potential award winners in the span of just a few months at the end of the year .
October 20th brings us awards season’s arguable flagship, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which just dropped its second trailer. Aside from being an adaptation of a best-selling book by David Grann, it’s from one of our most celebrated living filmmakers and stars two of his most frequent collaborators–Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio–who haven’t worked together since This Boy’s Life (1993) and Marvin’s Room (1996).
Eric Roth and Scorsese’s adaptation of Grann’s best seller about a series of murders within the newly oil-rich Osage nation (“who became some of the richest people in the world overnight” in 1920s Oklahoma, according to the official synopsis) was originally set to star DiCaprio as FBI agent Tom White, who comes to town to investigate the murders. Early in production, however, Scorsese and DiCaprio reportedly decided that they wanted to avoid making a “white-savior western” and so they switched focus, with DiCaprio playing a suspect, Ernest Burkhardt, and Jesse Plemmons coming onto play the FBI agent, White.
Native American actress Lily Gladstone, who grew up on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, plays Burkhardt’s wife Mollie, and is already generating awards buzz for her performance following the film’s Cannes debut in May.
De Niro, meanwhile, plays Burkhardt’s uncle, William Hale, a wealthy rancher and corrupt local power broker who eventually enlists his nephew in his scheme to bleed the Osage of their newfound wealth. “The biggest challenge became pulling off the trick of not making this a mystery [like the book], but exposing Ernest early on for who he is and then watching this very twisted relationship unravel,” DiCaprio told Deadline. “Not only with Mollie, but also with De Niro’s character as well. That wasn’t easy and it took years to figure
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‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Dials Up the Violence and Explosions in its Second Trailer