We’ve finally been given our first proper look at Martin Scorsese’s The Killers Of The Flower Moon, but it’s the sort of image that leaves you feeling wrongfooted from the get-go.
Indeed, as actor Lily Gladstone noted when she shared the image via her Instagram feed: “Wish I had words, but this photo holds thousands.”
Why? Well, because Gladstone’s Mollie is gazing at the man (her husband, or soon-to-be husband) sitting beside her with naked adoration. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest, however, is gazing up to the ceiling, his expression unreadable yet deeply troubling.
At a glance, this is a man who seems discomfited, pained, and almost regretful – as if he is willing himself to venture down a dark path. And, as anyone who knows the true story upon which The Killers Of The Flower Moon is based will no doubt attest, this is a wholly accurate read of the scene.
What were the Osage murders?
The Killers Of The Flower Moon is Apple Studios’ adaptation of journalist David Grann’s non-fiction book of the same name, which means it is set to explore a string of brutal murders that came to be known as the “Reign of Terror.”
An almost forgotten chapter in American history, the victims in this story are the Native American people of the Osage tribe, who – after being forced from their homelands and almost exterminated – signed a treaty with the US government in 1865 that allowed them to purchase patches of inhospitable land in northeast Oklahoma.
In 1894, though, crude oil was discovered under the land, and the Osage became incredibly wealthy almost overnight. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under violent or mysterious circumstances.
Why was Mollie Kyle’s marriage doomed?
As the death toll climbed higher and higher, the FBI joined forces with a former Texas Ranger, Tom White, to unravel the mystery. And together, they exposed one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history; a crime ring led by rancher William Hale (Robert De Niro) had set upon murdering the Osage in order to obtain their wealth.
The plot was far darker than even that, though. Due to the aforementioned treaty, it was only by marrying into the tribe that the rights could be legally claimed by outsiders – so Hale had his nephew, Ernest, marry Mollie Kyle, a full-blooded Osage.
As detailed by Grann in his book, Hale then arranged for the murders of Mollie’s sisters, her brother-in-law, her mother, and her cousin, Henry Roan – and Mollie inherited all of their wealth as a result.
When investigators eventually caught on to the cold-blooded plot, they discovered that Mollie was already being poisoned. Thankfully, she recovered and, after the trial, divorced her murderous husband. Her children inherited all of her estate when she died of unrelated causes in 1937.
What do we know about Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation?
As mentioned already, Scorsese has joined forces with Apple Original Films to adapt Grann’s book for the silver screen, and he has met with Osage Nation’s Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear to ensure the project is handled sensitively, too.
“When I read David Grann’s book, I immediately started seeing it – the people, the settings, the action – and I knew that I had to make it into a movie,” said Scorsese of the project.
“I’m so excited to be working with Eric Roth and reuniting with Leo DiCaprio to bring this truly unsettling American story to the screen.”
Standing Bear added: “We want to make sure [Scorsese’s] people have everything they need, in terms of Osage artisans, Osage language … those people are still here in the community and would love to help.
“We are very thankful you are here and that you are willing to tell this story.”
Who stars in The Killers Of The Flower Moon?
Joining DiCaprio, De Niro, and Gladstone are Jesse Plemons, William Belleau, Louis Cancelmi, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson, as well as indigenous actors Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, Jillian Dion, and JaNae Collins.
It is also worth noting that, as reported by Vanity Fair, the talented Gladstone is of “First Nation heritage” and “lived until she was 11 on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.”
“I consider it a true gift and great responsibility to be trusted with Mollie Burkhart, and will hold her preciously with both arms, close to my heart,” said Gladstone, when her role in the film was made public.
“My most profound thanks to Osage Nation, it is a remarkable gift to be welcomed by you, and to be able to tell this story.
Is there a trailer for The Killers Of The Flower Moon?
Currently, there is no trailer for The Killers Of The Flower Moon. We will be sure to update you as soon as that changes.
When will The Killers Of The Flower Moon be released?
The Apple Studios film is currently shooting and a release date has not yet been announced.
Main image: Apple Studios
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.