Further development of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon comes with the addition of actor Jesse Plemons to its all-star cast. Plemons will play the leading role of Tom White, an FBI agent investigating the Osage Nation murders in the dark, 1920’s Western. He joins a cast including Scorsese collaborators, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, and rising talent Lily Gladstone.
It was also reported by The Hollywood Reporter in May 2020 that DiCaprio was initially cast as FBI’s Tom White. After some rewrites at the behest of the actor himself and Scorsese, he now is set to play the supporting role of Ernest Burkhart, nephew to De Niro’s influential rancher, William Hale. The writer of the adapted screenplay, Eric Roth has been quoted in a November 2020 podcast saying, “They’ll be continuing rewrites…Leonardo [DiCaprio] wanted some things changed that we argued about. He won half of [the arguments]. I won half of them. So that’s happening.”
There is much more to the drama surrounding the project’s recasting and rewrites, including the recruitment of Apple Studios on a deal with Paramount to cover Killers of the Flower Moon’s rising budget, which is estimated to be around $200 million. Production has been delayed to May of 2021 due to re-negotiations. This comes after a previous rescheduling to March of this year, as a result of covid-19 safety protocol.
THR also surmised that Paramount, a studio Scorsese has a historic relationship with, stepped back from Killers because, without DiCaprio as the leading good-guy, the film becomes less commercial. This seems merely theoretical due to Jesse Plemons’ already impressive resumé, previously working with Scorsese (and De Niro) on the Oscar-nominated film The Irishman (2019). The actor can be seen in the new film Judas and the Black Messiah as FBI agent Roy Mitchell, which came out this month and has already received stellar reviews, prestigious nominations and overall applause for its retelling of underrepresented history. There is no question that Plemons is a name gaining well-deserved notoriety in both film and television. He has also received two Emmy nominations for his episode of Black Mirror (2018) and his supporting role in limited-series Fargo (2014).
Killers is setting up to be another one of Scorsese’s artful blockbusters with an impressive cast, extraordinary budget and captivating story, based on David Grann’s book of the same title. Filming will last well into the summer months of 2021 with no speculations of a release-date, so far. Theatrical release is expected to be handled by Paramount with Apple likely obtaining the rights to stream.