For Martin Scorsese, it was important to spend time with Osage people as he worked on “Killers of the Flower Moon,” his epic crime drama about the murders that took place in the early 1920s after major oil deposits were discovered on the tribe’s land.
“We tried to do right by them as much as we could,” the director said as he was interviewed by his star Leonardo DiCaprio on Thursday afternoon. “We shot in the actual location, even the doctors office.” The two A-listers were on hand at CinemaCon, the annual Las Vegas-based exhibition industry trade show, to talk up their new movie, which debuts in theaters in October after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
But that doesn’t mean Scorsese, a lifelong Manhattanite, seamlessly immersed himself in the great outdoors of Oklahoma and the Osage Nation.
“It wasn’t an easy film to make,” he joked. “I am a New Yorker, and there were prairies out there. Wild horses. Coyotes…”
In the 30-minute conversation, DiCaprio asked Scorsese about his early influences (“Citizen Kane” was major) and his preference toward watching movies on the big screen (“at home, you can walk around”). He also revealed that he kept writing and rewriting the script for “Killers of the Flower Moon” until the last day of shooting.
Each of Scorsese’s answers were lengthier than the next, so DiCaprio only asked the filmmaker about four questions in the half-hour chat. “We’re running out of time,” DiCaprio said after Scorsese apologized for his wordy responses.
Prior to Thursday’s lunchtime chat, he brought the first-ever look at “Killers of the Flower Moon” to CinemaCon. The movie, which also looks at how the newly-formed FBI investigated the killings, reunites Scorsese with DeNiro and Robert De Niro, as well as Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow and Lily Gladstone.
“This is a big screen movie, and that’s what we made,” Scorsese told the crowd during Paramount’s presentation. He promised a story told on an “epic scale.”
Later in the day, as he accepted the convention’s first ever Legend of Cinema Award, he expressed his gratitude for blockbusters that can be told on the grandest scale, like “Killers.” But he also urged the room of studio executives, movie theater owners and other entertainment industry insiders, to invest in small stories as well.
“I would love for truly independent films to find their way back into the multiplexes,” he said.
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