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Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio driving through the rain

You can’t keep a good movie down, especially if it has Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese all on board. The film adaptation of author David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon is ready to get into production in the near future, making the Apple TV+ motion picture a reality. And part of why it’s finally getting into gear is because on top of this year’s series of challenges, DiCaprio himself seems happier with the film's script.

This news came from one of Killers of the Flower Moon’s screenwriters, Hollywood legend Eric Roth, who had spent a good “four to five years” writing the film’s previous draft. However, as previous reports had indicated, Leonardo DiCaprio was supposedly looking to have the film changed into something that allowed him to go a little darker than initially intended. As Roth spoke during an appearance on the ScriptNotes podcast, that process led to the following update:

That’s supposed to start filming in March once the COVID clears out, and it’s Martin Scorsese. They’ll be continuing rewrites with that. 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.

Originally, Leonardo DiCaprio was going to play an agent in the early days of the FBI, who was investigating a plot to murder Osage Native Americans, in order to secure a plot of land that was rich with oil. That sounds roughly about what you’d have expected for a meat and potatoes DiCaprio vehicle, but that’s not exactly what he wanted out of the deal. Half of the arguments later, the Academy Award-winning actor got his wish, and shifted the focus to a different role: the nephew of Robert De Niro’s character, who happens to be Killer of the Flower Moon’s villain.

This shift in tone and scope may have made Leonardo DiCaprio happy, but it led to Killer of the Flower Moon being a shared risk across both Apple TV+ and Paramount’s auspices. Still, with rewrites that presumably don’t have Eric Roth’s involvement lying ahead, it looks like DiCaprio will be getting his wishes in front of the cameras early next year.

The original vision for Eric Roth’s script certainly sounds just like a movie that would be in the iconic actor’s wheelhouse. Images of Shutter Island feel like a prime mood board for what another Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio murder mystery would feel like. However, that might just be part of why Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t want Killers of the Flower Moon to take that particular path, and this more conflicted plot does sound rather intriguing.

We’ll have to wait quite a while to see when Killers of the Flower Moon intends to make itself available to the public. As the theatrical/streaming title is presumed to start production in 2021, who knows what sort of releasing real estate will be available to give the film a clear path. However, if you’re looking for something to see in theaters in the near future, you can check out both the 2020 release schedule and the 2021 rundown of what’s to come at a theater near you.

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