Over almost 20 years, and through the course of five feature films, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese have built a partnership that audiences have come to trust. The duo last worked together on the big screen in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and their re-teaming on the true crime story Killers of the Flower Moon is hotly anticipated. Though the film has just recently entered production, we already have our first look at Killers of the Flower Moon, and it looks like something new and exciting for the storied collaborators.
The Apple TV+ original film, based on David Grann’s non-fiction bestseller, tells the story of the early days of the FBI, through an investigation into a series of serial murders among the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma. In our first look at Killers of the Flower Moon, we see Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart, sitting with his wife, Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone), in an early moment in their relationship. But as you take a look at that image yourself, the tension of this true life crime story is already mounting.
Judging by Leonardo DiCaprio's look as Ernest Burkhart, there’s a very different energy about him at play. His Killers of the Flower Moon character seems tired and run down instead of a spiffy hero type or even having an outwardly villainous presence. Looking more he did in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, there’s a conflicted nature that seems to play out in his appearance; which, considering Ernest’s role in the horrific acts this story depicts, makes absolute sense.
Originally Leonardo DiCaprio was drafted to play the role of FBI agent Tom White, but the producer/star of Killers of the Flower Moon decided to switch things up with his participation. White is now being played by The Irishman’s Jesse Plemons, with DiCaprio stepping into Ernest Burkhart’s more supporting role. The switch was part of the huge deal that made the Martin Scorsese project what it is today, as Leonardo DiCaprio was also critical of screenwriter Eric Roth’s work on the project.
In the four years since Killers of the Flower Moon was first announced as in development, there have been changes that have affected the project’s fortunes, but never derailed them entirely. With Paramount opting to sell the project to Apple TV+, the once-theatrically planned film is now going to be a streaming offering. Much like The Irishman before it, the high costs of producing this Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio reunion have driven a streaming heavy hitter to take up the torch, and it looks like that money has been well spent yet again.
At the moment, there’s no set release date for Killers of the Flower Moon to debut on Apple TV+. Depending on the production period, we might see this film debut at the end of 2021 at the earliest. But failing an end of 2021 prestige push, you can bet that 2022 will see Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s reunion debut in a very similar slot. So for the time being, we’re going to guess that you won’t see this title on the 2021 movie release schedule any time soon. But if anything changes, we’ll break that update as it happens.