Deadline reported yesterday that Robert De Niro is negotiating to be in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio. People are excited. Scorsese and De Niro are a legendary team. Scorsese and Leo have a thing too. Now he’s working again with two of his muses. As for the story, the film is based on the book of the same name by David Grann:
The book is a murder mystery, set in 1920s Oklahoma, where the Osage Indians were granted revenue rights to oil discovered under their lands that was harvested by oil companies. Suddenly, they began to get murdered as did those trying to investigate. It came down to the newly created Bureau of Investigation, to overcome the corrupting influences from oil money and politics to solve the murder mystery, one that would bring the FBI to prominence.
I was uncomfortable about the fact that this is a story about the killing of Indigenous people and that De Niro will be playing William Hale, a serial killer. Is Leo playing an FBI agent? Will the two of them take over what was a tragedy for an Indigenous community? According to Deadline, Scorsese has been meeting with the Osage Nation to discuss their involvement:
Per the Osage News report, Scorsese and Chief Standing Bear spent 2 1/2 hours together on Friday at the Osage Nation campus. The gist of the meeting was how the Osage Nation could help with the filming.
“We want to make sure your 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,” Standing Bear said. Talks are ongoing with the State Film Office of Oklahoma to shoot in Osage County, the newspaper reported.
That’s a good start to what will optimistically be a collaborative process.
As for the performances we can expect from the two high profile leads – probably the usual, right? And that’s the thing about Leo for me: we know what to expect. He’s currently promoting Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Here he is at the UK premiere last night. See the difference between him and Brad Pitt and the cool factor that I wrote about Brad earlier? If you had no idea who he was, Leo would just be a guy wearing a not-so-great suit, awkwardly. His lack of cool factor is so much more pronounced next to Brad who comes by it so smoothly.
Anyway, many are saying that Leo’s performance in OUATIH is the best of his career. I disagree. I thought Brad’s was the standout acting performance in the film. And, as I have said, he is underrated as an actor. He is one of the most underrated supporting actors in the business. He makes everyone better in a scene. Leo, to me, is doing what Leo’s been doing for years now. It’s all the same energy. When was the last time Leo stretched? Even the directors he works with aren’t all that varied at this point. Has he ever worked with a female director? What do you think Greta Gerwig or Ava DuVernay could do with a Leonardo DiCaprio performance?