“It was made for everybody, not Osage”: Martin Scorsese Faces Major Criticism Despite Rewriting ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Script to Avoid White Savior Trope

The director reportedly changed the central narrative of the script to make it more representative of the tribe.

Martin Scorsese Faces Major Criticism Despite Rewriting ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Script to Avoid White Savior Trope


  • Martin Scorsese’s new crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the life of members of the Osage tribe.
  • The film deviated from its original idea of making it an investigative thriller and centered the plot around the tribe instead.
  • However, the film received criticism from an Osage language consultant, who said that the film is not about the tribe.
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Director Martin Scorsese will soon see the release of his twenty-seventh film Killers of the Flower Moon. The crime drama stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone and will explore the true events behind the serial killings of the members of the Osage tribe.


Based on the non-fiction book by David Grann, Scorsese has claimed that the film would try to deviate from the ‘white savior’ trope employed in the book and tell the story more from the perspective of the Osages. However, one of the Osage consultants on the film has raised concerns about the film’s intention after its Los Angeles premiere.

Also read:“Be prepared… they’re going to hate it”: Martin Scorsese Had an Eerie Warning For Scarface Actor After Seeing People Walk Out in Disgust


What Is Killers of the Flower Moon About?

A still from Killers of the Flower Moon
A still from Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese’s crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the ‘Reign of Terror’, a period in the 1900s when many Osage nation tribespeople were mysteriously killed. The tribe was situated in Oklahoma, on land that was oil-rich and had many affluent Osage Indians who had made a fortune from the oil money.

The film follows the FBI investigation of the series of murders, led by agent Tom White, who is played by Jesse Plemons. The character was initially supposed to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, when the script was still in its nascent stages and when it was exploring the birth of the FBI. However, this direction was soon changed by Scorsese.

Also read:Mark Wahlberg is not even an actor- $400 Million Rich Hollywood Star Took a Vile Blow Over Martin Scorsese’s Movie

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

Scorsese mentioned that he and screenwriter Eric Roth had first written a usual story of murder and investigation from an outsider’s perspective. But the duo reportedly felt that they were making it all about the white guys and hence overhauled the entire direction of the script. The director said to Time magazine,

“After a certain point, I realized I was making a movie about all the white guys. Meaning I was taking the approach from the outside in, which concerned me.”

The central characters in the film are Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart, Robert De Niro’s William Hale, and Lily Gladstone’s Mollie Burkhart. Mollie is an Osage Indian who marries a white man, Ernest, a World War I veteran and Hale’s nephew. Relatives of Mollie’s are murdered during the ‘Reign of Terror’. Scorsese and Eric Roth reportedly changed the central theme of the script to reflect the relationship between the Burkharts.

Also read:“I very much like the style”: Martin Scorsese Claims ‘Newcomer’ Ari Aster Inspired One Aspect of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ That Might Upset a Few Fans


Criticism Faced By Martin Scorsese After The Film’s Premiere

BTS from Killers of the Flower Moon
BTS from Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon will be released on October 20 across the world and the film had its Los Angeles premiere earlier this week. While the film has been raking in praise ever since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the recent premiere has reportedly drawn criticism from a member of the Osage tribe.

Christopher Cote, a language consultant on the film recently raised concerns about the film’s narrative and how it is not from the Osage perspective. Cote reportedly had issues with making the plot center around Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart’s apparent love for Mollie Burkhart. 

Cote, who was a consultant on the film mentioned that after watching the film he had strong opinions on it and mentioned to The Hollywood Reporter,


“I think in the end, the question that you can be left with is: How long will you be complacent with racism? How long will you go along with something and not say something, not speak up, how long will you be complacent? I think that’s because this film isn’t made for an Osage audience, it was made for everybody, not Osage.”

Cote also went on to appreciate Martin Scorsese for doing a great job at representing the Osage nation.

Also read:Martin Scorsese Has a Very Professional Reason for Abandoning WB: “I can’t work here anymore”


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 985

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.