“It’s kind of a gangster movie”: Martin Scorsese Claims Leonardo DiCaprio’s Demand Changed ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to a Wildly Different Movie That Sent Director Back to His Roots

Martin Scorsese had to make substantial changes to his newest project because of Leonardo DiCaprio

Martin Scorsese Claims Leonardo DiCaprio’s Demand Changed ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to a Wildly Different Movie That Sent Director Back to His Roots


  • Martin Scorsese was forced to make major changes because of Leonardo DiCaprio
  • He partners again with Leonardo DiCaprio for their upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon
  • The actor very early on in the production of the project, told the filmmaker that he did not want to play the role originally offered to him
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Martin Scorsese’s films are some of the most critically acclaimed of all time. He has been the mastermind behind some massively successful projects like Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, Shutter Island, and The Departed. Through projects like this, he has established himself as one of the most respected and talented filmmakers of all time. This is a skill he has been awarded for time and time again, including being nominated for an Academy Award 13 times throughout his career.

Martin Scorsese is directing Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese

On top of this, the filmmaker is also known for specializing in a subgenre of films. In the early stages of his career, Scorsese made a reputation for himself for making films surrounding the worlds of organized crime, with the majority of his films having some or the other gangster elements. Though this faded as the filmmaker went on with his career, it would seem that in his recent projects, Killers of the Flower Moon, he is going back to his roots, with the film following gangster themes.

Also Read:“We’re all just going to be dead bodies”: Real Reason The Osage Were Scared of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’


Martin Scorsese Changed His Entire Film Because Of Leonardo DiCaprio

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have worked together six times throughout their careers. With this, it was no surprise that the filmmaker approached the actor again when making his new film, Killers of the Flower Moon. When approaching the Oscar-winning actor for this role, Scorsese had a vision in mind. The film would be based on a book of the same name, following true events of Osage County, Oklahoma, in the 1920s, when the members of the Osage Native American tribe started to get murdered by a group of white men, led by William “King” Hale after it was discovered that there was oil in their land.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro
Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

The filmmaker was looking at DiCaprio to play to role of FBI investigator Tom White, who was responsible for solving a number of these murders, as well as, putting Hale in prison. While it could easily be said that the actor would have been amazing for this role and would have fit Scorsese’s vision perfectly, this was not what DiCaprio wanted. The actor, who, very early on in the production of the project, told the filmmaker that he did not want to play the role of White.

Instead, he wanted to play the role of Ernest Burkhart, Hale’s nephew who was responsible for a number of the murders and executed them on the behalf of his uncle. This completely changed the trajectory of the film, focusing more on Hale, played by Robert DeNiro, and how he directed his nephew to do the awful things that he did.


Also Read:“You don’t need that dialogue”: Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert de Niro’s Major Disagreement During ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Explains Feud With Clint Eastwood

This Forced Martin Scorsese To Go Back To His Roots

Martin Scorsese gave an interview with IndieWire, where he spoke in great detail about everything that pertains to the film, including behind-the-scenes information, his intentions, and visions with this film. In this, he was asked if, the plot of this would follow a theme similar to those of some of his most successful projects, that is a gangster theme or a western theme. The filmmaker revealed that this was only true to a certain level, adding that there isn’t much difference between gangsters and what happens in this film, however, there is one clear distinction.

Lily Gladstone
Lily Gladstone with Martin Scorsese

No, not really. That’s what I’m saying. It’s kind of a gangster movie. Yeah, there is not much difference between what [Bill Hale and his cronies] do and what the crime families did in Chicago, and then New York at the turn of the century 1900 to 1950, where I grew up around them. It’s just that it may have been not as wide-ranging. With organized crime, you have an overall structure of evil. Here, it’s specific, in certain areas, locations. 

He elaborated on this, stating that with organized crime, the entire system that it follows lies in the morally black, being an overall ‘structure of evil’. The same cannot be said about the plot of the film, as there are specific regions that are the evil is being done, not in an organized way.


Also Read: “That’s how I think I got the role”: Wesley Snipes Copied Robert de Niro to Impress Martin Scorsese That Led to Becoming Michael Jackson’s Bodyguard in ‘Bad’


Written by Ananya Godboley

Articles Published: 1036

A poet and art enthusiast, Ananya Godboley is a striving academic who is pursuing a career in Criminal Psychology, currently doing an undergrad degree in Psychology. Passionate about History, Philosophy and Literature, she loves to learn about new and interesting subjects. A writer for FandomWire with over 1000 published articles, she adores all things superhero and Taylor Swift.