Paul Schrader is not happy with the choice of the most recent Martin Scorsese film. The fact that Jesse Plemons and Leonardo DiCaprio ultimately switched roles for Scorsese’s blockbuster about the systematic death of Osage people in 1920s Oklahoma is by now legendary from “Killers of the Flower Moon”, Plemons portrays Thomas Bruce White Sr., an agent of the Bureau of Investigation who appears in the final third of the movie, whereas DiCaprio portrays Ernest Burkhart, Mollie Burkhart’s (Lily Gladstone) spouse and a simple-minded pawn in the killings. Initially penned by Eric Roth as White, DiCaprio sought to portray Ernest, the nephew of Robert De Niro’s character, William King Hale, the main antagonist of the movie.
The always frank director of “First Reformed” and author of “Taxi Driver,” Schrader, stated that he would have chosen the initial cast arrangement in an earlier conversation with Le Monde. Marty likens me to a miniature painter from Flanders. Schrader stated, “Marty compares me to a Flemish miniaturist. He would be more the type who paints Renaissance frescoes” (translation by Variety). “Give him $200 million, a good film will inevitably come out of it. That said, I would have preferred Leonardo DiCaprio to play the role of the cop in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ rather than the role of the idiot. Spending three-and-a-half hours in the company of an idiot is a long time.”
The movie places more emphasis on Ernest and Mollie’s wedding and the misery of the Osage people than it does on the BOI’s probe into Hale’s regime of dread, a role that still has a bigger role in David Grann’s classic factual novel. To focus less on the white adversaries in the movie, Scorsese has publicly discussed altering the script during preliminary production. At Cannes, where the Apple film had its premiere, Scorsese commented, “We touched upon it after having myself and Eric Roth and all of us together trying to get the story expressed from the point of view of the Bureau of Investigation coming in,” Scorsese said at Cannes where the Apple film premiered. “And I said, ‘I think the audience is ahead of us. They know it’s not a whodunnit, it’s who didn’t do it.”
On his Facebook page, Schrader, a close companion of Scorsese’s for many years, is an outspoken critic of the newest flicks. He lauded Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” as “the best, most important film of this century” and criticised Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust tragedy “The Zone of Interest,” calling it “more like a parlour trick than an exploration,” when it comes to 2023’s opinions.