As his delightful reunion with Fran Lebowitz, Pretend It’s a City, arrives on Netflix, it’s afforded the opportunity for Martin Scorsese to step into the spotlight a bit more, interview-wise, which means we have a significant update on his next narrative feature. Right before the coronavirus hit America, Scorsese and crew were planning to kick off their $200 million production Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma. Led by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, the adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, scripted by Eric Roth, was of course halted.
Last summer we got the update that an early February shoot was now planned, but with coronavirus levels rising across the country in recent months, not to mention every studio rethinking their output, we’ve wondered if that date would stick. It looks like it has, plus we have a few more details. An update from Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reveals a casting call for the Apple production via a Google form, which discloses a seven-month shoot from February to September 2021 is being planned under the working title Gray Horse, a reference to the real-life community depicted in Grann’s book. They also reveal that Apple has rented out 55,000 square feet of a building in Osage County for production.
“This Covid, this pandemic, has stopped a creative process. I turned in on myself,” Scorsese told Empire before the holidays. “Particularly the first couple of months, when we were locked in our houses, it eliminated a lot of distraction. I have to find a way to get back to a singular creative impulse for my new film the way I had for Irishman. Cut away all the award ceremonies, all that stuff, and get back to being in a room alone with a project and wondering if I can do something again.”
Now, it looks like some of that spark is back as he tells LA Times, “We’re still working on the film. I did costumes last night. We’re working on casting, all done by Zoom and FaceTime. I miss people. Normally, Fran is with us and a number of other people on New Year’s Eve. We used to screen a film and have Champagne right afterwards and watch the ball drop. This year, it was just myself and my wife, Helen. And we watched an empty Times Square. And the next day, our daughter was able to come over. That’s it.”
He even compares his pandemic experience to one of his films, saying, “The isolation for the work has been very good. Lonely. A little maddening at times. I have a room here, it’s soundproof, but I’ve been sort of locked in it for months. It’s like in the film I made, The Aviator, where Howard Hughes lives in the screening room.”
Killers of the Flower Moon will likely arrive in 2022.