Imagine if Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple/Paramount, 10.20) had stuck to the original scheme by focusing on unambiguous, straight-ahead, white-guy FBI fortitude, and if the ads had used an image of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Tom White, the guy who headed up the Osage Murders investigation back in the 1920s…

Imagine if the Flower Moon one-sheet had mimicked the ads for Mervyn Leroy‘s The FBI Story with Dicaprio wearing the hat and firing the pistol instead of James Stewart

Better still, imagine if Scorsese and Apple marketers had decided to (ironically?) re-use Max Steiner‘s main-title music from The FBI Story.

You can laugh if you want, but a “heroic FBI!…hooray for Leo and his team!” approach to this story would, I suspect, connect better with Joe and Jane Popcorn than the melancholy Native American guilt trip that the movie actually is…an approach that has, by the way, no particular point of view. It just catalogues what happened.

I’m imagining this because the original conception of Killers would have starred DiCaprio as Tom White. When Scorcese and screenwriter Eric Roth decided their adaptation of David Grann‘s non-fiction book needed a woke rewrite, Dicaprio decided to play yokel bad guy Ernest Burkhart while Jesse Plemons was tapped to play White.

Posted on 9.12.23: In a 9.12 Time cover story by Stephanie Zacharek, Killers of the Flower Moon director Martin Scorsese has confirmed what costar Lily Gladstone told Variety‘s Zack Sharf nine months ago, which was that Flower Moon, a sprawling crime epic about the FBI’s investigation of the Osage Nation murders in 1920s Oklahoma, was given a woke rewrite — one that de-emphasized the FBI nailing the bad guys and emphasized the perspective of Osage Nation and the pain their community had endured.

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

In a 1.20.23 article, Gladstone explained to Sharf, Variety‘s resident wokester lobbyist and spokesperson, that Scorsese had basically re-thought the 1920s saga, which had begun as a kind of “birth of the modern FBI” story.

Incidentally: Thanks to HE correspondent “Huntley Haverstock” for creating a new Killers of the Flower Moon one-sheet by substituting Leonardo DiCaprio for James Stewart.