Lily Gladstone Says ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Is ‘Not a White-Savior Story’

Lily Gladstone is grateful for the “great rewrite” of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Originally centered around FBI agent Tom White with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to the role, the film pivoted amid the pandemic. The script, written by Eric Roth who adapted the film from David Grann’s non-fiction book, instead pivoted to focus on the Osage community and the murders that plagued the Oklahoma reservation at the turn of the century. DiCaprio instead took the role of Ernest, the husband of Lily Gladstone’s Mollie; Jesse Plemons was cast as White.

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“It’s not a white-savior story,” Gladstone told Vulture of what “Killers of the Flower Moon” eventually became. “It’s the Osage saying, ‘Do something. Here’s money. Come help us.'”

Gladstone added that “you don’t say no to that offer” to star in a Scorsese film, but “there’s that double-edged sword” when it comes to telling stories of Indigenous people.

“You want to have more Natives writing Native stories; you also want the masters to pay attention to what’s going on,” Gladstone said. “American history is not history without Native history.”

The Indigenous community in Gray Horse, Oklahoma invited auteur Scorsese to a dinner in 2019, which Gladstone told Vulture was a sign the Osage would be intrinsic to the production process.

“It was clear that I wasn’t just going to be given space to collaborate,” she said. “I was expected to bring a lot to the table.”

Gladstone continued, “That’s what being equitable is — not just opening the door. It’s pulling a seat out next to you at the table.”

The “Unknown Country” actress, who is of Blackfeet/Niimíipuu descent, previously addressed how “Killers of the Flower Moon” is not a Western.

“A lot of people are really wanting to call this ‘Martin Scorsese’s Western,'” Gladstone told Empire magazine earlier this year. “With Natives and Westerns, we are so dehumanized that it just kind of feels like we’re part of the landscape – instead of humans that are telling a story.”

She added that the film is instead “a great American tragedy.” For all the details on “Killers of the Flower Moon,” click here.

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