Veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese has described his next directorial "Killers of the Flower Moon", featuring his favourite leading men Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, as the first "western" of his career.
The film, based on David Grann's historical book of the same name, is set in 1920s Oklahoma and centres around the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were murdered one by one after the group became rich off the oil found underneath their land.
The "Irishman" director shared the details of the much-awaited project during his interview with French outlet Premiere.
"We think it's a Western. It happened in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. There are certainly cowboys, but they have cars and also horses. The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered oil there and, for about ten years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita.
"Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian," Scorsese said.
The 77-year-old filmmaker said besides DiCaprio and De Niro, the film will predominantly have Native American actors featuring in it.
"Leonardo DiCaprio will play the main role, Bob (De Niro) will return to play William Hale, the "king of the Osage hills", the man responsible for most of the murders. For the rest, they will be Native American actors," he said.
Scorsese said he is more interested in exploring the mentality that leads people into committing a genocide.
"The history of civilization goes back to Mesopotamia. The Hittites are invaded by another people, they disappear and later, it is said that they have been assimilated, or rather, absorbed...
"It is fascinating to see this mentality which is reproduced in other cultures, through two world wars. And which is therefore timeless, I think. Finally, this is the film that we are going to try to make," the director added.