Legendary director Martin Scorsese stood alone on the red carpet at the London premiere of his latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, as his leading men Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons were unable to attend amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Based on the 2017 non-fiction book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon follows the unique true story of the Osage Murders during the 1920s in America’s West and the subsequent birth of the FBI. It’s a raw and troubling representation of the brutality that was commonplace during the time, as America continued its conquest of Indigenous land and its communities.
The movie’s global premiere in Cannes received a staggering 9-minute standing ovation earlier this year – as is the custom at the French film festival – however, during the BFI London Film Festival on Saturday, Martin Scorsese, one of Hollywood’s most celebrated and accomplished filmmakers, was forced to walk the red carpet alone, unsupported by his picture’s leading men and women.
“I’m disappointed that we don’t have the actors,” Scorsese confessed. “It’s a good time for them to be here and to enjoy, even if it’s just a moment of getting a picture taken together, everything they went through, the film took a number of years to make.”
The SAG-AFTRA strikes have threatened to continue amid disputes over fairer wages and the persisting problems around the encroaching AI technology; The Cannes, Toronto and Venice Film Festivals have all been affected by the ongoing strikes, and it’s led to a plethora of titles delaying their initial releases as actors were forbidden from promoting their films.
It’s currently not clear when they are expected to end, although the WGA strikes that began months before the SAG-AFTRA unions joined have now reached a historic agreement, allowing thousands of Hollywood writers to return to the shows that they were forced to abandon.
For Scorsese, however, the strikes were just the last in a long line of disruptions experienced during the making of his latest epic.
“The pandemic took its toll, there’s no doubt,” Scorses continued in London. “It took its toll on time and interruptions. But we finally got it done and it’s been a very special film for me. Especially over the years trying to get it in a shape that is a story I wanted to tell along with Leo, and Lily Gladstone and De Niro and Jesse Plemons and all the Osage with us on this picture.”
Killers of the Flower Moon debuted with a 9.1 IMDb rating and is released on 19 October 2023, in Australia.