Trailer Released for New Martin Scorsese Film Starring Blackfeet Nation’s Lily Gladstone

“Killers of the Flower Moon” will have its world premiere this Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie is scheduled for a limited theatrical release beginning on Oct. 6, before a wide release on Oct. 20. It will eventually be available for streaming on Apple TV+.

By Mike Kordenbrock
Lily Gladstone, left, in director Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon." Promotional image courtesy of AppleTV+

The first official teaser trailer for the director Martin Scorsese’s new movie “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which stars the actress Lily Gladstone, was released online Thursday ahead of the film’s world premiere this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival.

Gladstone, who is of Blackfeet and Niimíipuu heritage, was born at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and spent her early years living on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, before her family moved to Seattle when she was in middle school. A 2016 profile of Gladstone written for the University of Montana’s “Montanan” magazine describes how at an early age she was cast in a Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Cinderella” that was performed in East Glacier Park, and how eventually she began pursuing ballet, learning in the basement of a Browning church, and taking lessons in Columbia Falls. She eventually focused on theater, performing in high school and community theater productions. Gladstone went on to enroll in the University of Montana’s Davidson Honors College where she ultimately graduated with a BFA in acting and a minor in Native American studies.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is an adaptation of the 2017 nonfiction book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” written by David Grann, which depicts brutal events in American history in which dozens of members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, holding claims to land harboring massive oil deposits, were murdered as part of a scheme to steal their rights to the oil. The book takes place in the 1920s, at a time when members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were considered per capita to be the wealthiest people in the world.

Image courtesy of AppleTV+

The “Killers of the Flower Moon” book begins with Mollie Burkhart, a registered member of the Osage tribe, worrying over the disappearance of her sister Anna Brown.

In the “Killers of the Flower Moon” movie, Gladstone plays the role of Mollie Burkhart, and will star alongside other cast members including Leonardo DiCaprio—who plays her husband Ernest Burkhart— as well as Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons.

Other actors in the film include Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, Brendan Fraser, Cara Jade Myers, Janae Collins, Jillian Dion, William Belleau, Scott Shepherd, Louis Cancelmi, Tatanka Means and the musicians Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Jack White.

Critics and film industry media have previously billed Gladstone’s part in the 2016 film, “Certain Women,” as her breakout role, although the Hollywood news outlet Deadline is already calling Gladstone the “breakout star” of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and an early Oscar contender.

In a recent PBS American Masters short documentary about Gladstone called “Lily Gladstone: Far Out There,” the actress said she knows the Scorsese movie will be her introduction to a lot of people, because not a lot of people watch independent film.

“Certain Women,” directed by Kelly Reichardt, is based on short stories from the writer Maile Meloy, who grew up in Helena. The movie is set in Montana, and some of the filming took place around Livingston. In addition to Gladstone, “Certain Women” features Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and the actress Michelle Williams, who was also born in Kalispell, and moved to California when she was 9.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gladstone’s performance in “Certain Women,” is what made Scorsese decide to cast her as Mollie Burkhart.

“I could see that she trusted in simplicity. She understood her own onscreen presence as an expressive instrument that could speak for itself. That’s quite rare. Her silences, as Mollie were often more powerful than her words,” Scorsese said.

But Gladstone had uncertainties about whether or not she would be cast in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” As Gladstone recounted in the PBS documentary, she auditioned for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” got some good feedback, but then amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of updates on the project, she came to believe that she hadn’t gotten the role.

“Kind of one of those moments where I more decidedly started trying to walk away from even the arts altogether,” Gladstone said. “It pulled me back in. On Mollie Burkhart’s birthday, even though they didn’t know that, I was offered the role.”

In an article published earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter described how in August 2020, as Gladstone was considering a career change, she began registering online for a data analytics course as part of a plan to apply for seasonal work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture tracking murder hornets. As she was entering her credit card information, she received a a Gmail notification for a Zoom meeting request with Martin Scorsese.

Scorsese is an award-winning director who has helmed dozens of movies, including “Taxi Driver,” “The Color of Money,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Departed,” “Shutter Island,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Silence,” and “The Irishman.” Scorsese’s new film will have its world premiere this Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie is scheduled for a limited theatrical release beginning on Oct. 6, before its wide release on Oct. 20. It will eventually be available for streaming on Apple TV+.