Martin Scorsese, the ending of Killers of the Flower Moon and the “improvised” cameo: «I had to try»

Warning: the article may contain spoilers about the ending of the film Killers of the Flower Moon.

Martin Scorsese brought together the Hollywood dream team for his new film which is currently in cinemas: in fact, the protagonists of the thriller include Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Inspired by the bestselling novel written by David Neighbortells a terrible chapter in the history of the Osage nation through the impossible love between Ernest Burkhart and the Native American Mollie Kyle. Killers of the Flower Moondespite its long duration (which is equal to 204 minutes), achieved excellent numbers at the box office, managing to earn 137 million dollars worldwide.

One aspect that particularly surprised the public was the cameo that Martin Scorsese made in the finale of Killers of the Flower Moon.

It was a brilliant idea with which the director decided to end his new film. As the overhead view of a powwow unfolds on the screen, a radio announcer reads what happened after the murder of the Osage and reveals what the fate of the film’s protagonists was. In a special screening of Killers of the Flower Moon which took place in front of the AMPAS judges Martin Scorsese explained the reasons behind his particular choice. According to what he reported The Playlist, the director revealed on this occasion that with the epilogue he wanted to show how even brutal murders can become a form of entertainment:

Well, the thing is, the book talks about the birth of the FBI. Right? And so the FBI needed propaganda. And so they went to the radio and I grew up listening to the radio before there was TV. So I listened to Gang Busters and shows like that. And I thought, well, wouldn’t it be great if this thing, all this happened, people died, there was tragedy and suffering and heartache and all that. And all of this became a radio show… and in a certain sense it became entertainment. And we, once again – it’s my thing, I’m not accusing anyone – but the point is that it’s my belief that I became complicit in it, enjoying the entertainment. And this film is also entertainment in this sense. You know what I mean? I try to make it as truthful as possible, as honest as possible, I should say. And so I said we need to end it with one of those radio shows where after all this you’ve seen, this is all the American public has been led to think or believe about the situation. And in the middle of the show it suddenly becomes an epilogue because if it’s really 1936 in a radio studio, what is that telling you? How could the announcer know that Bill Hale died at age 87?

When he had the intuition, the SAG-AFTRA strike had already started, preventing him from calling an actor to read those lines. He then thought of lending his voice to the film’s closing sequence himself and asked the actors’ union if he could be granted the freedom to do this. After getting the nod, he recorded the final scene of Killers of the Flower Moon:

“And then we had the obituary and I didn’t know if I could direct an actor to do it. AND having lived with the Osage and everyone else in Oklahoma for so long, I felt I had to try it myself. We’re lucky that SAG said (‘OK’) otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to talk (Laughs). I had a small exemption, but only 36 seconds. But I said: ‘Listen, let me do this. If it doesn’t work, I know the angle. I can get another actor to do it.’ But as I was doing it, I kind of felt it. And I also felt in a certain sense, as I said, my complicity with life and the world as it is, trying to have compassion for it. A connection with those who suffer in the world, that’s all.”.

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