All through his acclaimed filmography, Martin Scorsese has been identified for left-of-center casting decisions. His longtime collaborator and casting director Ellen Lewis stated in an interview that they at all times “attempt to go exterior the field in fascinating methods.” For proof, contemplate memorable appearances by Scorsese’s mom, Catherine, in “Goodfellas” and the author Fran Lebowitz as a choose in “The Wolf of Wall Road.”
The director’s epic new drama, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is not any exception. The movie tells the story of a Nineteen Twenties plot by white Oklahoma males, notably an uncle and nephew performed by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, to homicide members of the Osage Nation, together with Mollie Burkhart and her three sisters. Alongside these recognizable Scorsese regulars, quite a lot of musicians, comedians and different nonactors (some recruited by the Indigenous casting director Rene Haynes) mix in seamlessly.
Right here’s a spoiler-heavy information to a few of the movie’s most fascinating cameos.
The nation singer-songwriter Jason Isbell seems as Invoice Smith, husband of Mollie’s ill-fated sister Rita (performed by JaNae Collins). For such a large half, “Killers” is the primary main onscreen performing gig for the four-time Grammy winner. (He had a recurring voice function as a pastor on the Grownup Swim sequence “Squidbillies.”) How did Isbell find yourself within the movie? Chalk it as much as downtime. The film was shot through the pandemic when musicians would have in any other case been touring across the nation. As for his principal gig, Isbell’s most up-to-date album, “Weathervanes,” with the group the 400 Unit was launched earlier this 12 months.
This indie-rock singer-songwriter (whose most up-to-date album was “Hawaii,” a 2022 collaboration with Day Wave) ultimately reveals up because the much-talked-about and elusive Acie Kirby, whom DiCaprio’s hapless Ernest is tasked with discovering all through the movie. Whereas “Killers” is Pete Yorn’s first big-screen performing function, he’s no stranger to the Scorsese sphere. His brother is Rick Yorn, an government producer of “Killers” and different Scorsese tasks, together with “The Wolf of Wall Road” and “Gangs of New York.” Rick Yorn additionally occurs to be Scorsese and DiCaprio’s supervisor.
One other noteworthy nation singer-songwriter, Sturgill Simpson performs the bootlegger Henry Grammer. Although he gained the 2017 greatest nation album Grammy for “A Sailor’s Information to Earth,” the guitarist has turned Hollywood roles right into a bustling facet hustle. Along with a recurring half on the HBO comedy sequence “The Righteous Gems,” he appeared within the 2019 drama “Queen & Slim” and was on the large display final month within the sci-fi opus “The Creator.”
This busy comic and actor performs John Wren, a Native American investigator. Means boasts an eclectic filmography starting from the 2014 comedy “A Million Methods to Die within the West” to a current look on the sequence “Reservation Canines.” The son of the Oglala Sioux activist Russell Means (a Scorsese buddy who died in 2012), the youthful Means is probably greatest identified for stand-up routines that mirror the Native expertise.
The previous White Stripes musician has a thriving profession as a guitarist on his personal and in teams just like the Raconteurs and the Useless Climate, however he will be seen on the finish of “Killers” offering a number of voices for a radio play that explains the eventual fates of the real-life figures dramatized within the movie. This isn’t Jack White’s first performing gig. When he’s not on the helm of his indie label Third Man Data, he has discovered time to painting Elvis Presley within the 2007 music biopic spoof “Stroll Exhausting: The Dewey Cox Story,” and to seem in “Portlandia” and “The Simpsons.”
This harmonica ace performs the gruff Alvin Reynolds. Charlie Musselwhite is a Chicago blues legend who is claimed to have impressed Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers character Elwood. Lewis, the casting director, is a music fan who stated she sought out Musselwhite after being taken by his weathered look whereas researching the Chicago label Delmark Data. “Killers” is the 79-year-old’s most sizable performing function after elements in motion pictures like “Blues Brothers 2000” and “Home windows on the World.”
The movie options a number of distinguished members of the Osage Nation together with Waller, who serves because the tribe’s Minerals Council chairman. Within the film, Waller offers an impassioned speech in regards to the plight of his individuals. Haynes, the casting director, stated that very similar to the opposite Indigenous performers, Waller was found throughout an open casting name to fill the film’s 62 Native roles. “His daughter really got here by way of and he or she knew I used to be in search of a gentleman with lengthy hair,” Haynes recalled, including, “I advised her that if she might get him to come back in, I’ll let him skip the road as a result of I’d love to satisfy him.”
Although not strictly a cameo, the actor doesn’t seem until late within the movie. Chosen by Scorsese and Lewis properly earlier than “The Whale” led to a profession renaissance and a greatest actor Oscar win earlier this 12 months, Fraser performs W.S. Hamilton, the protection lawyer for De Niro’s William Hale. Lewis stated Fraser was an Eleventh-hour alternative after one other actor she didn’t title dropped out.
That is additionally not fairly a cameo, however John Lithgow doesn’t seem till late within the movie. The 2-time Oscar nominee has loved an extended and eclectic profession in roles that span genres, onstage and on the large and small screens. However that is the primary time he’s labored with Scorsese. Right here he performs the prosecutor Peter Leaward in a sequence of courtroom scenes.
One of many three-and-a-half-hour movie’s most stunning moments happens through the radio-play coda. It’s Scorsese himself who reads from the obituary of Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone). Scorsese is not any stranger to showing in his personal work, from his 1973 breakout “Imply Streets” (he will be seen firing a gun through the car-crash finale) to “Silence” (a short and bearded cameo in that 2016 drama). His flip in “Killers” serves as a becoming tribute to each the forgotten topics of the story and the director who helped remind us of them.