Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited next project “Killers of the Flower Moon” has begun filming in Oklahoma. The Western drama is adapted from David Grann’s bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. The story is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the murders of the wealthy Osage Nation people after big oil deposits were found on their land.
“We are thrilled to finally start production on ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ in Oklahoma,” Scorsese said in a statement. “To be able to tell this story on the land where these events took place is incredibly important and critical to allowing us to portray an accurate depiction of the time and people. We’re grateful to Apple, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office and The Osage Nation, especially all our Osage consultants and cultural advisors, as we prepare for this shoot. We’re excited to start working with our local cast and crew to bring this story to life on screen and immortalize a time in American history that should not be forgotten.”
The cast for “Killers of the Flower Moon” is as stacked as any Scorsese feature. The filmmaker’s longtime muse and collaborator, Leonardo DiCaprio, stars as Ernest Burkhart, the nephew of a powerful local rancher. That local rancher is played by none other than Robert De Niro, Scorsese’s other (and original) longtime muse and collaborator. The supporting cast also includes Jesse Plemons as Tom White, a member of the newly-formed FBI, along with Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, and JaNae Collins.
DiCaprio was originally written to play the role of Tom White. However, the actor preferred instead to play the grittier and less heroic character of Ernest Burkhart. One can infer that after playing the top FBI man in 2011’s “J. Edgar,” DiCaprio wasn’t keen on repeating a character with such a similar tact and the same profession. Interestingly, Plemons will indeed being doing just that after having just played an FBI man in 2021’s “Judas and the Black Messiah.” However, when it comes to starring in a Scorsese film, everyone short of DiCaprio and De Niro will surely accept whatever role they are offered.
Both Scorsese and DiCaprio spent the months in pre-production meeting with Osage Nation members, gaining insight into the culture and setting that “Killers of the Flower Moon” will depict.
“In recent meetings with Oklahoma Senators and House of Representative Members I made the point of how much their support for the movie industry has made a difference. This is a very strong, lucrative business which directly benefits many Oklahomans, including the Sovereign Nations. It promotes financial opportunities and cultural recognition for all,” said Chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear.