Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. If you have these three men interested in your story, then you know it must be a good one. Killers of the Flower Moon seems to be just that. From a book written by David Grann, the potential film adaptation has already attracted some of the top talent in Hollywood, with DiCaprio, Scorsese, and De Niro all circling the project. Deadline first reported this development.
Killers of the Flower Moon captures a disturbing untold story in American history. After the Osage people were driven out of their home in Kansas, they settled in a rocky portion of northwestern Oklahoma. It was only later that everyone realized that there were large pools of oil beneath the rocks, which resulted in the sudden wealth of the Osage Indians. Although by the 1920s, the Osage people found their financial wealth was exponentially increased, journalists exaggerated stories of the extravagance that these people lived in, which only further fanned the flame of envy and fear in racist white Americans. The US Congress passed a law that initiated a guardianship program, in which in any Osage of half or more Indian ancestry to be appointed a ‘guardian’ until proving “competency”. These ‘guardians’ were white attorneys and businessman from the surrounding area, which allowed the corruption that led to many Osage being legally deprived of their land, headrights, royalties, or their own lives. From 1921-1925, an estimated 60 Osage were killed.
DiCaprio and De Niro most likely will take roles such as investigator J. Edgar Hoover, who would one day become the first director of the FBI, or a former Texas Ranger Tom White, who worked to uncover the conspiracy.
The lead role, however, will most likely be that of Osage woman Mollie Burkhart, who married Ernest Burkhart, a white American, in 1921. His uncle, an influencial businessman named William Hale, known as the ‘King of Osage Hills’, as well as Ernest’s brother Byron, allegedly hired people to kill members of Mollie’s family. They arranged for the murders of Molly’s mother, two sisters, brother-in-law, and cousin, by means of poisoning, bombing, and shooting.
Author David Grann previously wrote the 2009 novel The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, which recently was adapted into a feature film that hit theaters yesterday. The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland. Grann is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker.
De Niro can next be seen on the small screen, portraying Bernie Madoff in the HBO film The Wizard of Lies alongside Michelle Pfeiffer. He and Scorsese are also working on feature film The Irishman, set to also star Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and Bobby Cannavale.
DiCaprio hasn’t been seen on screen since his Academy Award winning performance in 2015 as Hugh Glass in The Revenant. Recently he’s been staying behind the scenes as a producer on multiple projects. Although he doesn’t have any acting roles for films in production right now, he is signed on to star in The Black Hand as well as Scorsese’s The Devil in a White City (if either can make it out of pre-production!)
Stay tuned for more details about Killers of The Flower Moon.