At long last, Martin Scorsese’s much-anticipated period drama Killers of the Flower Moon has begun filming in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO) and Apple Original Films made the announcement April 19th. The film is based on David Grann’s novel of the same name that recounts the true events that have come to be known as The Reign of Terror.
Adapted for the screen by Eric Roth, Killers takes place in Osage, Oklahoma in the 1920s. It retells the story of the Osage Nation members massacred by townspeople for the oil-rich land on which they lived. The violent happenings drew a then-nascent FBI to the area to investigate.
“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,” remarked Scorsese.
“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.”
Frequent Scorsese-collaborators, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, play historical figures Ernest Burkhart and William Hale, respectively. Hale was an influential rancher in Osage, and Burkhart was his nephew. Lily Gladstone (Certain Women) plays Ernest’s wife Mollie and, Irishman alum Jesse Plemons plays Tom White, the lead FBI agent.
Fellow cast members include: Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, William Belleau, Louis Cancelmi, Tatanka Means, Michael Abbott Jr., Pat Healy, Scott Shepherd, and musicians Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson.
It has been reported that Killers has hired many Oklahoma residents to assist in production, both on and offscreen, as the film will be the biggest production ever filmed in the state. Scorsese and DiCaprio apparently spent several months pre-production sitting down with Osage Nation members in an effort to best depict the historic tragedy inflicted upon their ancestors.
Chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear had this to say about Scorsese’s Killers: “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…We are now seeing the fruits of all of our efforts to bring this great movie production here and now!”
“To date, dozens of production assistants have been hired to join this program, participating in mentor sessions with ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ crew. This event marks one aspect of the four-part series which will kick start the participants’ professional development while working on this unique project,” said Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell.
The Apple Studios production will film well into the summer months.