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July 14, 2017

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio Aim to Shoot ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Next Year

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It was just a few days ago we learned that next month Martin Scorsese would begin directing Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, and the recently-added Ray Romano in his long-gestating crime epic The Irishman. With that Netflix production set to continue to the end of the year, it was reasonable to imagine much of 2018 would find Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker in the editing room. However, it looks like we may get another new Scorsese film sooner than expected.

Speaking to Variety, Scorsese’s long-time production designer Dante Ferretti says that the goal is to begin shooting their adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI this spring. Based on the book from David Grann, the author behind The Lost City of Z, Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd) has penned the script that follows the real-life conspiracy surrounding the murders of people in Oklahoma’s Osage Indian tribe after oil was found on their land.

With Leonardo DiCaprio attached and Robert De Niro rumored for a role, Ferretti already has plans to head to Oklahoma for early location scouting for the film. Ferretti tells the trade “the whole 1920s world of the Indians who lived there needs to be reconstructed,” and will start his work on the project this fall. While it seems like things are indeed underway, outside of his documentary work, Scorsese is not one to go back-to-back with productions as of late. The most recent time he had consecutive narrative releases was Goodfellas in 1990, then Cape Fear in 1991, but even those shoots were fairly far apart — the former in mid-1989 and the latter in early 1991. So, for now, we’ll have to just keep our fingers crossed.

killers-of-the-flower-moonCheck out the synopsis below and pick up the book on Amazon.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.


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