Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese reportedly has tapped his longtime colleague and fellow Oscar winner Robert De Niro to play the villain in his film adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
The Osage News reports that Scorsese and others involved in the eagerly anticipated production met Friday with Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and other representations of the Osage Nation on the tribe’s Pawhuska campus.
The movie, which will be directed by Scorsese and star Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, is being adapted from the critically acclaimed true-crime best-seller by David Grann (“The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon”).
“Killers of the Flower Moon” tells the story of the Osage Indians, who, in the 1920s, became the wealthiest people in the world because of oil under their land in Oklahoma. They were then serially murdered off in one of the most sinister crimes in American history. The case became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. The FBI sent in a team of undercover agents, including one of the only Native Americans in the bureau. They eventually caught one of the masterminds. However, as Grann documents, there was a deeper and darker conspiracy that the bureau never exposed.
The Osage News’ Shannon Shaw Duty reports that Scorsese noted during the meeting that DeNiro will be playing murderer Bill Hale in the film.
But the focus of Friday’s meeting at the Osage Nation headquarters was how the Osage Nation could help with the filming, with Scorsese confirming that the production will be working closely with the tribe to accurately depict its culture, history and the language.
Pre-production has already begun on the film and will accelerate in November. The film will be shot in the spring and summer of 2020, according to the Osage News.
Paramount Pictures closed a deal this summer to finance and distribute the fact-based film. Imperative Entertainment partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas acquired the movie project in a $5 million deal back in 2016, and they are producing with Sikelia Productions’ Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff and DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions.
According to the Osage News, Imperative Entertainment COO John Atwood said during today’s meeting that they want to film the movie in Osage County and talks are underway with the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed Senate Bill 200, which offers two incentive packages designed to keep local productions in Oklahoma and to attract new and larger productions.
Created in 2001, the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program continues offering 35 percent to 37 percent cash rebates through 2027, with an increased fiscal year cap of $8 million. Eligible projects must have at least a $50,000 budget and spend a minimum of $25,000 on qualifying labor, goods and services in Oklahoma.
SB 200’s new incentive targets higher-impact productions, potentially like this one: major movies or TV series with total expenditures or production costs equal to or exceeding $50 million. The same 35% to 37% cash rebate applies.
Brandy McDonnell is a reporter for The Oklahoman, a sister publication of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise through GateHouse Media.