The best-selling nonfiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, which is based on a string of 1920s Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation committed after oil was discovered on tribal land, serves as the basis for the upcoming American Western crime drama film Killers of the Flower Moon, which is being directed by Martin Scorsese and has a screenplay by Eric Roth and Scorsese.
Alongside Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and Brendan Fraser, Leonardo DiCaprio, who also serves as producer, is a star. The movie is Scorsese and DiCaprio’s sixth joint project and their ninth joint project with De Niro.
What's it like working with Leonardo DiCaprio on a Martin Scorsese movie? "Killers of the Flower Moon" star Lily Gladstone says: "It's great! The name is a different thing than the person. When you’re doing the scene work, it’s just two actors." https://t.co/HyRCgNdgRN #Sundance pic.twitter.com/zFtamGPsgC
— Variety (@Variety) January 20, 2023
The movie was made by DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, and it was released through Paramount Pictures and Apple TV+. According to reports, the $200 million budget is the most spent on an Oklahoma film.
Hollywood has a long, incredibly turbulent history of portraying or engaging Indigenous populations in its films. Most of the time, they have been displayed in ways that are, at best, insensitive and, at worst, about as aggressively rude and offensive as a group of people could be.
As a result, they aren’t even recognized as being human. Indigenous groups continue to be generalized or serve as the model for an alien race in a popular franchise even today. It’s challenging to locate Indigenous stories created by and about Indigenous people in the realm of film (movies like “Wild Indian” being very much the exception to the rule).
Despite calls for more diversity in the movie that is made, Indigenous voices are rarely included in these calls. Of course, some white filmmakers try their best to have these populations in the production of their films if they decide to do so.
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Such filmmakers are aware of their limitations and seek to include the opinions and views of others, particularly those who are highly dissimilar to themselves. No one expects that Martin Scorsese is some authority on the history of the Osage Nation, but it turns out that they are at the center of his most recent movie, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which is scheduled to release in 2023.
Naturally, he has extreme opinions about how he wants to adapt David Grann’s nonfiction book about many killings of Osage people in 1920s Oklahoma. Still, he was willing to change the material to authentically, sympathetically, and humanely depict the Osage people on screen.
Brendan Fraser was excited to reunite with so many old friends on 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' including Leo — heard of him? 🤣
— SiriusXM (@SIRIUSXM) January 20, 2023
Killers of the Flower Moon Summary
The book looks into a string of affluent Osage killings in Osage County, Oklahoma, in the early 1920s, following the discovery of significant oil reserves beneath their lands. The Osage people get ready to receive the wealth to which they are legally entitled from the sales of their oil reserves after the Osage are granted rights to the earnings made from oil deposits located on their territory in a court judgment.
The Osage are seen as the “middle man,” and a sophisticated scheme to eradicate the Osage inheritors one by one using any means necessary is devised. Officially, there have been at least twenty full-blooded, affluent Osage fatalities, but Grann believes there may have been hundreds more who were murdered because of their connections to the oil industry.
The book describes the killings’ investigation by the recently established FBI and William Hale’s subsequent trial and conviction for orchestrating the crime.
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