There’s still no commitment to filming “Killers of the Flower Moon” in Oklahoma, where the events took place, but filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s team continues to return to Pawhuska for research.
“We had a group from Mr. Scorsese’s artistic team here a couple of weeks ago to do research, look around and ask questions, making sure they got things right,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear on Wednesday.
He said the team was led by longtime Scorsese production designer Dante Ferretti, who has won three Academy Awards for art direction, including two for Scorsese films (“The Aviator” and “Hugo”).
“He was a very nice man. They were here for a couple of days. More than once they said, ‘We’ll be back.’ We certainly hope so,” Standing Bear said.
There has been a lot of buzz ever since the announcement last year that Scorsese would direct and Leonardo DiCaprio would star in a movie about oil, greed and murder in Osage County, where the events happened, as early as this summer.
While that timetable seems to have changed, what remains is the filmmaking legend’s interest in making a film adapted from the acclaimed best-selling book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.”
Author David Grann researched and wrote about Osage tribal members being murdered after they became rich when oil was found on their land in the 1920s.
Production company Imperative Entertainment bought the rights to Grann’s book in 2016 for $5 million and eventually attached Scorsese and DiCaprio to the project.
On Wednesday, Paramount Pictures announced at a European film expo that it had reached a deal to finance and distribute the movie.
Standing Bear said Scorsese’s team, as well as individuals from Imperative, arrived in Pawhuska and toured the area to look at historical locations, examine a large collection of photos and visit the Osage Nation Museum.
“We told (Imperative executive) John Atwood that we want them to film here and that we can provide many things, from Osage-language speakers to crafts people to warehouse space to whatever,” the chief said.
“We’re just being hospitable, and we’re hoping to see them again soon.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” would be the sixth film collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio. They last worked together on 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was also distributed by Paramount Pictures.