Written by Forrest Gump screenwriter Eric Roth, Scorsese’s latest is based on the 2017 book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.
The story follows a series of grisly murders among a Midwestern Native American tribe in Oklahoma, called the Osage, after oil was discovered on their land in the 1920s.
Bringing his story to life is an all-star cast boasting the likes of Robert DeNiro, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser and Lily Gladstone with long-time Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio leading the way. The film marks the star’s seventh collaboration with the Raging Bull filmmaker and their first since 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
With production wrapping in October 2021, fans have had to wait to see what Scorsese has cooked up. Later this year, all will be revealed when the film debuts in theaters.
Here’s everything we know about Killers of the Flower Moon.
Killers of the Flower Moon latest trailer
After releasing a teaser for Killers of the Flower Moon in May, the latest trailer out Wednesday gives us a better glimpse into Scosese's latest.
It opens with the Osage, a Native American tribe in Oklahoma that recently struck oil and inherited an incredible amount of wealth and power as a result. William Hale (De Niro) lays out his motivations to his nephew, Ernest (DiCaprio).
"Well, we mix these families together and that estate money flows the right direction, it’ll come to us," De Niro says.
Killers of the Flower Moon release date
Scorsese’s latest is out in theaters and in IMAX on Oct. 20 with a streaming release on Apple TV+ to follow.
Killers of the Flower Moon cast
Scorsese isn’t pulling any punches with his latest cast list, with Killers of the Flower Moon featuring a wide array of starry names on its call sheet.
Leading the way is DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, the man responsible — and later convicted for — conspiring to murder many of the Osage community members.
He’s joined by Robert De Niro as William Hale, a cattleman and fellow convicted murderer, and Jesse Plemons as Tom White, the man responsible for cracking the case.
Rounding out the film’s cast is Lily Gladstone as Burkhart’s suspicious wife Mollie, Brendan Fraser as lawyer W.S. Hamilton and John Lithgow as Prosecutor Leaward.
Canadian actor Tantoo Cardinal also stars alongside a trio of musicians including Jack White, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell.
Killers of the Flower Moon plot
Grann’s book Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of a series of brutal killings among the Osage Native American tribe throughout the 1920s.
Taking place across a five-year period, members of this Oklahoma-based community were murdered after oil was discovered on their land. Entitled to profit shares under United States law, the Osage people were due to receive large sums of money before a plot was formed to kill them off one by one.
According to Grann’s book, at least 20 members of the Osage Nation were murdered, with the author suggesting that the actual number could span into the hundreds due to various other people's connections to these high-value oil profits.
According to the movie’s official logline, Scorsese will also look at the FBI’s role in investigating these murders and their link back to the bureau’s former director J. Edgar Hoover.
What Gladstone has said about the film
During the pandemic, Gladstone said the film went through significant rewrites, noting that DiCaprio was originally going to play Tom White (played by Jesse Plemons).
“I’d heard that the rewrites completely did a 180. Leo was supposed to be playing Tom White, Jesse Plemons’s character,” she explained in Interview during a sit-down that took place before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “And so, the focus would’ve been the FBI, with Mollie and Ernest being part of the supporting storyline, instead of the central one.”
That’s now changed, as Ernest and Mollie are now the focal point of the film.
Gladstone, who is of Blackfeet and Nimíipuu heritage and grew up on the reservation of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, also recalled the thoughtful approach she and DiCaprio had in their character development — which included immersing themselves in the Osage community for six weeks before filming.
“Leo and I had dinner beforehand and got a chance to talk,” she said. “The two of us took meetings with community members. He and I met Margie Burkhart, our characters’s granddaughter. Whenever I come to Oklahoma, I set aside a week or two to hang out and visit people. I made some pretty significant relationships while making this film.”
While she and DiCaprio didn't have a chemistry read before filming, Gladstone said the pair “spent a lot of time just getting to know each other, finding our movements and pace. It was important to him that we have this language of a couple that had been together.”
— David Artavia contributed to this report
Killers of the Flower Moon will be released in theaters and IMAX on Oct. 20, with an Apple TV+ release to follow.