Photo caption: Mollie Burkhart (right) with sisters Anna (center) and Minnie (left). Burkhart’s two sisters were both murdered for their money during the Osage Reign of Terror by her husband Ernest Burkhart, who will be portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his uncle Bill Hale, who will be portrayed by Robert De Niro. Courtesy Photo/David Grann
This year may have brought on a global pandemic and a new world of changes, but next year may bring excitement and Hollywood fanfare to the Osage community.
Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear gave a report to the 7th Osage Nation Congress on Aug. 5 about the need for an Osage Nation Museum expansion and remodel and let slip a tiny detail about the upcoming film “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
“My latest information is that they would start filming, subject to Coronavirus, February 2021,” he said. “And, they will be here for about 16 weeks. They’re going to start moving in here quietly, I’m not helping that very much, but quietly around November and December. So, they’re coming.”
KOTFM will be directed by Martin Scorsese and will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. The rest of the cast has not been publicly named. The film is based on David Grann’s bestselling book of the same name and is about the Osage Reign of Terror and the birth of the FBI.
In May it was announced that Apple will finance the $200 million film while Paramount will distribute the film theatrically worldwide. Speaking to Vanity Fair in July, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto said great care would be taken to maintain the health of the film’s famous director and stars. Prieto said Scorsese has asthma and he would be using camera tricks for close-ups to keep everyone at a safe physical distance.
According to Osage Nation ambassadors for the film, Chad Renfro and Addie Roanhorse, communication is open between them and film executives and they are being kept abreast of upcoming plans.
“They are excited about the partnership with Apple and that they will be and are very much looking forward to filming here. The industry and production is basically at a standstill due to COVID 19 and timing is the biggest unknown,” Renfro said in an email. “With safety for all being of greatest concern, once the industry protocol has been established and it is safe to embark on this important project, they will reach back out to us.”
This is good news for the many Osages who plan to work on the film. Before the pandemic, crew members of the film were in talks with Osage artisans, cooks, language speakers, homeowners, landowners, and others to work on the film. Filmmakers have also expressed interest in filming inside the Osage Capitol Building, the old Superintendent’s House on the Osage campus, and other Osage historical homes around the county.