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Scorsese, DiCaprio Consult with Osage Leaders to Inform ‘Flower Moon’ Story Ahead of Filming

DiCaprio met with Osage cultural leaders to help him better prepare for his role as Ernest Burkhart in Scorsese's upcoming Western drama.

Film star Leonardo DiCaprio, left, and director Martin Scorsese speaks during a news conference in Macau, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese


Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are currently in Oklahoma prepping to film “Killers of the Flower Moon” this spring. A report from Osage News confirms the two collaborators met with Osage cultural leaders at the Woolaroc wildlife preserve and museum this week to discuss the contents of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a 1920s Western murder drama that tracks the newly-formed FBI’s investigation into the deaths of several Osage members. The Osage nation was targeted by industrialists after oil was discovered on their land.

According to Osage News, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and the Osage Nation’s film ambassador Chad Renfro organized a meeting with Scorsese and DiCaprio as “an opportunity for Scorsese to speak directly to members of the community about the film.” An official press release added, “Scorsese made a presentation of the overall intention of the film, particularly highlighting the themes of trust and betrayal, how ultimately the story of Mollie Kyle and Ernest Burkhart is a microcosm of the wider betrayal of the Osage people.”

DiCaprio is starring in “Killers of the Flower Moon” as Ernest Burkhart, the nephew of a powerful local rancher who becomes a suspect in the Osage killings. Robert De Niro is playing the rancher, while “Certain Women” and “First Cow” actress Lily Gladstone is starring as Ernest’s wife, Mollie Kyle. The film was originally developed for DiCaprio to star as Tom White, the FBI agent investigating the murders. Jesse Plemons is now starring as Tom.

Attendees at the meeting this week included “Flower Moon” co-producer Marianne Bower and assistant director Adam Somner. Per Osage News: “All attendees signed a non-disclosure agreement and are not allowed to speak about the meeting or the film.”

“Scorsese also spoke of his plan to include details of Osage culture to paint a full, truthful picture of the time and the people,” Osage News reports. “Scorsese and his team are currently working with advisors from the community, and plan to engage with more as the preparation work gets seriously underway.”

The press release states: “Several members of the community spoke, sharing their concerns, stories and thoughts with the film team. DiCaprio asked several questions which sparked thoughtful conversation that will inform the script and his character.”

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is gearing up to film between May and late summer. Production was originally scheduled to begin in March 2020, but the pandemic made it impossible. Visit the Osage News’ website to read more about Scorsese and DiCaprio’s recent meeting.

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