‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Author Calls Scorsese’s Set ‘Voracious’: Film Will Be ‘Bracing and Breathtaking’

"They just seemed voracious, a little bit like historians," Grann said of the production team.
Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Getty Images

According to the “Killers of the Flower Moon” author, Martin Scorsese killed it on set.

David Grann, who penned the 2017 non-fiction book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” praised the Oscar-winning director’s dedication to the historical accuracy of the 1920s-set story about the newly-formed FBI working with the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to solve the case of a serial killer targeting Indigenous people. Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Brendan Fraser, and Jesse Plemons star, with the film debuting at 2023 Cannes.

“What I was struck by from Scorsese to the actors was the level of commitment and how much research they did to understand the parts and understand the history,” Grann told Vanity Fair. “They just seemed voracious, a little bit like historians, in their search for any knowledge, transcripts, documents, speaking to descendants, speaking with members of the Osage Nation.”

The author continued, “One of the things that was really most impressive and important in the development process was less my involvement, but the involvement of members of the Osage Nation. And early on, the Osage chief, Geoffrey Standing Bear, appointed several movie ambassadors from the Nation, from the government, to work with the movie folks. From everything I’ve heard, they really worked with a commitment to working with the Osage Nation, developing a story, even shooting on location. Many Osage are actually acting in the movie.”

Grann added, “The film had Osage-language experts working with the actors to make sure they were able to teach them the language and that they got the language right, technically. I saw a scene where many of the tribal council members of the Osage Nation were speaking, and I think they contributed to a lot of that dialogue themselves. I think anyone who sees that will find it bracing and breathtaking and powerful.”

Grann concluded, “I did visit the set for a few days. And I was, again, just really impressed by how they managed to bring these historical figures to life and capture the hidden truths about the story. Leo [DiCaprio] just seemed to just be able to capture the nature of Ernest Burkhart, and the level of complicity of his character, and this evil system. And Lily Gladstone brings Mollie to life with such sensitivity and emotional power, at least in the bits I saw.”

Grann is also set to collaborate with Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Apple on upcoming film “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder” centered on a shipwreck in 1742. The book will be published next year.

For all the details on “Killers of the Flower Moon,” click here.

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