Killers of the Flower Moon (2022)

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Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon to Begin Production in February 2021
Right before the coronavirus hit in America, Martin Scorsese and crew were planning to kick off their $200 million production of Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma. Led by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, the adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, scripted by Eric Roth, was of course halted. We finally received news this week that the crew was now exploring the necessary safety protocols to safely kick production off, though no timetable was given.

An update has now arrived that a shoot is planning to get underway beginning in February 2021, nearly a year after the original intended date. This report comes from Osage News and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “My latest information is that they would start filming, subject to Coronavirus, February 2021. 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.”

If all goes according to plan, a four-month production would mean the shoot would wrap in mid-2021 and we likely wouldn’t see the film until late 2022 at the earliest as Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker tend to have fairly extensive editing periods. One can also see why DiCaprio has passed on new films by Paul Thomas Anderson and Guillermo del Toro (with both roles taken by Bradley Cooper) as the actor continues to clear his schedule for his next reunion with Scorsese.

Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto said last week, “Certainly, [Killers of the Flower Moon] will be very delicate too because, well, even Martin Scorsese as a director, he has asthma. So we have to be very careful with him.” He added he’ll be using remote heads for close-ups due to safety, saying, “That’s the kind of thing that I learned in the [Taylor Swift music] video that I think I will keep on applying, especially in a film like that. We don’t want De Niro or anybody to touch anything right now.”

Apple came aboard to finance the film back in May, while Paramount will distribute the film theatrically worldwide. Chad Renfro, Osage Nation ambassador for the film, said, “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. 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.”

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“I spent four or five years on this book, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ which everybody should read. It’s a wonderful book,” Roth said. “My screenplay I think was accurate to the book. It’s the story of Osage Indians, 1921, the poorest people in America who discover oil in this terrible land in Oklahoma where they’ve been driven to. Then every killer in America comes to kill 184 of them for their money, but this really heroic guy comes in [to help].

Roth continued, “That’s supposed to start filming in March once the Covid clears out, and it’s Martin Scorsese. They’ll be continuing rewrites with that. Leonardo [DiCaprio] wanted some things changed that we argued about. He won half of [the arguments]. I won half of them. So that’s happening.”

Rumors about “Flower Moon” script drama have percolated since May, when The Hollywood Reporter published a story explaining that DiCaprio’s overhaul of Roth’s original script was the primary factor in Paramount Pictures’ decision to sell the film to Apple. In Roth’s version of the film, DiCaprio was starring as the hero, a federal agent working for the newly-established FBI, who heads to the Osage Nation to solve a series of murders. DiCaprio pushed to revise the script so he would take on the nephew of the villainous killer played by Robert De Niro.

Per THR: “In the revised version, DiCaprio would portray villain Robert De Niro’s nephew, torn between love and the evil machinations of his uncle. A source with knowledge of the situation says Paramount felt that turned the film into a moody and less commercial character study…Once Scorsese and DiCaprio revised ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ Paramount empowered DiCaprio’s longtime manager, Rick Yorn, to shop the project. No doubt the studio hoped no one would tackle it, which might persuade Scorsese to come back to the original idea and the hoped-for budget.”
Great stuff. Leo’s integrity to his craft, character and story is really refreshing for someone who is primarily an actor.

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A lot of actors would show this level of dedication if they also had the status to go such great lengths.

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Ruth wrote:
November 16th, 2020, 10:29 pm
A lot of actors would show this level of dedication if they also had the status to go such great lengths.
That’s true but there’s plenty that do and still don’t which is where my admiration is coming from. It’s obviously a luxury that most actors don’t have.

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