As Martin Scorsese toils away in the editing room on The Irishman–his long-gestating crime epic starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and Bobby Cannavale–ahead of a hopeful release next year, the director shows little signs of slowing down.
His adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, is finally confirmed to begin production in the summer with backing from Imperative Entertainment. Based on the book from David Grann, the author behind The Lost City of Z, Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd) has penned the script that follows the real-life conspiracy surrounding the murders of people in Oklahoma’s Osage Indian tribe after oil was found on their land.
“When I read David Grann’s book, I immediately started seeing it — the people, the settings, the action — and I knew that I had to make it into a movie,” said Scorsese. “I’m so excited to be working with Eric Roth and reuniting with Leo DiCaprio to bring this truly unsettling American story to the screen.”
With DiCaprio confirmed to lead the film, Robert De Niro has also been rumored in another role, but no additional casting has been announced yet. Check out the synopsis below and pick up the book on Amazon.
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.