The behind-the-scenes saga of Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon has been a bit of rollercoaster. The pic, based on the true story of a series of murders of wealthy Osage people in the early 1920s, was originally set up at Paramount and was supposed to start shooting in March 2020. Of course, the coronavirus destroyed that March shoot date, and then Paramount got cold feet about the film’s ballooning budget of $200 million. Apple TV+ then swooped in to save the project. Now, the movie is eyeing a new production start date: February 2021.
Will Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon shoot soon? Hopefully! The coronavirus has put the future of practically every film and TV production up in the air, but if all goes according to plan, Scorsese’s latest, which stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, will start shooting by February of next year. Speaking with the Osage News, Geoffrey Standing Bear, Principal Chief of the Osage Nation headquartered in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in the Osage Hills – the location where Scorsese plans to film – stated:
“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 Scorsese and longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker work quickly, they might have the film out for the holiday/awards season of 2021. However, it’s more likely that we won’t see it until 2022. But any new Scorsese film is worth waiting for.
Based on the non-fiction book by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon chronicles the story of the Osage Murders in the 1920s. The Osage Nation in Oklahoma became extremely wealthy after oil was discovered on their land, but one by one, members of the Nation started to be killed off. As the murders continued, the FBI recruited a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to solve the case.
A new Scorsese picture starring both De Niro and DiCaprio is a big deal, and yet, Paramount Pictures got nervous about the project. Paramount’s hesitation reportedly rose from two issues: the budget – which is said to be at least $200 million – and the role DiCaprio ultimately decided to play. When the project was in its infancy, the understanding was that DiCaprio would play the hero of the story. However, DiCaprio decided he was more interested in playing a villainous character instead – someone who was in on the killings. Paramount apparently thought audiences wouldn’t want to see DiCaprio play a bad guy in their big movie, and were ready to throw in the towel.
When the hesitation started to mount, Scorsese reportedly met with both Netflix and Apple, hoping one of those deep-pocketed studios would save the day. Apple eventually prevailed. Now, Apple has the production and distribution rights to the film, and the plan is to release Killers of the Flower Moon theatrically via Paramount and while also eventually streaming on Apple TV+.
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