Written by Shona Smith on Apr 21, 2021. Posted in Production News

Principal photography begins in Oklahoma for Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon

The feature film from Apple Studios stars Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Robert De Niro (Joker, The Irishman), Lily Gladstone (Billions, Certain Women) and Jesse Plemons (El Camino, Black Mirror). Killers of the Flower Moon is Oklahoma’s largest shoot in history and is being used to train up the state’s workforce. Recent large shoots in the state include Taika Waitaki series Reservation Dogs.

Scorsese directs the feature film based on David Grann’s best-selling novel set in 1920s Oklahoma. The story depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.

The film has worked closely with state leadership including Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, and the Oklahoma Film + Music Office has worked to ensure Killers of the Flower Moon could film in historically accurate Oklahoma locations, since the screen adaptation rights were first secured in 2016.

The Osage Nation play a key role in the film and have been indispensable in helping to scout sites across the state. Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear named Chad Renfro Ambassador to the production, and these tribal leaders introduced the filmmakers to cultural advisors, historians, local artisans and citizens to assist in their efforts to portray the story with authenticity and honesty. “In recent meetings with Oklahoma Senators and House of Representative Members I made the point of how much their support for the movie industry has made a difference. This is a very strong, lucrative business which directly benefits many Oklahomans, including the Sovereign Nations.  It promotes financial opportunities and cultural recognition for all,” said Chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear. “The funding from the State of Oklahoma along with the efforts of the Osage Nation have proven to be a big draw for this film in particular. We are now seeing the fruits of all of our efforts to bring this great movie production here and now!”

“We are thrilled to finally start production on Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma," said Scorsese. “To be able to tell this story on the land where these events took place is incredibly important and critical to allowing us to portray an accurate depiction of the time and people. We’re grateful to Apple, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office and The Osage Nation, especially all our Osage consultants and cultural advisors, as we prepare for this shoot. We’re excited to start working with our local cast and crew to bring this story to life on screen and immortalize a time in American history that should not be forgotten.”

The state is welcoming the opportunity to develop the state’s crew base during the largest shoot in Oklahoma’s history. The Oklahoma Film + Music Office has partnered with Apple Studios to curate a crew development programme to provide  basic, industry standard training and on-the-job experience to further expand the local workforce in Oklahoma’s film industry. Tava Maloy Sofsky, Director of the Oklahoma Film + Music Office says “Honestly, while it’s everyday work for everyone involved, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to host everyone on this special production and its entire cast and crew, which will positively impact our state in unprecedented ways.”

Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. “Studio executives keep emphasizing the importance of the ‘three-legged stool’ that we need a strong crew base, local infrastructure and production incentives. I am confident Oklahoma is on its way to strengthening the stool and is poised to show Apple Studios, Imperative, Appian Way and the esteemed cast and crew professionals, our state’s natural beauty, our pioneering innovation and the resilience of our people here in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma has a competitive Cash Rebate of 35-37% on qualifying expenditure for film and television and commercial filming in the state spending a minimum USD25,000 in qualified Oklahoma spend and a minimum budget of USD50,000. The scheme is available until 2027.


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