‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’ Movie: Cast, Release Date & More

'Killers Of The Flower Moon' already has Oscar buzz -- and it hasn't even come out yet! Here's everything you need to know about the film, which is based on a popular non-fiction book.

Leonardo DiCaprio
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Image Credit: Everett Collection

There’s a slate of exciting movies that are coming out in the second half of 2022. That includes Killers of the Flower Moon, which is based on a non-fiction book featuring an all-star cast directed by the notorious Martin Scorsese. The film is an American Western crime drama and it’s expected to be a huge hit with critics. Look for Killers of the Flower Moon to be a major contender at the 2023 Academy Awards. Here’s everything you need to know about the film, including the release date, the cast, and more.

When Can I Watch ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’?

Leonardo DiCaprio
Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (Photo: Everett Collection)

Killers of the Flower Moon is expected to be released in November 2022. An official release date has yet to be announced. Fans can watch the film in theaters, or they can stream it at home on Apple TV+. Imperative Entertainment won the bidding war over the rights to the film in March 2016 and paid $5 million. Production was supposed to begin in early 2020, but got pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming officially started on April 19, 2021 in Oklahoma.

“We are thrilled to finally start production on Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma,” Scorsese said in a statement at the time. “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 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.” Filming officially wrapped on October 1, 2021.

Who Is In The Cast Of ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’?

Robert DeNiro
Robert De Niro (Photo: Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)
  • Robert De Niro as William Hale. This is the 11th film collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro. The others are Mean StreetsTaxi DriverNew York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino, The Audition, and The Irishman. De Niro’s character, William Hale, is a powerful rancher who becomes the lead suspect in the FBI’s investigation into the Osage murders.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, William’s morally conflicted nephew. This is 7th film collaboration between Scorsese and Leo. The others are Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Audition. Leo is an executive producer on the film. During the pandemic, Leo and De Niro raised money for charity organizations and offered the highest donor a walk-on role in the movie. The winner spent a full day on set and is invited to the world premiere.
  • Jesse Plemons as lead FBI agent Tom White. Jesse previously starred in the Scorsese film The Irishman. He’s also known for his roles in The MasterBridge of Spies, Vice, Judas and the Black Messiah, and The Power of the Dog. In television, Jesse’s starred in Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and Fargo.
  • Lily Gladstone as Ernest’s wife, Mollie Burkhart. Lily’s notable film roles include Certain Women, Walking Out, and First Cow. She appeared in four episodes of the Showtime series Billions.
  • Brendan Fraser as W.S. Hamilton. Brendan was a last-minute casting addition. He joined the film in August 2021, over three months after filming started. Brendan’s famous films include The Mummy trilogy, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Crash, and Gimme Shelter.

The supporting cast also includes John Lithgow (Footloose), Barry Corbin (One Tree Hill), Katherine Willis (Friday Night Lights), Scott Shepherd (Jason Bourne), Pat Healy (Compliance), Gary Basaraba (The Last Temptation of Christ), Louis Cancelmi (The Irishman), Sturgill Simpson (The Hunt), Tantoo Cardinal (Wind River), and more.

Who Is The Creative Team Behind The Scenes?

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese (Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Martin Scorsese is directing Killers of the Flower Moon. He’s been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director nine times, winning once for The Departed. He wrote the screenplay along with Eric Roth, who won the Oscar for his work on Forrest Gump. Scorsese will also collaborate with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto for the fourth time. The pair’s past works include The Wolf of Wall Street, Silence, and The Irishman. Rodrigo earned Oscar nominations for the latter two films. Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist and songwriter for The Band, composed the score. He’s collaborated with Scorsese seven times before. The creative team also includes production designer Jack Fisk, who is a two-time Academy Award nominee for There Will Be Blood and The RevenantThelma Schoonmaker is reuniting with Scorsese to edit Killers of the Flower Moon.

What’s The Movie About?

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock)

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on David Grann‘s 2017 non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. The film will focuses on the series of murders that took place in the Osage Nation, a Native American tribe, in Oklahoma in the 1920s after oil was discovered on tribal land. The murders, which were masterminded by cattleman William Hale (played by De Niro in the film), attracted the attention of the FBI, who had just recently formed. Scorsese’s movie is expected to give the FBI’s perspective as they investigate the murders.

This is Scorsese’s first Western movie. He talked about the project back in February 2020. “The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it,” Scorsese said in an interview. “Then we discovered oil there and, for about 10 years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita. Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian.”

Some members of the Osage Nation have reacted to Scorsese’s upcoming film. Osage Harrison Shackelford told The Oklahoman that he has mixed feelings about the details of the painful past for the community being brought to life. “I think about it both ways. It was a bad time — a real bad time — for the Osage…and I think this movie is going to bring back a lot of old, bad memories,” he said. “But it’s going to bring back some stuff that needed to be talked about, that needs to be said, that some people know and some people don’t know. And I think it’s going to be good.”

Scorsese visited the Osage Nation in the years leading up to filming. Chief of the Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear was brought onto the film as a leading consultant. He issued a statement when filming started that read, “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. 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!”

What’s The Budget Of The Movie?

Lily Gladstone
Lily Gladstone (Photo: Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Killers of the Flower Moon has a budget of $200 million. That’s par for the course with a Scorsese film. Paramount had the rights to the movie at first but sold it to Apple, similar to what it did with The Irishman which went to Netflix. A factor in Paramount’s decision to sell to Apple was that Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to play Ernest Buckhart, rather than Tom White who he was originally supposed to star as. Paramount worried the film would become “less commercially viable” (per Indie Wire) due to Leo’s casting change, so they shipped the project off to Apple. Leo indeed got the role of Ernest, while Jesse Plemons was cast to play Tom. Killers of the Flower Moon is going to be a can’t-miss film.

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