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Osage film ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

The rich true story about the Osage tribe native to Oklahoma is in the process of becoming a film. Director Martin Scorsese, whose movies often incorporate elements of historical fiction, is set to direct the film in Pawhuska, Oklahoma— just over an hour away from ORU’s campus. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro will star in the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in March and debuts in 2021.

It appears that the many volumes of exciting and profound true stories are almost eliminating the necessity for fiction. The non-fiction genre, perfected by Truman Capote with his 1965 novel “In Cold Blood,” is a form that continues today and could be deemed as the highest form of journalism. American journalist David Grann continued the grand tradition of the non-fiction novel with his 2017 release “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.”

“Killers of the Flower Moon” reads much like a compelling fiction story, with multiple brutal killings and a lengthy investigation. The book covers the coordinated murders of over two dozen Osage people for oil money and the investigations involving a newly formed FBI. It explores just how far human greed can travel and how dangerous it can be.

The central character, Mollie Burkhart, grew up with Osage traditions. Her family garnered wealth from oil, and she married a white man. The violence growing around her threatened the upper-class life she was accustomed to.

“In many ways, she straddled not only two centuries but two civilization,” David Grann told fellow novelist Keith Donohue.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a period piece for 1920’s Osage nation. Much like Scorsese’s 2019 film “The Irishman,” this new film is based on a book that contains real characters and events, partially based on objective evidence. Grann’s novel is an expert portrayal of the power in combining research and storytelling.

“I could not have written this book without the amazing holdings at the National Archives,” Grann said, “where I spent hours upon hours researching this largely forgotten chapter in American history.”

This film may join many recent award-winning films also based on true stories. Six of the last 10 Oscar winners for the Academy Award for Best Picture are based closely on real-life events or characters.

Both the compelling tale and the powerful, Oscar-winning cast and crew are not expected to disappoint.