Trailer drops for Oklahoma-made 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' featuring murder, mayhem
Judging from the first look, "Killers of the Flower Moon," Martin Scorsese's historical epic filmed in Oklahoma, will lean into the sinister darkness of the chapter of Sooner State history on which it's based.
The long-awaited first teaser trailer for the iconic filmmaker's 1920s fact-based drama debuted Thursday morning ahead of the movie's world premiere Saturday at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France.
The one-minute, 50-second preview is narrated by Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio as his tortured and duplicitous real-life character Ernest Burkhart ominously reads from a children's book on the Osage tribal culture as he rides a train into Fairfax, Oklahoma, in the heart of the Osage Nation.
The teaser highlights Ernest's doomed romance with his wealthy Osage wife, Mollie Kyle (Native American actor Lily Gladstone, who is Blackfeet and Nez Perce), who is targeted along with her oil-rich family and fellow tribal members in what would become known as the "Reign of Terror."
The trailer also offers glimpses of Academy Award winner Robert De Niro as Ernest's villainous uncle, William K. Hale, Oscar nominee Jesse Plemons as upright lawman Tom White and Oscar winner Brendan Fraser as lawyer W.S. Hamilton.
Plus, the action-packed teaser boasts funerals, fisticuffs, shootouts, a fire, an explosion and plenty of foreboding.
Here's what you need to know about "Killers of the Flower Moon":
When will 'Killers of the Flower Moon' be opening in theaters?
Filmed in Osage County and the surrounding area in 2021, "Killers of the Flower" will follow its Cannes premiere by opening in theaters in limited release starting Oct. 6.
Produced by Apple Original Films, "Killers of the Flower Moon," which runs an epic three hours and 26 minutes, will open in wide theatrical release on Oct. 20.
It then will start streaming globally on Apple TV+, although the date of the film's streaming debut has not yet been announced.
Paramount Pictures is teaming with Apple on the eagerly awaited film's theatrical release.
'Killers of the Flower Moon' is based on tragic Oklahoma history
Calling it "a time in American history that should not be forgotten," Scorsese adapted the film from David Grann's 2017 best-seller “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI."
Like the National Book Award finalist, the film chronicles the slayings of Osage Nation citizens in 1920s Oklahoma, after the oil boom made them wealthy. The killings became known as the "Reign of Terror" and led to an investigation by the then-fledgling FBI.
"I know that books can reach a certain number of people, but a movie and a movie of this caliber and size and level of talent ... can help really reach a lot of others," Grann told The Oklahoman in a 2021 interview.
"Obviously, the Osage knew their history ... but there were so many people — and I include myself amongst them — who were just really ignorant of this, because it wasn't something we grew up hearing about or was taught in our classes. So, I hope it's just going to expand that knowledge."
'Killers of the Flower Moon' is an anticipated Oscar contender
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is expected to be a major player in the coming cinematic awards season, with Deadline already declaring Gladstone an "early contender" for an Academy Award.
Directed by Scorsese, a revered filmmaker and Academy Award winner for "The Departed," it is adapted for the screen by Scorsese and Eric Roth, an Oscar winner for his screenplay for "Forrest Gump."
The newly released trailer gives a glimpse of several of the movie's top stars, but the cast also features Oscar nominee John Lithgow, Americana music stars Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson and rising Native American actors Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Tatanka Means and Tantoo Cardinal.
The teaser offers glimpses of period details and Osage culture
With its reported budget of at least $200 million, its star-studded cast and its renowned director, "Killers of the Flower Moon" is believed to be the biggest movie production ever undertaken in Oklahoma.
"I think it has the potential to be a game-changer," said Jeffrey Moore, executive director of the under-construction OKPOP Museum in Tulsa. "'Killers of the Flower Moon' is really tackling a very serious and important piece of Oklahoma history, and to have the names on the creative side that are attached to it is phenomenal. And I really think it's gonna have a huge impact on the state."
Osage Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear named Chad Renfro the tribe's ambassador to the production, and the filmmakers worked with many cultural consultants, local artisans and Osage Nation citizens in the making of the movie. The trailer opens with a group of Osage men dancing for joy as they strike oil.
Although the teaser is just a brief look at the lengthy film, it offers a glimpse into the attention that Scorsese and his team paid to the period details, including the dress of the Osage characters.
"I am happy that the filmmakers took their time in developing the film. We have all been anxiously waiting to see how we will be portrayed, and I trust that our tribal ambassadors and leaders have worked diligently with the filmmakers to ensure that our story is told respectfully," said Russ Tallchief, an Oklahoma-based Osage dancer, performer and writer who danced the Charleston for four days as an extra on the film.
"I'm excited, but also nervous about it. I really want the film to be something special, and I think we're in good hands with Scorsese and DiCaprio."