Apple and Paramount team up for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon
Staff Reporter | On 28, May 2020
Apple has boarded Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
The film, based on David Grann’s book of the same name, has been in the works for a while at Paramount, but budget concerns have held the project back. Starting out at Imperative Entertainment, which acquired the book in 2016, Scorsese came on board along with star Leonardo DiCaprio, before taking it to Paramount.
Now, Paramount has turned to Apple to help foot the reported $200m-plus bill, with the tech giant set to be the creative studio for the film, making it an Apple Original production. The deals aren’t yet officially signed off, but sources tell Deadline and Variety that the agreement’s all but closed.
The book, from the author of The Lost City of Z, tells a true-life murder story which became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery.
Paramount will distribute the film in cinemas, at Scorsese’s insistence, after his previous film, The Irishman, was snapped up by Netflix, which gave it a short theatrical run. The deal with Apple, though, is something of a coup for the Netflix rival, giving the fledgling Apple TV+ its biggest movie title so far when it eventually is released as a streaming exclusive on the platform. The deal follows another major move from Apple TV+ to acquire Tom Hanks WWII film Greyhound, after its planned theatrical release was scuppered by the coronavirus lockdown.
The question of when Killers of the Flower Moon can begin production, though, is another matter entirely.