The period murder mystery is based on a real-life incident and will star Leonardo DiCaprio. Robert De Niro is also believed to be on board the project. Shooting is expected to start either in March or April 2020, Del Brocco said.
“As far as I know, we are the only territory where the film will not be going out in theaters through a major studio,” said RAI Cinema CEO Paolo Del Del Brocco. RAI Cinema is the film unit of Italian pubcaster RAI.
Del Brocco noted that Italy’s Leone Film Group and RAI Cinema jointly acquired Italian rights to “Killers of the Flower Moon” from Imperative Entertainment when it was in the early stages of development by Scorsese and DiCaprio together with Imperative co-founders Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas.
“By going in early we managed to carve out rights for Italy before it was sold to Paramount,” he said. Paramount announced that it would finance and globally distribute the film in June.
Del Brocco said he was “very pleased” that De Niro had come on board the project. He added that Italian production designer and longtime Scorsese collaborator Dante Ferretti is presently in Oklahoma doing prep.
Scorsese’s follow-up to his current award-favorite, “The Irishman,” is an adaptation of true-crime thriller “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann, a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of “The Lost City of Z.”
Rights to “Flower Moon” were snapped up by Imperative in 2016 for a reported $5 million. The script is by veteran Oscar-winning scribe Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).
The story, set in the 1920s, focuses on a string of murders of members of the Osage nation in Oklahoma after oil was discovered beneath their land. The chilling series of slayings was one of the fledgling FBI’s first major homicide investigations.
Scorsese and DiCaprio have previously teamed on “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “The Departed” and “Shutter Island.”
The film will mark Scorsese’s second collaboration with De Niro in a row after “Irishman,” which was their first collaboration in nearly 25 years following the slew of films they did such as “Taxi Driver,” “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas.”
De Niro and DiCaprio previously worked together in 1996’s “Marvin’s Room” and 1993’s “This Boy’s Life.”
Scorsese is producing “Flower Moon” alongside Imperative Entertainment’s Friedkin and Thomas, Sikelia Productions’ Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Appian Way Productions.