Martin Scorsese is eyeing a project that would reunite him with two of his greatest collaborators: Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. The creative team is circling an adaptation of David Grann‘s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI scripted by Munich and Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenwriter Eric Roth. Killers of the Flower Moon chronicles the murder of several members of the Osage Indian nation after they discovered rich deposits of oil beneath their land and the bungled FBI investigation that followed.
Deadline reports that Imperative Entertainment landed the rights to Grann’s book last year for a cool $5 million in a bidding war, and now they’re eying the Scorsese/De Niro/ DiCaprio trio as their first choices for the project. Nothing is set at this point and no one has signed on, but the report state the trio are “seriously considering it.” Before the project sold, DiCaprio’s Appian Way and J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot were attached.
Scorsese and De Niro have been developing The Irishman at Netflix, but the film is facing ballooning budgets and possible legal woes. As always, Scorsese has a lot of irons in the fire, including a possible collaboration with Di Caprio on Devil in the White City, and possible biopics for Leonard Bernstein, Evel Knievel, Mike Tyson, and the inventors of the Rolls Royce. Scorsese recently abandoned his long-developed Frank Sinatra biopic after running to conflict with the crooner’s family over some of the less savory elements of his memory.
Here’s the official synopsis for Killers of the Flower Moon via Random House Publishing:
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. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.