Based on the 2017 eponymous novel written by David Grann, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is a period Western crime movie co-written and helmed by the famous Martin Scorsese (known for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Shutter Island,’ ‘The Irishman,’ and ‘Goodfellas‘). Set in the 1920s, the narrative revolves around the serial murders of the members of the Osage tribe under mysterious and suspicious circumstances.
Known as the Reign of Terror, the string of brutal crimes against the community sparks a major FBI investigation with 29-year-old J. Edgar Hoover at the helm along with Tom White, an ex-Texas Ranger who is described as an old-style lawman. The epic drama film takes place in Oklahoma, which begs the question — Was it shot on location or did the filming unit utilize another location to make it stand in for Oklahoma? Well, we have gathered all the necessary details regarding the same to get rid of your curiosities!
Where Was Killers of the Flower Moon Filmed?
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ was filmed in its entirety in Oklahoma, primarily in Osage County, Washington County, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. Originally, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the cast were expected to start shooting in February 2021 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it got delayed indefinitely. After a few months, principal photography for the drama film finally commenced in April 2021, and a few weeks into the production, Robert De Niro suffered from a quadriceps muscle injury off-set and went back to New York City to get himself treated.
However, production was not delayed as De Niro’s remaining scenes were shot in June 2021, after he was fit again. After an intense six months of filming, it got wrapped up in early October 2021. Interestingly, given its budget of $200 million, the movie is considered to be the most expensive one ever shot in the landlocked state. So, without wasting any time, let’s go back in time and get a detailed account of all the specific locations where the murders of the Osage tribe take place in the crime movie!
Osage County, Oklahoma
Since a majority of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is set in Osage County, the production team decided to shoot most of the scenes on location in order to maintain the authenticity of the tale as well as provide the viewers with an immersive experience. The city of Pawhuska and the town of Fairfax are a couple of locations that served as the primary filming sites. The director and his team took over the former, which was the site where most of the murders took place. In order to capture the city in the right light, they transformed several locales of Pawhuska accordingly.
In particular, a two-block section of Pawhuska’s Kihekah Avenue was shut down for the public for two and a half months, while the local business owners were compensated for the closures by Apple Studios. For instance, Gypsy Cowgirl, on the north end of Kihekah Avenue in Pawhuska was transformed into Gardener Flower and Plant Shop while Pawhuska Marketplace at 709 Kihekah Avenue was turned into a men’s tailoring shop called Bright Ruddy’s for the film. While several buildings in Downtown Pawhuska were painted and dressed to look like the time, there were a few that didn’t need any changing whatsoever.
The vast area of Osage County’s historical and privately owned Drummond Ranch is where the houses of two important characters and a part of the town of Gray Horse in the drama film were reconstructed. As for Fairfax, the town was turned into a film set by the filming unit of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ as they taped most of the scenes involving Rita Smith’s house as well as the bank and home bombing scene.
Pawhuska during the filming of "Killers of the Flower Moon." The streets were covered with dirt and the town was returned to 1920 and stood in for Fairfax where the murders mostly happened. As many as 200 Osage may have been killed. pic.twitter.com/Crn1bh90Su
— Stevie Joe Payne 🟧 (@StevijoPayne) August 6, 2022
The filmmaker Martin Scorsese opened up about shooting the movie on location in a news release statement, “…To be able to tell this story on the land where these events took place is incredibly important and critical to allowing us to portray an accurate depiction of the time and people. We’re grateful to Apple, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, and The Osage Nation, especially all our Osage consultants and cultural advisors, as we prepare for this shoot. We’re excited to start working with our local cast and crew to bring this story to life on screen and immortalize a time in American history that should not be forgotten.”
Other Locations in Oklahoma
The filming unit of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ even took the production to several other locations across Oklahoma, including Bartlesville. Situated in Washington County, the city served as another base filming location for the cast and crew members as they constructed a few sets in a hangar rented from the city airport. Furthermore, the city of Tulsa in the eponymous county is where the US Federal Courthouse scenes were shot.
The production team also utilized the facilities of Prairie Surf Studios at 1 Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City for the purpose of filming several key portions. Sprawling across 1.3 million square feet, the film studio complex is home to five flexible and clearspan sound stages, production support offices, mill space, and all other necessary amenities to meet the production needs of the filmmakers. Thus, these features make it a suitable filming site for different kinds of productions, including ‘Killers of the Flower Moon.’
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