Osage Nation member cites authenticity, having a voice in Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

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Martin Scorsese‘s latest epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, opens in theaters October 20.

Based on David Grann‘s bestselling book of the same name, the drama stars Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Brendan Fraser, and is set in 1920s Oklahoma, depicting the real-life serial murders of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation.

Dozens of Osage Native Americans were killed between 1918 and 1931 in what became known locally as the Reign of Terror.

Osage Nation member Julie O’Keefe worked as the lead Osage wardrobe consultant on the film, making sure the clothing was historically accurate. She tells ABC Audio that the legendary filmmaker and others went to great lengths to include her people in the process.

“We had eight different consultants on there, and we had linguists and historians,” she explains. “You know, if something needed to be tweaked or wasn’t quite right or something was being said that didn’t quite make sense to us, our team of experts … were allowed to come in and to have a say in that.”

O’Keefe added, “We had so many Osages in our community that worked in it, that were acting, that were in the sewing rooms. And, you know, they really wanted the story told. And so they were bringing in family photos that they’d be showing that no one had ever seen.”

She expressed that Scorsese “set an extremely high bar on authenticity and he surrounded himself with legendary talent to help him achieve the goal. And then he brought us in and allowed us to have a voice.”

O’Keefe adds, “It honors us with a level of authenticity that has not been allowed to other Natives in the past and representation.”

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