Two of independent country and roots music’s biggest success stories have just been cast in a highly-anticipated upcoming film by legendary director Martin Scorsese. Based in 1920’s Oklahoma and depicting the real life serial murders of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation after crude was discovered on their land, the film Killers of the Flower Moon will tell the story of a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror, and among other things, helped lead to the formation and proliferation of the F.B.I.
Already cast in the film were Leonardo DiCaprio, William Belleau of The Twilight Saga, and Louis Cancelmi who played a semi-blind mobster in Scorsese’s last film, The Irishman. Jason Isbell will portray Bill Smith, who is an adversary of DiCaprio’s character Ernest Burkhart. Sturgill Simpson will play infamous rodeo champion and bootlegger Henry Grammer.
Neither the Sturgill Simpson nor Jason Isbell parts are considered lead characters, but they are definitely part of the primary cast. Sturgill Simpson has appeared in numerous films previously, including the 2019 zombie film The Dead Don’t Die directed by Jim Jarmusch, which he also sang the theme song to. Sturgill also played a police officer in Queen & Slim, and appeared in the controversial film The Hunt from 2020 as the character “Vanilla Nice.” Simpson also appeared in the CBS All Access limited series One Dollar in 2018, which lasted for five episodes.
Killers of the Flower Moon will officially be Jason Isbell’s acting debut, but he did play an extra in the Deadwood movie from 2019, and also played a role in the remake of A Star Is Born, contributing the song “Maybe It’s Time” to the soundtrack, which was a centerpiece of the film.
Robert De Niro has also been tied to the cast of the film, but his role has yet to be confirmed. Apple Original Films is the production company behind the new Scorsese flick. Killers of the Flower Moon was originally a book by David Grann released in 2017.
No further information on the film is available yet since it’s still in pre-production. But stay tuned as news develops for what could be a big opportunity for these two highly-regarded songwriters and performers.