Here's What It's Like to Live Where a Scorsese Movie Is Shooting

Martin Scorsese in OklahomaCredit: Emma Tillinger Koskoff
How cool would it be to have a Scorsese movie shooting in your hometown? 

It must be very different in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, today. See, the new Martin Scorsese movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, is shooting there, turning this quiet town into a busy Hollywood production. The movie takes place at the turn of the century, and people are wandering around in costume, sets are being decorated, and locations are being scouted. 

"All you need is popcorn and Milk Duds," Kelly Bland, executive director of Osage County Tourism, told The Oklahoman. She continued, "There's an anticipation... There's something exciting on the horizon that's coming and about to happen."

The feeling is mutual. Scorsese said in a statement, "We are thrilled to finally start production on Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma... 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." 

Towns like this rarely get such an influx of money and attention. Movies shooting locally can mean more money spent at restaurants, stores, and funds moving directly into the economy. It can mean more jobs and press. 

Many local shop owners and museum curators said that just having the movie in town has increased people driving in and spending money. That kind of uptick is almost immeasurable now, after a year of pandemic shutdowns. It will have lasting effects, and it's what makes movie production outside of Los Angeles so lucrative for towns. 

But the $200 million movie almost never came to this area. COVID delayed shooting, and there was some local worry that this boost to the economy and viability of the location would suffer.

Pawhuska, Osage CountyCredit: Jim Whiteley

Bland said she was worried when COVID struck and things got delayed, but she told The Oklahoman"In Osage County, we believe in happy endings, and I know that this story is not one of the sort of happy-ending stories. ... But from a tourism standpoint, I feel like if anyone benefits from this movie, I want it to be the Osage Nation, because it was them who've suffered. ... They're getting to tell their story, and they're working directly with the movie company to make sure it's done in a way that needs to be done."

Check out the article for some early behind-the-scenes images!

If you live in Pawhuska, we'd love to hear from you. And if you have had major Hollywood movies shoot in your town, share your experiences in the comments below!      

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