Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Did You Catch All of These Cameos in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’?

Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s latest epic, brings to life the true story of the murders of the Osage people at the greedy hands of William King Hale (Robert De Niro), his nephew Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), and their co-conspirators. Hale & co. conspired to get the oil headrights of the Osage people, particularly Mollie Burkhart (née Kyle) and her family, which Ernest married into. Scorsese and Eric Roth’s script weaves in the origins of the FBI, which investigated the murders of the Osage people, and shines an important spotlight on Mollie (Lily Gladstone).

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Killers of the Flower Moon features a lot of actors you know and love along with some cameos that might be harder to place in its three-and-a-half-hour runtime. Some of these roles are incredibly important to the story overall.

Looking at each of the special cameos and supporting roles in the film, it is easy to see why Scorsese decided to include some of these actors, musicians, and more, and what makes them so impactful. So let’s get into each of the performances and why they help to make Killers of the Flower Moon a masterpiece.

Tatanka Means with a winning performance

Tatanka Means in Killers of the flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

Comedian and actor Tatanka Means appears later in Killers of the Flower Moon, and he’s instantly a character you love and want to know more about. Means plays John Wren, part of the federal team that comes to Oklahoma to investigate what is going on with the Osage people. What is fascinating about Wren is that he comes in and befriends the Osage people by saying that he has Osage blood, and tries to get in with them for answers.

When the FBI comes to Fairfax, there is a shift in the tone of the movie and part of that comes from Means’ performance. He has a lighter energy and it is just wonderful to see him in a Scorsese film. Fans know him from his work as a comedian, and his appearances in Reservation Dogs and I Know This Much Is True.

A lot of musicians

Sturgill Simpson in Killers of the Flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

There are a lot of musicians in Killers of the Flower Moon—specifically country musicians, possibly because Scorsese treated the film as the western he long wanted to make. Jack White appears towards the end of the movie as one of the radio show performers (alongside indie filmmaker and New York staple Larry Fessenden). Really, I didn’t realize it was Jack White until after I left the movie.

Sturgill Simpson stars as Henry Grammer, the moonshiner who King and Ernest often deal with to find men to do their dirty work. Simpson also recently appeared in The Creator. Fellow country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell plays Bill Smith, the man who married two of Mollie’s sisters.

Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn plays Acie Kirby, the man hired to blow up the home of Bill Smith and his wife, Rita Smith. There’s also a cameo from harmonica and blues legend Charlie Musselwhite. It is great to see so many musicians in the movie, and the size and impact of their roles is surprising.

Bringing in Osage actors

Yancey Red Corn in Killers of the Flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

There were 62 roles for Osage people in Killers of the Flower Moon, the majority of which were filled by Osage actors—including Everett Waller, Talee Redcorn, and Yancey Red Corn, who all took roles as council members for the Osage people. At one point in the film, Waller gives a speech about his people and what they’ve gone through. According to The New York Times, many of the Osage actors were found during an open casting call, and Waller specifically was cast because of his daughter, who heard they were looking for a man with longer hair.

“[Waller]’s daughter actually came through and she knew I was looking for a gentleman with long hair,” said casting director Rene Haynes. “I told her that if she could get him to come in, I’ll let him skip the line because I’d love to meet him.”

Waller is the chairman of the Osage Minerals Council. Yancey Red Corn has been very open and honest about his time on the film after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. And Talee Redcorn is an Army veteran who is currently on the 3rd Osage Minerals Council.

A courtroom full of icons

Robert de Niro sitting next to Brendan Fraser in Killers of the Flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

Brendan Fraser, fresh off an Oscar win for his work in The Whale, appears later in Killers of the Flower Moon, joining the film in a third act that’s packed with star power. While Jesse Plemons’ role is more substantial, he does come into the movie at the nearly two-hour mark as Tom White, a former Texas Ranger sent by J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the murders of the Osage people. Because of his investigation, William King Hale is tried in a court of law for some of the murders.

The third act brings us some brilliant actors, including Fraser as W. S. Hamilton, Hale’s lawyer and a man who loudly proclaims he’s representing Ernest, too—even though Ernest doesn’t know what’s going on and thinks he’s testifying against his uncle. In that same sequence of events, we also get to see John Lithgow as Prosecutor Leaward. They’re both later additions to the movie, but still powerful parts that are important to the final act.

Scorsese lands a powerful punch

Martin Scorsese and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon
(Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

In the final moments of Killers of the Flower Moon, the story switches to a radio play about the FBI’s involvement in Oklahoma. We see an all-white cast performing the story we just witnessed, a commentary in its own way of how these stories are told. It is here that we see Jack White as well as Scorsese’s longtime friend and horror legend Larry Fessenden. This section is also how we learn what happens to Hale, Ernest, and the case as a whole. As the story comes to an end, a special guest gets up to tell the end of Mollie Burkhart’s story. That person is Martin Scorsese, and it’s a rare meta moment of a filmmaker directly commenting on his work as it is happening.

To be quite honest, it is breathtaking. I gasped when I realized who was walking on stage and cried instantly. Scorsese has cameos in quite a few of his own films, but this one is particularly special.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures / Apple Original Films)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.