Angela Pacenza and her 10-month-old Goldendoodle Kevin would normally take their Sunday morning walk in their own Brady Heights neighborhood. But this was no ordinary Sunday.
“I’m not a big film buff, but it would just be a missed opportunity to not see a big, famous movie shot right here in our hometown,” Pacenza said, with Kevin panting at her feet. “Honestly, I’m just here to see Leo.”
Hollywood came to downtown Tulsa on Sunday and that made it the place to be for dog walks, scooter rides, and unabashed gawking at movie stars.
Director Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, and Jesse Plemons could all be seen Sunday morning for filming at Tulsa’s old Federal Building, the classical revival-style limestone behemoth at the corner of Third Street and Boulder Avenue.
They’re here making the film adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” David Grann’s book about the Osage Reign of Terror, when scores of Osage tribal members were killed or swindled by white criminals looking to get their petroleum wealth.
Longtime friends Alicia Conner-Todd of Tulsa and Rhonda Cunningham of Bixby made a whole girls’ weekend out of celebrity sight-seeing.
The duo rented a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa Downtown Saturday night so they could drink watermelon wine coolers at the rooftop swimming pool and then set their alarms bright and early on Sunday morning.
“We were out here at 7 a.m.!” said Conner-Todd. “We saw DeNiro leaving in his black SUV. He rolled his window down and waved at us and we got it on video.”
Cunningham said the pair are cooking up plans for a future "Killers of the Flower Moon"-related outing.
“It’s so exciting for this to be happening in Tulsa. I hope the movie turns out great. We’re planning on going to the premiere because you just know it’s going to be here somewhere,” she said.
Stephanie and John Shaw came all the way from Dennison, Texas, to see a different Hollywood actor — C. Thomas Howell — at a Saturday event in Tulsa.
But since they were here, they figured why not see what they could see of the Scorsese film being made. So they made a trip through Pawhuska and then hung out in downtown Tulsa.
“I’ve been an English teacher for almost 30 years and have taught 'The Outsiders,' so we really came for that,” Stephanie Shaw confessed.
But they were among the lucky ones in downtown Sunday morning. From their vantage point at Third Street and Cheyenne Avenue, alongside 15 or so others, they watched DiCaprio shuttled to set in full costume only about a third of a city block away.
Much of the filming is also being done in Osage County, including in Pawhuska and Fairfax.
A news release in June about the beginning of principal photography on the Apple Studios film included this statement from Scorsese:
“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 advisers, 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.”