The filmmaker explained that as each attendee of the dinner stood up to speak, he “realized this is the story right here. This is the one.” Scorsese said the representatives of the Osage Nation he met with “spoke about what it was like and how the members of their families suffered and were killed, and yet these two people that the film is about were in love.” Former Osage Chief Jim Gray spoke about the meeting to RogerEbert.com, recalling that he asked the filmmaker to let the descendants of those impacted by the murders help him. “We want you to make the film that everyone in your industry and the world will point to in the future and say, ‘That’s the one they got right,'” Gray told the outlet.
Scorsese said he came away from the meeting understanding that the story was about love, murder, land, and greed, and said, “For me, it was [about] immersing ourselves in that world. And the only way to do it was to go there, and be there, and stay there, and be with the Osage.” Star Lily Gladstone has spoken about how the film changed with the guidance of the Osage Nation, and Scorsese acknowledged “the big change” to the script when he spoke to DiCaprio at CinemaCon. “My interest was in, as a human being, how some of these guys, some of these people within the story could have done what they did, and yet at the same time accepted in themselves,” he said, referring to historical figures involved who claimed to love the Osage people, including DiCaprio’s character, Ernest Burkhart.