Sapulpa elementary student cast in “Killers of the Flower Moon”

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(SPS) — Jefferson Heights Elementary is buzzing with news of a local “celebrity.” Kindergartner Kinsleigh McNac made her silver screen debut in the Martin Scorsese film “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Kinsleigh McNac

The film is important to Oklahomans, and was filmed right here in Green Country. It depicts the murders of members of the Osage tribe for their oil land in the 1920s. The film stars many Indigenous Oklahomans, Kinsleigh among them. She’s enrolled in the Mvskoke tribe, but her family tells us she is also Yuchi, Seminole, and Sac and Fox.

“There’s so much history in the movie. This movie is bringing about the traditions with our Native Americans– what good people they are and what they brought to Oklahoma,” said Gina Ritchie, Jefferson Heights Elementary Principal. 

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Kinsleigh’s mom, Nikki, says the family answered an open casting call online. The casting agent called, saying “Marty (Martin Scorcese, the director) is smitten with Kinsleigh, and he loved her audition video.”

At age three, Kinsleigh was cast in the role of Elizabeth, the oldest daughter of Ernest and Mollie Burkhart (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone). Kinsleigh, now six at the time of the movie’s premiere, remembers coloring on the set. However, Nikki says a memorable part of filming is when Kinsleigh was supposed to say an Osage word for “candy.” Instead, she says, Leonardo DiCaprio picked Kinsleigh up, and she didn’t end up saying her line.

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“She learned how movies are made, how many takes it really requires to get different shots from around the room,” said Nikki. “Mainly just how to be comfortable around new people and trusting the people around her. They just let her do her own thing and everything shown in the movie was her own personality.”

Nikki tells us DiCaprio and Scorsese were great with Kinsleigh, making her feel at home. She says Kinsleigh was very comfortable around Gladstone and the two had an amazing chemistry. Kinsleigh also got the opportunity to meet Indigenous actors on set.

“We’re so proud of her. We announced her at our last Rise and Shine and had her come up,” said Ms. Ritchie. “We are just so excited. It’s a big deal to be in a big movie like that.”

The family has received a call about a potential new role, but the location and timing weren’t quite right.

“Hopefully the right thing comes around,” said Nikki. “It will always be up to her if she wants to pursue acting further.”

Meanwhile, Kinsleigh’s just busy being a kindergartner! 

“It’s an excellent movie, and she did a wonderful job,” said Ms. Ritchie.