Here’s a film worth keeping an eye on – Caliber Media’s Bone Tomahawk. Newcomer screenwriter S. Craig Zahler will be making his directorial debut with the film – and will do so with a killer cast. Kurt Russell, Peter Sarsgaard, Richard Jenkins and Jennifer Carpenter are all locked to lead what’s being described as a “brutally violent” horror-Western.
Russell will play a sheriff who teams up with Jenkins’ “befuddled oldster,” Sarsgaard’s cowboy and a yet-to-be-cast gunslinger in order to save a group of captives – which includes Carpenter – from being some cannibalistic cave dwellers’ next snack. The high-profile cast is clearly going to attract quite a bit of attention – but, of course, it’ll all come down to what Zahler’s able to do with them. Even though he doesn’t have a single directing credit to his name, his resume suggests he’s got significant potential all around.
Not only is Zahler responsible for the script The Brigands of Rattleborge - which made its way to the top of the 2006 Black List and into the hands of Park Chan-wook and Red Granite Pictures – he also recently sold two specs, so he’s clearly got some prime material to offer. And there really couldn’t be a better time for a piece like Bone Tomahawk: With Django Unchained and The Lone Ranger amongst the more anticipated upcoming releases, and death-by-cannibal horror moving in on death-by-slasher and death-by-demon territory, the industry (and public) is ripe for a horror-Western.
Even with zero directing experience, Zahler could be better off than most, thanks to a handful of cinematography credits. Zahler’s shot two features and two shorts – all experiences that could have turned him into a director with a keen eye for striking visuals. Pair that with the fact that the guy knows how to tell a story and has a top-notch cast in the palm of his hand, and we really could get a horror movie that’s truly character-driven, with terrifyingly striking imagery.
As reported by Variety, Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales at the American Film Market, but has already sealed a major deal in France in the mid-six figures – a nice chunk of cash that could go towards production when filming kicks off, possibly in the spring, in New Mexico.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of Bone Tomahawk as it goes through the production pipeline.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff