Joel Edgerton began making a name for himself with supporting appearances in the Star Wars prequels, King Arthur and Smokin' Aces. He's since established himself as an actor with a machismo, yet emotive, presence in such recent films as Animal Kingdom, Warrior and The Thing; similarly, he plays a SEAL squadron team leader in next week's Zero Dark Thirty and is going to show up as brutish Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby next May.
That's why Edgerton is a favored candidate on the shortlist for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy; though, he has fierce competition in the form of Lee Pace (who's auditioning for the role of rugged human pilot Star-Lord this week). Meanwhile, Edgerton has entered negotiations for another film altogether: the western Jane Got a Gun.
Natalie Portman is producing and starring in Jane Got a Gun, which is expected to begin filming in early 2013; that is, after the Oscar-winner wraps her role in Thor: The Dark World, but before principal photography on Guardians gets underway (so don't count out Edgerton for that Marvel movie just yet). The cast also includes Michael Fassbender - who is expected to make Jane before he reprises his role as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past - with directing duties being handled by Lynn Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin). She'll be drawing from newcomer Brian Duffield's script, which made the Hollywood Black List of best un-produced screenplays.
Here's a synopsis for Jane Got a Gun (via Deadline):
The pic centers on Jane Hammond (Portman), who reaches out to her ex-lover (Fassbender) to help her when her outlaw husband becomes the target of a violent gang. Edgerton would play John Bishop, the leader of the gang coming to kill Hammond’s husband.
Good old-fashioned westerns are rare nowadays; the genre's mostly been subject to subversion in recent years, be it through animation (Rango), genre mashup (Cowboys & Aliens) or pastiche (this month's Django Unchained). Interestingly, the last successful traditional tale set on the old American frontier was the Coen Brother's True Grit, a film that bucks convention by featuring a female protagonist (like Jane); moreover, there are western shades to next year's historical drama Serena, which also features a young woman lead (Jennifer Lawrence, currently an Oscar-frontrunner for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook).
In other words: there's been renewed effort to keep the western alive and relevant in our current age, giving rise to numerous projects that offer potentially innovative spins on the genre's standard tropes; thus, the cream of the crop keep flocking to these films. Count us excited to see the results.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on Jane Got a Gun as the story develops.