The team behind Hell or High Water is reuniting for a new movie project under the Netflix banner. David Mackenzie’s neo-western/crime drama, Hell or High Water was a sleeper hit in 2016, going on to garner four Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture. Telling a powerful story rooted in rural American economic desperation, the film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers who became bank robbers in a last-ditch attempt to save their family ranch. Jeff Bridges got an Oscar nod for playing the dogged-but-sympathetic lawman that pursues the brothers across the wastelands of Texas.
After the success of Hell or High Water, it’s no surprise that Mackenzie has become a highly sought-after filmmaker. The red-hot Mackenzie is even now lining up his next project and it will be a reunion with Pine and Foster that sees the trio journeying as far from modern day Texas as you can possibly imagine.
THR reports that Mackenzie, Pine and Foster are all in talks with Netflix to make Outlaw King, a film about 14th Century Scottish monarch Robert the Bruce and his war of rebellion against English kings Edward I and Edward II. Pine is in talks to play Robert while Foster would play his aide James Douglas. The Scottish Mackenzie wrote the script and the film is set to begin shooting in Scotland in August.
The story of Robert the Bruce has been depicted on film before, most memorably in Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning but historically-questionable 1995 epic Braveheart, which saw Robert playing second-fiddle to Gibson’s William Wallace. In Gibson’s version of the story, Wallace must die a martyr’s death before Robert finds the courage to rise up and lead his people against the forces the English king. It seems certain that the character of Wallace will figure in to Outlaw King, and it will be interesting to see how Mackenzie’s take on the character and his relationship with Robert differs from Mel Gibson’s version.
Though Pine and Foster will be speaking with Scottish accents in Outlaw King, it sounds like they will be tackling similar roles to the ones they played in Hell or High Water. The brothers they played in that film were outlaws and men of action who were willing to go to great lengths in the name of a cause they saw as righteous. Roughly, that same description could be used for Robert the Bruce and his right-hand-man James Douglas, though the setting and time-period are of course wildly different from Hell or High Water.
After his skillful and dynamic direction of Hell or High Water, there’s little doubt that David Mackenzie has the chops necessary to handle a period piece that is sure to feature plenty of epic battle scenes. Outlaw King is just another in a long line of intriguing feature film projects being developed by Netflix, and has the potential to garner more awards consideration for the ever-more-ambitious streaming service.
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