Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
The cast of John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County in the World keeps getting more wonderful. Revived from limbo a few months ago, the film was already set to star Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf as the core members of the bootlegging Bondurant family and Jessica Chastain as a close associate. Jason Clarke signed on not long ago.
Now Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman are on board, and Mia Wasikowska, who has been rumored for a few weeks, is confirmed as well.
THR reports from the European Film Market in Berlin where, after a Sundance that was characterized by strong sales, it looks like we can expect to see a lot of dealmaking. In this case, we’ve got an expanding cast for a film that was scripted by Nick Cave based on Matt Bondurant‘s novel / family history of Virginia bootleggers during Prohibition.
Guy Pearce will be “an overly violent deputy who comes down hard on the Bondurants.” Gary Oldman will be “a gangster who engages the boys to deliver alcohol.” Jessica Chastain is ““a big city woman now living in a small town who at one time was mixed up with gangsters.” Mia Wasikowska would be the love interest for Shia LaBeouf.
(My only concern here is that Mia Wasikowska’s participation seemed contingent upon working out her schedule with the Park Chan-wook film Stoker, and I hope that movie hasn’t lost her to this. I want to see her in both, if possible.)
Great to see a mini-reunion from The Proposition, in which John Hillcoat also directed, Nick Cave wrote and scored, and Guy Pearce starred. Nick Cave will be scoring Wettest County as well, and given that his music and writing has massively drawn on lore of the American South and backwoods (pick just about any random song from his catalog, or read the novel And the Ass Saw the Angel, for instance) I can’t wait to hear what he’ll come up with this time.
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In 1928, a pair of thieves accost Bondurant’s real life great-uncle Forrest at his Franklin County, Va., restaurant. They’re after a large cache of bootlegging money and end up cutting Forrest’s throat. The story of his survival and his trek to a hospital 12 miles away has taken on mythical proportions by the time Sherwood Anderson arrives in Franklin County in 1934 to research a magazine piece on the area’s prolific moonshiners. Soon after Anderson’s arrival, two anonymous men appear at the same hospital, one with legs meticulously shattered from ankle to hip, the other one castrated, with the by-products of the deed deposited in a jar of moonshine. The arc of the story lies between the attack on Forrest and that on the two men.