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I’ve been keenly eyeing news on John Hillcoat‘s potential adaptation of The Wettest County in the World, scripted by Nick Cave based on the novel by Matt Bondurant. There’s been significant maybe/hopefully casting news for the film so far, but not much more. Hillcoat seems to have Shia LaBeouf and Ryan Gosling interested and/or attached, and there was word that other actors, like Scarlett Johansson and Michael Shannon, were interested. Now, based on some art from the American Film Market, it appears that the leading female role will go, in an ideal world, to Amy Adams. And the film may just have a slightly shorter and more generic title: The Promised Land.

Collider just ran their final collection of sales art and info from AFM, and way at the bottom of a long post is a rather plain sales sheet for The Promised Land. Unless Hillcoat has come up with another next project for Cave, LaBeouf and Gosling, that’s the retitled Wettest County. I got quite excited that some of these deals were locked in until I read the fine print: “credits not contractual”. So it’s still in the fundraising process and this cast may not come together, though Hillcoat has optimistically talked about shooting this tale of “West Virginia, moonshine, backwoods, and Prohibition” in February 2010. The (sorta) good news: Millennium / Nu Image credits are also on the poster, so there’s some real money going into the film.

Here I am, all up on Hillcoat’s jock, and I haven’t even seen The Road yet. (Missed my screening, catching it tomorrow afternoon.) But I love the guy because he’s making interesting, intense movies for adults. For me, Hillcoat’s films are among those I look forward to every few years, while the obvious tentpoles fill in the gaps and mark the time between. He’s got that long-standing working relationship with Nick Cave, whose work I love, and hires really good actors for meaty, big parts. This looks to be no different, and I’m excited by the idea of Gosling and Adams in this one together. (I haven’t seen The Slaughter Rule, the 2002 film in which they appeared together.)

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