There was a point earlier this year when it looked like we might see John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County by the end of the year. The Weinstein Company picked up the film, originally called The Wettest County in the World, at Cannes, and it seemed reasonable to assume that a bootlegging tale from the director of The Proposition and The Road starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf might be a solid year-end release.
But the Weinsteins, focused as ever on awards season, have already pegged The Artist, The Iron Lady and My Week With Marilyn as the company’s year-end contenders. So The Wettest County is now set to arrive in April 2012.
The specific date is April 20, 2012, which means the film will face thin competition from Scary Movie 5, the Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace ‘Taken in space’ movie Lockout, and The House at the End of the Street, starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Even with the push to 2012, I can’t be too upset about the date. There was a point when we thought this movie wasn’t going to happen at all, then it came back from the dead at the end of 2010.
The film is based on a script by musician and The Proposition writer Nick Cave which, in turn, is based on The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant. The book tells of Bondurant’s own grandfather and great-uncles, who ran a depression-era moonshine/bootlegging business. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBoeuf are joined by Jason Clarke as the leads, the bootlegging Bondurant brothers. Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Guy Pearce, and Gary Oldman round out the cast. Quite a lineup.
I’m not particularly concerned about the movie’s award chances, so the April release will do. Here’s the rundown of the book:
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.