Brigands of Rattlecreek

Years before writer S. Craig Zahler made his directorial debut with his ultra-violent western Bone Tomahawk, he sold a screenplay for a different ultra-violent western called The Brigands of Rattleborge, which had Oldboy director Park Chan-wook lined up to direct way back in 2012.

Despite the script being on The Black List in 2006, the project was stuck in development hell for years, but now Amazon has picked it up with a slightly-altered name: The Brigands of Rattlecreek. Park is back in the director’s chair, and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey is being eyed for one of the lead roles. Learn more below.

Collider brings word about the resurgence of this project at Amazon Studios, and they caution that McConaughey isn’t officially cast yet. But he’s being eyed to play one of the key roles in the film: a doctor who teams up with a local sheriff to get revenge on a gang of outlaws “who use the cover of a torrential thunderstorm to rob and terrorize the occupants of a small town.”

Zahler’s most recent movies, Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete, have a real nasty streak running through them. Bone Tomahawk has one of the goriest moments I’ve seen in a movie theater this decade, but it’s also a tightly-plotted drama with terrific dialogue and a heavy focus on character. I read the script for The Brigands of Rattleborge (again, it’s now been changed to Rattlecreek) a few years ago, and it is indeed uber-violent. There are images from that script that are seared into my mind, and it pulls no punches when it comes to its deaths (of which there are many). It’s a story about the cycles of violence, and if you’ve read the script (it’s been floating around online over the past few years), it’s easy to see why it’s taken so long to get made.

But Park Chan-wook is a guy who swings for the fences when it comes to cinematic violence, and since he was interested several years ago and is still on board, this is clearly a project that’s stuck with him. Producer Bradley Fischer is looking for another A-list actor to play the sheriff opposite McConaughey’s doctor (assuming they can get that deal squared away), and I’m very curious to see if this film will make it to screens with that graphic violence in tact or if it some of the more gruesome elements (rape, torture, etc.) will be reined in a bit.

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