Paul Schrader's next film

When last we spoke of Paul Schrader‘s next film, Nine Men from Now, Schrader was hoping that his First Reformed star Ethan Hawke would star alongside Willem Dafoe. Now, Schrader has an update. The film is still happening, but sadly, Hawke is out. But Schrader does have a fun new description of the film: a Western that plays out as if Terrence Malick and David Lynch came in and took a shit on the script. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

During a recent Q&A (via IndieWire), Paul Schrader gave a colorful update on his new Western, Nine Men From Now:

“Basically, if you took a script from 1956 that Budd Boetticher made with Randolph Scott, and you asked Terry Malick and David Lynch to come in and take a shit on the script, you would have the movie I’m making.”

That’s quite a description, and I’m not even 100% sure what Schrader is trying to say there. But I do know I want to see it. The Budd Boetticher Schrader mentions is the director of the Western Seven Men from Now, which Schrader’s film is a remake of. Here’s the synopsis of that 1956 film:

Former sheriff Ben Stride, haunted by the loss of his wife in a Wells Fargo robbery, hunts for the seven men responsible for her death – along the way encountering a couple heading west for California, and an outlaw he once arrested.

Schrader has been trying to mount a remake of Seven Men From Now since at least the ’80s, when he first wrote his script. During the recent Q&A, he also described his film as a “neo-meta Western.” Back in January, Schrader said:

“I have a project I’m working on for both Ethan and Willem [Dafoe], and one character is like Randolph Scott, the righteous lawman, and the other character is the slinky antagonist, the weasel. And so I was thinking, Ethan and Willem have both played both. They’ve both been an upright, they’ve both been weasels. So, which one should play which? Then I realized I could have it both ways, start Ethan out as the righteous one, Willem as the reprobate, and then at the beginning of the third act, flip ’em. So, all of a sudden, nobody in the story actually knows it, but all of a sudden they are playing the opposite roles. Now, I couldn’t do that with an actor who can only really play himself.”

Sadly, Hawke is no longer involved with the project. Dafoe is presumably still a part of the film, though. All of this sounds great – save for the lack of Hawke. The actor gave the best performance of his career in Schrader’s First Reformed, and I was excited over the idea of them working together again. Now we’ll have to see who Schrader hires to replace the actor.

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