Bonnie & Clyde aficionados will have a field day with Netflix’s upcoming The Highwaymen, a new take on the notorious Depression-era killers that chronicles the much-examined crime spree from the perspective of the lawmen who hunted down the bank-robbing lovers.
Today Netflix released the first trailer for director John Lee Hancock’s film – which stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson – and the filmmaker’s approach is an interesting one: As new crime-busting techniques are changing the face of law enforcement, courtesy of the fledgling FBI and technological advances like airplane surveillance, the hunt for Bonnie & Clyde is spearheaded by a couple old-fashioned “cowboys,” in the words of Texas governor Ma Ferguson (Kathy Bates).
Actually, those cowboys are the former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson). Hamer was played in the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde by Denver Pyle with a decidedly villainous sneer.
Here’s the Netflix logline for the new movie: “The outlaws made headlines. The lawmen made history. From director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), The Highwaymen follows the untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. When the full force of the FBI and the latest forensic technology aren’t enough to capture the nation’s most notorious criminals, two former Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) must rely on their gut instincts and old school skills to get the job done.”
With true-crime devotees having made a sub-specialty out of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, any new depiction will no doubt get a thorough going-over. The trailer’s depiction of a much-disputed incident – Bonnie shooting a wounded patrolman execution-style – promises that The Highwayman will no doubt stir the same kind of did-that-really-happen debates that greeted Arthur Penn’s brilliant Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway version.
In addition to Costner and Harrelson, The Highwaymen also stars Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch and Kim Dickens. Hancock directs from John Fusco’s script, with Casey Silver producing and Michael J. Malone, John Lee Hancock, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner and Rod Lake exec producing.
The Highwaymen opens in exclusive theatrical engagements March 15 and launches globally on Netflix March 29.
Take a look at the trailer above and let us know what you think.