EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a fun one uniting three screen greats. Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) and Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) are set to star in Western thriller Dead For a Dollar from legendary filmmaker and Western aficionado Walter Hill (The Warriors).
The film will mark Waltz’s first Western since his memorable performance as Dr Schultz in Django Unchained, for which he won his second Oscar. This time around he’ll also be playing a bounty hunter.
Myriad Pictures is launching international sales for the hot package at this week’s Cannes virtual market.
Hill will write and direct the feature which is set in New Mexico Territory, Chihuahua, in 1897. The story will follow Max Borlund (Waltz), a famed bounty hunter, hired to find and return Rachel Price, the politically progressive wife of Nathan Price, a successful Santa Fe businessman. Max is told she has been kidnapped by an African American army deserter, Elijah Jones, and is being held for ransom in Mexico. When Max goes south of the border he soon runs across his sworn enemy, expatriate American Joe Cribbens (Dafoe), a professional gambler, sometime outlaw, who Max had tracked down and sent to prison years before.
When Borlund finds Rachel and Elijah hiding deep in the wilds of the Mexican desert, he discovers that Rachel has willingly fled from an abusive husband, and the runaway soldier is, in fact, her romantic partner. Max is now faced with a dilemma: does he return the wife back across the border to the man who hired him, or does he aid Rachel’s bid for freedom and fight off ruthless hired guns and his longtime criminal rival.
The project is being produced by Jeremy Wall (Gun-Shy), Kirk D’Amico (The Last Word) and Carolyn McMaster. Matt Harris also wrote on the script.
The project would be Hill’s first as director in five years (since Michelle Rodriguez starrer The Assignment) and only his third in 20 years; Sylvester Stallone starred in 2012 pic Bullet To the Head. The filmmaker is best known for The Warriors, Hard Times, The Driver and the 48 Hours franchise, as well as being a director-producer on the Tales From the Crypt series. It will reunite the filmmaker with Dafoe after they first worked together on Streets Of Fire.
Myriad Pictures president and CEO D’Amico said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with the legendary Walter Hill who has created a Western with contemporary themes and modern feeling characters. Award-winning actors Christoph Waltz and Willem Dafoe will embody the extraordinary leading roles which are destined for cinematic history.”
Waltz is soon to be seen in James Bond movie No Time to Die, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and Jeffrey Walker’s The Portable Door.
Upcoming for Dafoe are The French Dispatch, Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter, del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, Robert Eggers’ The Northman and Yorgos Lanthimos’ upcoming adaptation of Poor Things.
Waltz is represented by IMC Partners and Players Agentur. Dafoe is represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion. Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson and ICM Partners represent Walter Hill.