The Latest Development On Nine Men From Now
The latest development to Paul Schrader’s “neo-meta western,” Nine Men from Now, comes as a bit of a shock. If you haven’t guessed it already, Ethan Hawke, who was allegedly set to co-star alongside Willem Dafoe, has dropped out of the project. Dafoe, a long time collaborator with Schrader, has yet to comment on the project, so we’ll assume he’s still on board.
The film is a somewhat of a remake of Budd Boetticher’s 1956 film, Seven Men from Now, which involves a former sheriff hunting for the seven men responsible for his wife’s death, who encounters a couple heading west for California, and an outlaw he once arrested along the way. Apparently, Schrader has been trying to mount a remake of Boetticher’s film since the 80s, when he first began developing his script.
Schrader is quoted as calling it a “neo-meta Western,” and was interested in having Hawke and Dafoe’s characters become inverted in the film’s third act:
“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.”
Hawke’s absence will not be easy boots to fill, and after seeing him deliver our favorite performance of 2018 (and the best of his career), we admit that we’re a little disappointed that we won’t get to see him shine brightly under Schrader’s care again. However, our disappointment was eclipsed by giddy excitement after hearing Schrader’s evocative update during a recent Q&A:
“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 the pitch. Despite Hawke dropping out of the picture, Schrader’s brief description keeps us holding on to the notion that this western could be something special. We’ll be following the rest of its development closely as new updates come to light.
What do you think? Are you stoked about Schrader’s choice to do a western?! We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and be sure to stay in the Viddy Well loop...because an untied knot is just a string!