Paul Schrader Wants to Make a Western With Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe
Speaking at the Critics' Choice Awards, where he won Best Original Screenplay for "First Reformed," Schrader said he's working on a western called "Nine Men From Now."
As Schrader wrote in Film Comment in 2000, "'Seven Men from Now' is, for me, the quintessential Western ... [Director Budd] Boetticher was deeply invested in the symbolic hero... He saw his protagonists as matadors: alone in the hot sun, figures of grace and style surrounded by noise and danger."
He also described the two main characters to Deadline: "One character is like Randolph Scott, the righteous lawman, and the other character is the slinky antagonist, the weasel... 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."
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Dafoe has worked with Schrader before, including in 2016's "Dog Eat Dog."
"First Reformed" is Hawke's first film with Schrader; For his role as a conflicted minister, he's received a number of critics' awards and an Independent Spirit Award nomination. And he's already proved he's at home in westerns with "In a Valley of Violence " and the remake of "The Magnificent Seven," both in 2016.
The two actors previously costarred in the 2009 vampire flick "Daybreakers." And they've both been busy on the awards circuit this year: Hawke for "First Reformed" and Dafoe for his portrayal of Vincent van Gogh in "At Eternity's Gate."
It's possible we'll see all three men at this year's Oscars, but if not, we're here for this western.