Few saw the success of last year’s “Hell Or High Water” coming. Similar films — like “Out Of The Furnace,” which was arguably much starrier — had underperformed at the box office, Chris Pine has rarely proven a draw outside the “Star Trek” franchise, and director David Mackenzie was mostly unknown. Even at Cannes it was slightly overlooked, though politely received.
But on its release last August, it received great reviews from U.S. critics, and became a sleeper hit, ending up as one of the biggest-grossing independent films of 2016. And it even went on to become an awards hit, winning multiple Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. So the news that the director and two of the cast are reuniting should be a big one, though it’s for a very different project and, as is increasingly becoming the norm, it’ll be a Netflix movie rather than a theatrical job.
Deadline have revealed that Mackenzie will write and direct “Outlaw King,” a period drama about the Scottish king Robert The Bruce, with Pine locking down a deal to take the lead role, and his “Hell Or High Water” co-star playing his chief advisor James Douglas. As some of you might know, there’s some crossover with “Braveheart” here — Bruce was a character in Mel Gibson’s Best Picture winner, as played by Angus Macfayden, but he’s interesting far beyond that, with Mackenzie (who is Scottish) set to the story of Bruce’s battle against the English, and his romance with Irish noble Elizabeth de Burgh.
Mackenzie has passed on a number of other big gigs, including a project called “The Brotherhood” that might have starred Michael Fassbender and Margot Robbie, to make his passion project happen, and Netflix will begin shooting the project in August presumably ahead of a 2018 debut. It’s another high-profile get for the streaming service, though it’ll obviously be a shame not to see something with this sort of sweep in theaters. As for Pine and Foster, it’s an interesting choice of projects for them, though we’re sure Scottish readers will be a bit pissed off — and skeptical — about the choice of two Americans to play key figures in the country’s history. Particularly if they can’t pull the accents off…