Spanish director Mateo Gil’s look at the last days of Western legend Butch Cassidy, Blackthorn, has been picked up for distribution. The film made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is set to play at Cannes as well, but Magnolia Pictures has already scooped it up and is prepping it for a theatrical release later this year. The film stars Sam Shepard, who is no stranger to screen westerns, as Cassidy, and sees him supported by names such as Stephen Rea, Eduardo Noriega and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau.
This is Gil’s first English language film, and the first feature length film that he has directed at all in 12 years. He is a prominent screenwriter, however, and has written things you might have heard of like the Javier Bardem film The Sea Inside, and the basis for Vanilla Sky called Abre los ojos. Why is Magnolia taking a chance on this film? The man who negotiated the deal, Tom Quinn, explains, “With an amazing cast and incredible locations, Mateo Gil has created a Western for the ages. Sam Shepard is unforgettable as Butch Cassidy, with a command performance that is a high point in an amazing career.” That sounds exciting to me, but I imagine that Magnolia picking up this film has a little something to do with the fact that True Grit just made a jillion dollars at the box office as well. Is this some early indication that the Coens’s success in the Western genre could be bringing us a new swarm of cowboy adventures? I kind of hope so. It beats more super heroes. [THR]