Shia LaBeouf, Ryan Gosling Join John Hillcoat’s ‘Wettest County’


It must be hard for director John Hillcoat, whose film The Road has been pushed back and forth by The Weinstein Company more times than any other film since, well, The Weinsteins did it to Kyle Newman’s Fanboys. And for shame, I say, as The Road is a great film and a wonderfully true adaptation of one of Cormac McCarthy’s most iconic works. But even with the film’s quality and almost certain critical praise, it still must be hard for a guy like Hillcoat to move forward on another project without a bit of doubt in his mind.

That said, the folks at Atomic Popcorn are reporting some casting for one future project that I’d like to see Hillcoat take on. Titled The Wettest County in the World and based on a novel by Matt Bondurant, this family saga follows the Bondurants, bootlegging brothers runnin’ stills, runnin’ loads, and runnin’ from the law in Depression-era Virginia.The book is mainly narrated through the experience of the youngest Bondurant, Jack (in truth, a grandfather of the author), and his family’s moonshine enterprise supplies the action in a plot that evokes the culture of distilling and distributing white lightning.

What’s even more interesting is that Hillcoat spilled the beans on casting for two of the brothers Bondurant: Ryan Gosling and Shia LaBeouf. It is a project that sounds like it could be a lot of fun — as Hillcoat describes, it’s all about “west virgin, moonshine, backwoods, and Prohibition.” All of these things make for a good time, if you ask me. And with Hillcoat’s knack for creating a compelling visual environment in his films, I’d say that it is the right kind of project for him. Of course, nothing is official just yet — but we’ll keep an eye on it.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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