Christoph Waltz & Willem Dafoe To Star In Walter Hill’s New Western

Christoph Waltz and Willem Dafoe are set to put their dusters and cowboy hats on. The two actors have signed on to star in Dead For A Dollar, the new western from legendary director Walter Hill.

The film is set in 1897 in the area of the southwest that would eventually become New Mexico. Waltz will play a famed bounty hunter named Max Borlund, hired by a successful Sante Fe businessman to find his wife, who is said to have been kidnapped by a Black army deserter now holding her for ransom in Mexico.

When Max heads south of the border, he discovers that the woman and her alleged captor are actually lovers who fled from her abusive husband, forcing Max to decide whether to bring the woman back to the States to collect his bounty, or help them escape and fight off other men who have been looking for them.

Dafoe will co-star as Max’s sworn enemy, Joe Cribbens, a professional gambler and part-time outlaw who Max tracked down and sent to prison many years earlier. The two of them cross paths in Mexico, but it’s unclear whether it’s as enemies or as uneasy partners.

Hill’s last film was 2016’s The Assignment, but his prime was in the 70s and 80s, when he made gritty films in a number of genres. The Warriors, 48 Hours, neo-noir rock musical Streets Of Fire, dark Vietnam allegory Southern Comfort, and western The Long Riders are just a few that come to mind.

Frankly, Hill hasn’t made anything of note since the late 80s, but hopefully returning to a classic genre with a couple of throwback movie stars is able to get his career back on track.

The western isn’t exactly coming back into fashion, but there are a number of interesting projects in the genre coming up. One is all-Black western The Harder They Fall, which arrives on Netflix later this year. Also in the works is Chloe Zhao‘s sci-fi western version of Dracula, and Yorgos Lanthimos‘ horror-western The Hawkline Monster.

Most of those have a unique hook to them that sets them apart from the genre itself, so we’ll see if Hill’s throwback can stand out against modern genre mash-ups. The film is being shopped to buyers at the Cannes Virtual Film Market this week.


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