“Hell Or High Water” was one of the more unexpected sleeper hits of the last few years. It’s the kind of low-concept Coen-ish crime picture that plenty have attempted over the years, but few have succeeded at, and when the film debuted at Cannes last year, it was received respectfully, but without many raves.
But the film caught fire with U.S. critics on its release a little more than a year ago, and it went on to be one of the most successful indie films of 2016, and even picked up a brace of Oscar nominations including Best Picture. So the news that the film’s director, David Mackenzie, and star, Chris Pine, are reuniting should be exciting for many people, even if it’s a very different kind of movie.
The duo are working together on “Outlaw King,” a period drama following the famous Scottish King Robert The Bruce (featured as a supporting character in “Braveheart”), and his war against the British. A long-time passion project for Mackenzie, who is Scottish, the film was greenlit by Netflix earlier this year, with Pine starring as the title character, who you can see in the first-look image released by the company today.
The film, likely to be one of Netflix’s bigger projects to date, has been filming for a couple of weeks with a cast also including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Lady Macbeth” breakout Florence Pugh, “Game Of Thrones” actor Stephen Dillane and Billy Howle of “On Chesil Beach,” and we’re intrigued to see how it all turns out when the film opens in 2018 (though a Cannes return is probably unlikely, given the festival’s statements about Netflix movies going forward). Read the full press release below.
London, England (September 8, 2017) – Netflix announced that principal photography has begun in the UK on director David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King. An epic, period drama about the legendary King of Scots Robert the Bruce, the film reunites director David Mackenzie with Chris Pine following the Academy Award® nominated Hell or High Water. Pine stars as Robert The Bruce, alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), Tony Curran (“Sons of Anarchy”), Stephen Dillane (“Game of Thrones”) and Billy Howle (Dunkirk). The feature film is produced by long time filmmaking partners David Mackenzie and Gillian Berrie via their production company Sigma Films, and Richard Brown and Steve Golin of Anonymous Content.
The screenplay written by Mackenzie (Young Adam), Bash Doran (Boardwalk Empire), James MacInnes, Mark Bomback and renowned Scottish playwright David Harrower takes place over the extraordinary historic year when Robert the Bruce fights to regain control having been crowned King of Scots, only to be defeated in a surprise attack and made an outlaw by the English King and his occupying forces.
“I am so happy to have the opportunity to dig deep into the story of Robert the Bruce and to discover some of the truths that often get obscured by legend. This is my sixth feature film shot in Scotland and autumn is my favourite time of year to shoot so I am excited to bring this film to light in the beautiful Scottish elements – come rain, shine, storm or snow. I am proud that our little Glasgow based production company, Sigma films, has been able to make this film and thank Netflix for letting us do it.” commented director David Mackenzie.
He continued: “I am also delighted that Chris Pine, with whom I had a great time on our last film, has joined our Scottish and international cast and crew including the excellent Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the exciting emerging talent of Florence Pugh and Billy Howle. I know Chris will bring intensity and flair to Robert the Bruce and his struggle to take back his country, being crowned King of Scots, then suffering a disastrous defeat and left on the run with just a handful of supporters only to claw his way, with bravery and cunning, back to victory. This was an early form of guerilla warfare against the might of a vastly bigger better resourced enemy and is one of the great comeback stories of history.”
“David’s talent as a filmmaker and storyteller is undeniable. We are excited to be working with him on a project of this scale bringing such a powerful story to life.” said Netflix’s Scott Stuber. “We believe in the universality of this David and Goliath tale, and that it will be enjoyed and appreciated by audiences all over the world.”
Supported by Creative Scotland, shooting will take place in historical locations in Scotland including the last known resting place of the legendary Scottish king’s remains.
The film is slated for release in 2018.