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In the modern world of indie horror, one of the most recognizable names you’ll hear is Ti West, a director who has proven to be an expert in atmosphere with his last few projects. (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever not included.) While we await his next film, The Sacrament, to hit theaters next month, news has already broken for his next pic, which is not only something of a genre shift but also has highly recognizable faces in it. None other than John Travolta and Ethan Hawke are in negotiations to star in West’s In a Valley of Violence.
Details about the flick are scarce, but it’s described by THR as a "revenge Western film set in the 1890s." Sounds like a movie better meant for Quentin Tarantino than a horror guy, but perhaps this will be John Travolta’s umpteenth return to the pop culture limelight. What do they call Big Macs in the old West?
With a script written by West, this is the latest microbudget effort from Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions shingle, which probably means its marketing funds will match the production’s. This will be Travolta’s first time working with the producer (and his first time joining a potential horror in decades), but Hawke knows him well, having starred in 2012’s creepfest Sinister and last year’s "why did you just let that guy in the door?" thriller The Purge, both of which earned their original budget back many times over.
Adding West’s name to the equation could make for an even more successful release, as his films The Innkeepers and House of the Devil are consistently tense and never become stupid or unrealistic. Even though it’s being presented as a western, I can’t imagine he’ll completely stray from his roots, and I expect the "revenge" side of things will be fairly dread-filled.
Travolta was hardly seen recently in Mark Steven Johnson’s dramatic actioner Killing Season last year, or his appearance on TV Land’s sitcom Kirstie. Here’s hoping more will show up for Philip Martin’s crime thriller The Forger with Christopher Plummer, which wrapped production late last year. He’s also set to play John Gotti, Sr. in Joe Johnson’s John Gotti biopic if that ever gets underway.
Hawke, when he isn’t driving cars with GoPro cameras in Getaway, is ready to deliver Richard Linklater’s time-spanning Boyhood as the second punch in his dramatic 1-2 combo, following last year’s Before Midnight. He’s currently reteaming with Gattaca director Andrew Niccol for Good Kill, and will be seen later this year in the Spierig brothers’ sci-fi thriller Predestination and the modern-day Shakespeare adaptation Cymbeline.
But before all that is West’s cultish found footage faux doc The Sacrament, which comes out on May 1. Don’t drink the Kool Aid but watch the trailer below.