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Fans of the western genre will no doubt be familiar with The Virginian, either as Owen Wister’s original 1902 novel – the first true western novel written – or for the numerous adaptations over the years. Though the TV series version ran for nine years and expanded on the fiction of the novel, Victor Fleming’s 1929 classic, starring Gary Cooper, remains arguably the most fondly remembered of the cinematic renderings.
Nasser Group North, an offshoot of the production company run by brothers Jack and Joe Nasser, will be sticking to Wister and Fleming’s respective visions when bringing about their own adaptation of The Virginian to the big screen. Variety reports the film will star all-around badass Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and country music star Trace Adkins (The Lincoln Lawyer). Thomas Makowski, who is best known for work on America’s Most Wanted, will direct the feature, and he’ll be using a screenplay written by newcomer Bob Thielke.
The novel tells the story of a tall, dark and handsome stranger - an enforcer for a cattle baron in Wyoming - who takes an unnamed narrator to a ranch hundreds of miles away. Along the way he regales stories of his life. Much of it revolves around a controversial decision involving cattle rustling, as well as the enforcer’s relationship with a schoolteacher. To be sure, there is much corruption, deception and gunplay abound, lest the character-building dialogue get in the way too much.
Perlman, who will be seen later this year in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim and the sixth season of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, will play the cattle baron, and Adkins is set to play the titular enforcer. The Nassers currently have Tyler Shields’ horror Final Girl in post-production, so the film will probably begin shooting in the coming months, as to not interfere with Perlman’s TV work.