Horse Soldiers sounds like a story Steven Spielberg would make with Daniel Day-Lewis, using perfect period detail to enthrall us with tales of brave men riding into battle on trusty steeds. It's not that, exactly, though to will be a true-life story of brave young men galloping into combat, only it will take place in Afghanistan in the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, and it just started putting together its impressive cast.
Horse Soldiers will work from a non-fiction novel by Doug Stanton (which you can order right here), which pit a small band of Special Forces soldiers against Taliban forces on the ground in Afghanistan. The book explains how these brave men battled Taliban forces back into the stronghold city of Mazar-i-Sharif, only to find themselves outnumbered by attackers posing as POWs. The material sounds incredibly cinematic, and Deadline today reported on the actors lining up to join the fight.
Chris Hemsworth will trade his hammer for a rifle when Horse Soldiers gallops into war. The actor has played with both period combat (In The Heart of the Sea) and international espionage (Blackhat), though he has struggled to bring in an audience outside of the Marvel umbrella. Even when he plays against type -- like stealing scenes in the Ghostbusters reboot -- the project gets derided. Could Horse Soldiers break his streak?
Michael Shannon makes every movie better, so simply adding him to the ensemble of Horse Soldiers means that we'll be way more invested in its unpredictable outcome. Shannon thrives in everything from crude comedies to big-budget blockbusters, but he's also extremely picky with his screenplays, so if he's circling this script, it must be decent.
Another Marvel veteran (see him in Ant-Man), as well as a gifted character actor, Michael Pena will suit up for Horse Soldiers alongside his fellow brethren. Pena has been extremely busy as of late, contributing to Collateral Beauty, the CHiPs remake, Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time and the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express remake. But when the cameras roll on Horse Soldiers, he'll be ready.
Deadline finally reports that the last actor signing up for the war drama will be Austin Stowell, a relative newcomer who has impressed recently in films such as Whiplash and Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. This could be a true breakout role for Stowell, and he'll be sharing scenes with some true powerhouses.
Working from a screenplay by Peter Craig (The Town, Blood Father), Horse Soldiers will be directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, a first-time filmmaker making his big screen debut. No word yet on when the film will be released, so keep it locked here for more details. We'll report them as they become available.