John Carpenter Wants Amy Adams To Star In His "Gothic Western" (In His Dreams)

by Drew Taylor
September 5, 2011 5:16 AM
13 Comments
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It's been well documented how much John Carpenter loves and is influenced by classic westerns – his breakthrough feature "Assault on Precinct 13" was an updated, urbanized version of Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo;" his iconic Snake Plissken character is modeled after the western heroes John Wayne embodied; and his films often share a kind of compositional identity with early westerns with an emphasis on the kind of luxurious widescreen framing that Sergio Leone and John Ford employed. But he's never actually made an honest-to-god western himself, although 1998's mostly forgettable "Vampires," with James Woods playing a grizzled vampire hunter, probably comes closest. Well, if Carpenter has his way, his next film will be the straight up western he's always dreamed of (and he even has casting ideas already).

While speaking at a Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky way back in July, Carpenter did a Q&A with Fangoria Magazine. Slavishly timely, the magazine has just now uploaded the footage to their site (via Bleeding Cool), and with it details of this western have emerged (somewhat).

"I got into this business to make Westerns, and I got tyepcast as a horror director after 'Halloween,'" the ornery filmmaker explained. "My dream was to have a career in directing movies so I went wherever they wanted me to go… I’m right now working on a little gothic Western, we’ll see if we can get it set up. It’s hard to sell Westerns these days, meaning it’s hard to raise money because they’re not real commercial." Somewhere, Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinksi are nodding in agreement.

He also clarified that it wouldn’t be a horror-western, either. "They tried it in the old days, they tried 'Jesse James Meets Frankenstein' and 'Billy the Kid Meets Dracula'… a Western should be a Western."

The project is obviously a long way off, but that didn't stop Carpenter from speculation on who he'd enjoy working with. "Amy Adams…she's an unbelievable actress, what a talent," he said, while accidentally cluing us into the fact that he's a secret "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" fan. "I'd love to work with her," he concluded.

While this project seems a long way off, many are wondering what the story for this gothic western is, exactly. Well, earlier this summer, while talking up his abysmal chicks-in-a-mental-institution thriller "The Ward" with Movieline, he confirmed that the project would center around The Bloody Benders, a notorious group of early American serial killers who ran a general store in Kansas. "They were a family of German immigrants in the 1870s who murdered people along the road, travelers, and took all their money, their horses, their gold teeth, slit their throats, hit them over the head, kept them under the house, and buried them. It’s just incredible," the director colorfully explained.

In the same interview, he outlines the role that he would have Adams play: "…this amazing female character who’s the come-on, she was out there sexually luring them in there." Yowza!

Now, while this does sound like an interesting opportunity for an actress like Adams, we're fairly certain this will never happen in a million years. For one, Carpenter doesn't have the clout he once did. This isn't the genre pioneer that made movies like "Escape from New York" and "Halloween," this is the dude who has spent the last decade selling off the remake rights to his most beloved creations while dabbling in anthology horror television series before returning with a film so poorly received and commercially unsound that it took almost a year for it to make its way from the Toronto International Film Festival to a handful of art house theaters.

We speculate this'll only happen if Adams is a huge Carpenter fan or is dying to make a western, neither of which we see swaying her in the direction of this project. Adams has maintained and carefully manicured her image of a wholesome, all-American girl, and even when she slightly deviates (like the hair-tugging girlfriend in "The Fighter"), she still comes across more as cute than edgy. If The Bloody Benders movie ever happens, it will likely be without Adams.

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13 Comments

  • Leonardo | August 18, 2012 3:57 AMReply

    I Want this movie to happen, with or without Adams, but if she wants to be in it wwould be awesome.

  • Hugh | October 12, 2011 5:43 AMReply

    Amy needs to do some dark stuff. I'd love to see her as Lucy Westenra in Dracula.

  • Jack Ford | September 6, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    Drew: Yeah, that's about as wide as Ford was able to go, and still stay within his comfort zone. For 'proof', check out numerous akward compositions in his "How the West Was Won" segment. Ford was not known for his widescreen framing, and anyone claiming that must be unfamiliar all writings on Ford and his 100+ first features. Also, Caprenters terrific Scope compositions (his gift is still in display in The Ward, btw) have little in common with those Beaver stills you linked to.

    "and his films often share a kind of compositional identity with early westerns with an emphasis on the kind of luxurious widescreen framing that Sergio Leone and John Ford employed".

    Everything else about this sentence is stupid as well. Are you suggesting Leone made some of those "early westerns"? Carpenter has drawn a lot from westerns when looking at his scripts, but "early westerns" are among the last things I think of when looking at his images. I see little comparisons to Leone in his visual works as well, but maybe that's just me.

  • Time | September 6, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    Crows feet and baggy jowls. Yikes. Amy is aging horribly.

  • jesse | September 6, 2011 3:36 AMReply

    SyFy should just hire him to shoot their adaptation of the Oni comic The Sixth Gun.

  • Mark | September 6, 2011 1:34 AMReply

    @Byron Sauer: "Looking back all he has is THE THING, HALLOWEEN & ESCAPE."

    I guess you've never seen ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, THE FOG, STARMAN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THEY LIVE and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS.

    Your loss.

  • Drew Taylor | September 5, 2011 12:14 PMReply

    Yeah... nothing luxuriously widescreen about this shot from "The Searchers"... Oh wait...

    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews22/a john ford john wayne the searchers/new searchers john ford john wayne 3021.jpg

  • Jack Ford | September 5, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Last I checked, John Ford was not known for his "luxurious widescreen framing"...

  • cable guy | September 5, 2011 8:48 AMReply

    Zack - I don't think Amy has an aversion to dark material. She's playing the Benny-addicted wife of William S Burroughs in On the Road. The scenes in the novel where Neil and Jack stay with Burroughs and his wife in New Orleans are quite sad, with them living in squalor, wasted on drugs, with children running feral. Amy Adam's character even has an apocalyptic drug induced vision of a burning New Orleans. I don't know how much of that material will be in the movie but one of the shooting locations was New Orleans....

    She is also in the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master which covers some pretty dark material.

  • jj | September 5, 2011 7:13 AMReply

    the problem is not just that carpenter is working with shitty scripts for decades, it's that his way of filmmaking is simply stuck in the past. sadly I can't imagine that he'll pulla friedkin and produce a few quality movies before his passing.

  • Byron Sauer | September 5, 2011 5:50 AMReply

    Other than a few great standard Carpenter gooses THE WARD was like a poor mans community college production of SHUTTER ISLAND. Looking back all he has is THE THING, HALLOWEEN & ESCAPE. While great for cult status it doesn't present a memorable filmography thirty years later. Craven is another victim of early cult status but he worked his way beyond direct to video hell with SCREAM. Carpenter tried his lucky break with ESCAPE FROM LA but it was the same play for pay drivel that didn't click with mainstream audience in the 90's and everything after was just a slow death in the cineplex. He deserves one more great hit but its not looking promising.

  • Zack | September 5, 2011 5:45 AMReply

    Adams also has apparently turned down a part or two out of distaste for dark material, so that probably doesn't help Carpenter's chances either.

  • Costigan | September 5, 2011 5:32 AMReply

    Love Amy Adams, very attractive and sexy.
    I look forward to seeing her as a cougar Lois Lane in Man of Steel.

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