By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 29, 2014 at 8:18PM
One film you can expect to see on the fall film festival circuit--as Telluride and Toronto duke it out for World Premieres-- is John Maclean’s 19th-century western "Slow West." Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave," "X-Men: Days of Future Past"), Kodi Smit-Mcphee ("The Road," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"), Ben Mendelsohn ("Killing Them Softly") and Caren Pistorius (Australian TV series "Offspring") star in the British director's feature debut, which was shot in Scotland and New Zealand (filling in for Colorado). Fassbender has starred in two Maclean shorts; see the trailer for their 2012 BAFTA-winning "Pitch Black Heist" below.
In "Slow West," 17-year-old Jay Cavendish (Smit-McPhee) treks from the Scottish Highlands to the American West searching for his lady love. He pays a mysterious traveler (Fassbender) to protect him. The film is produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films ("The King’s Speech," "Shame," "Tracks") and Rachel Gardner of Rachel Gardner Films, with Fassbender stepping up for the first time as producer with Troika agent Conor McCaughan. Their production shingle DMC Film, founded in 2010, first produced "Pitch Black Heist"; also coming up is Formula One 50s racing flick "Garagistas" as well as videogame-inspired "Assassin’s Creed" (BBC Films, Ubisoft, New Regency Pictures). Fassbender's other indie films include Leonard Abrahamson's "Frank" (August 22), which debuted at Sundance, fall Weinstein Co. Oscar hopeful "Macbeth," directed by Justin Kurzel, and an untitled Terrence Malick project.
Developed and co-financed by Film4 with the BFI, the New Zealand Film Commission and Fulcrum Media Finance, "Slow West" was shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan ("Wuthering Heights" and "Philomena"), designed by Kim Sinclair ("Avatar," "Man Of Steel") with costume designs by Kirsty Cameron ("Whale Rider") and make-up by Dannelle Satherley ("The Hobbit").