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Michelle Williams Reteams with Reichardt for ‘Meek’s Cutoff’

Kelly Reichardt is in Oregon currently shooting a period pic that has her re-teaming with Wendy and Lucy’s Michelle Williams, and has the filmmaker working with her biggest cast yet additionally working with Dano, Bruce Greenwood (probably suggested by Todd Haynes), Shirley Henderson and Zoe Kazan.

I love how Variety makes a casual, end-of-article mention that is all alarm bells and whistles for us. In a Paul Dano casting update for the James Mangold project, comes word that Kelly Reichardt is in Oregon currently shooting a period pic that has her re-teaming with Wendy and Lucy‘s Michelle Williams, and has the filmmaker working with her biggest cast yet additionally working with Dano, Bruce Greenwood (probably suggested by Todd Haynes), Shirley Henderson and Zoe Kazan. We reported that the filmmaker was fleshing out a Western-themed project, so it looks like she’ll be well-prepared for working in difficult terrain.

Written by Jon Raymond (who wrote on her previous film and Old Joy), the film’s title Meek’s Cutoff is based on the tale with perhaps Gerry-like consequences. The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst, and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.

Two dollars says this will be primed and readied for either an In-Competition or Un Certain Regard slot at Cannes next year. 

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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