It’s been a good long while since the name Walter Hill got people excited. Sure, you’ll see his name under the word “producer” on Alien movies, but as a director? Well, it’s been a minute. Long gone are the days of The Warriors, The Driver, and 48 Hours. Looking through his filmography from the last two decades, one bright spot stands out amid the little-seen action movies The Assignment and Bullet To The Head: the Deadwood pilot. Hill knows westerns and has made quite a few of them, which is what makes his next project so exciting.
Per Deadline, Hill is assembling a posse consisting of Willem Dafoe and Christoph Waltz for Dead For A Dollar, a new western written and directed by Hill. It would be his third movie in the last 20 years, following the aforementioned pulpy fare from 2012 and 2016. And given the talent on board, we’re raising the “Walter Hill interest watch” to a respectable seven out of 10.
Deadline also dishes on the plot:
The story will follow Max Borlund (Waltz), a famed bounty hunter, hired to find and return Rachel Price, the politically progressive wife of Nathan Price, a successful Santa Fe businessman. Max is told she has been kidnapped by an African American army deserter, Elijah Jones, and is being held for ransom in Mexico. When Max goes south of the border he soon runs across his sworn enemy, expatriate American Joe Cribbens (Dafoe), a professional gambler, sometime outlaw, who Max had tracked down and sent to prison years before.
When Borlund finds Rachel and Elijah hiding deep in the wilds of the Mexican desert, he discovers that Rachel has willingly fled from an abusive husband, and the runaway soldier is, in fact, her romantic partner. Max is now faced with a dilemma: does he return the wife back across the border to the man who hired him, or does he aid Rachel’s bid for freedom and fight off ruthless hired guns and his longtime criminal rival.
Waltz is a bounty hunter? Dafoe a professional gambler and “sometime outlaw”? Yes. Yes, we would like some of that, thank you—definitely a seven on the Hill watch. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for this Assignment to get a Bullet In The Head, but had Hill made a movie called “Cautiously Optimistic,” we’d squeeze that title into this sentence right about here.