By Travis Johnson

Variety is reporting that veteran director Sir Ridley Scott has signed on to direct an adaptation of S. Craig Zahler’s Western novel, Wraiths of the Broken Land, with The Martian writer Drew Goddard handling script duties.

If the author’s name sounds familiar, it may be because Zahler recently made his own directorial debut on the excellent Western horror, Bone Tomahawk, which saw Kurt Russell’s steely sheriff and Patrick Wilson’s crippled rancher take on a tribe of degenerate cannibals. Wraiths sounds just as grim: a gang of brutal outlaws are enlisted to rescue two sisters from sex slavery in a gentlemen’s club. The book is apparently pulpy and violent as all get out, which could make for a good screen experience.

Or not. Ridley Scott is one of the most punishingly uneven filmmakers currently working. He’s fresh off the success of one of his best films in years – The Martian – and is following it up with a sequel to one of his worst (Alien: Covenant, following on from the pretty but dumb as a stump Prometheus); essentially, any given Scott project could go either way. Factor in that Scott has a habit of snapping up rights and sitting on them for years without moving into production (we’re still waiting on our Forever War movie) and what the news amounts to is Ridley Scott Might Make a Western Some Day. Still, we live in hope.


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