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'Bone Tomahawk' director explains how he got Kurt Russell back on a horse — exclusive poster

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Can’t wait until Dec. 25 and the release of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight to see Tombstone star Kurt Russell in a new western? Not. A. Problem.

Oct. 23 sees the theatrical release of Bone Tomahawk, in which Russell plays Sheriff Franklin Hunt, an Old West lawman attempting to rescue settlers from a group of cannibal savages. So, how exactly did novelist and first-time filmmaker S. Craig Zahler convince the Escape From New York legend to take a leave from his wine business and appear along side Richard Jenkins in what is actually Russell’s first western since Tombstone?

“We were taking the piece around and I said, well, ‘Kurt Russell would be great for Sheriff Hunt,'” Zahler told this writer last year on the blisteringly hot Bone Tomahawk set at the Paramount Ranch, outside Los Angeles. “So it went to Kurt, and he read it, and we had a conversation. He loved the piece, and gave me lots of compliments, and he came onboard.” Just as importantly? “He stuck,” said Zahler. “Richard Jenkins came onboard shortly thereafter. Those two guys were always solid. “

Which was a good thing, given the problems Zahler and the film’s producers, Dallas Sonnier and Jack Heller, had securing finance to put his vision on the screen. “Various financial entities let us know that even a truncated version of this couldn’t be done for three or four times the budget that we’re currently shooting it on,” Zahler explained. “Of course, the most difficult thing to get past is unbelievers, in terms of this sort of stuff.”

In all, it took around two years from Zahler’s initial conversation with Russell before they actually started shooting a film whose impressive cast list also includes Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Sean Young, Lili Simmons, David Arquette, and Sid Haig. 

“Kurt’s support of the piece was unwavering in all its incarnations,” said Zahler “When we were looking at New Mexico, and Utah, and Romania, he was up for all of them. And that’s why it’s getting made.”

You can exclusively see the new poster for Bone Tomahawk below.

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