STARRING Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Patricia Arquette, Sam Elliott, Penélope Cruz
DIRECTED BY Stephen Frears
British director Frears (The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons) tries his hand at a tale Sam Peckinpah tried to make for years, about two hard-living men of the prairie (Harrelson and Crudup) and the beautiful woman (Arquette) who comes between them. Set in Hi-Lo, N.M., after WWII, the film chronicles the waning days of the American West. ”It was an odd time to be a cowboy,” says Frears. ”They still had their toughness, but there wasn’t as much for them to do.” With help from executive producer Martin Scorsese, Frears headed to northern New Mexico for what Arquette calls a ”peaceful, quiet” shoot — that is, until the cattle-drive scene. Explains Frears, ”Those beasts just never do what you want them to do.” (We hope he means the cows.) (Dec. 18)
THE LOWDOWN A handsome cast helps, but if Peckinpah couldn’t make it work, can Frears?