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Nicolas Cage Will Star as Frontiersman Buffalo Hunter in 'Butcher's Crossing'

Breaking news today for all you Nicolas Cage fans: the Oscar-winner will be lending his unique talents to Butcher's Crossing: a buffalo hunting drama based on the beloved 1967 novel by John Williams. Gabe Polsky, who previously directed the documentaries Red Army and Red Penguins, will lead the project as his theatrical debut.

Speaking to Variety, Polsky said of the upcoming film:

"This is an urgent story with timeless themes — a gut-wrenching journey exploring the limits of human nature. Nick Cage is one of the most dynamic and interesting performers and to have him take on this brilliant role will be exciting."

Polsky has collaborated with Cage previously, on Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; Polsky was a producer for that bizarrely fantastic cop drama. And if Bad Lieutenant is any indication, the material of Butcher's Crossing will push Cage's characteristic rage to new extremes. Eschewing typical Hollywood roles as of late, the actor now prefers to showcase his seriously contorted range for violence: the gory Mandy, the campy Willy's Wonderland. So placed into the brutal conditions of an unforgiving buffalo hunt, we can all expect ruthless display.

Shooting is set to begin in October, which marks the fourth of Cage's forthcoming projects. First, the highly anticipated Tiger King adaption. Then The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Cage plays a version of himself was postponed due to the pandemic but should premiere later this year. (We can't wait.) And the trailer for Pig, out on July 16, has been trending on social media all week. Check it out below, and you'll see why.


'Butcher's Crossing'

Published by John Williams in 1967, Butcher's Crossing is set in the 1870s and follows the story of a young Harvard dropout who, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, abandons academia to find himself out West. There, he links up Miller, a tough Kansas buffalo hunter, and according to the Butcher's Crossing promo material, "Together, they embark on a harrowing journey risking life and sanity."

Read More: Mary Ann Goodnight: the Texas Woman Who Saved Buffalo From Extinction

Upon its publication during the mid-60s, Butcher's Crossing fit into a predominant literary trend in America: re-envisioning the Old West. Though the work rests on the historicized lessons of transcendentalism, the book was pioneering for its hyperrealistic portrayal of the conditions faced by frontiersmen. Writing in the vein of contemporaries like Cormac McCarthy and Charles Portis, Williams' novel emerged as a groundbreaking western story.

His words are now being adapted for the screen by Polsky and Liam Satre-Meloy. Their cinematic venture will be shopped soon at the Cannes virtual market, though Altitude Film Entertainment has already secured the U.K. and Irish distribution. In addition to representatives from Altitude, the film will be produced by Polsky, Molly Conners of Phiphen Pictures, and Cage's Saturn Films.

Now Watch: 5 Must-Read Western Novels for a Taste of the Old Frontier