Robert Duvall dropped some very interesting knowledge at a recent Get Low press junket–namely, that Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper has been chatting with Brad Pitt about bring the infamous Hatfield/McCoy family feud to the cinemas. According to Hollywood Elsewhere, Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has assembled a script–appropriately titled The Hatfields and the Mccoys–with roles set aside for Duvall and Pitt. Newly-minted Oscar-winner T-Bone Burnett would re-team with his Crazy Heart boss to provide the soundtrack.
If you’d like to learn a little more about the heated interactions between the Hatfields and the McCoys (I know I would!), I invite you to hit the jump.
Essentially, the progession of events goes something like this:
-Asa Harmon McCoy was murdered on January 7, 1865; Devil Anse Hatfield was the prime suspected, but never convicted
-In 1878, Floyd Hatfield and Randolph McCoy disputed about the ownership of a hog. In June 1880, Bill Staton, who testified on behalf of the Hatfields, was killed by two McCoy brothers: Sam and Paris.
-Roseanna McCoy began an affair with Johnson “Johnse” Hatfield (Devil Anse’s son), which of course did not sit well with either family
-In 1882 Ellison Hatfield was stabbed 26 times and then shot by three of Roseanna McCoy’s young brothers: Tolbert, Pharmer, and Bud; the brothers were executed for their crimes.
-The 1888 New Years Night Massacre represents the peak of the feud. The Hatfields opened fire on the sleeping McCoy family in the middle of the night, then set their cabin aflame.
It is pretty incredible that “hog dispute” snowballed into “stabbed 26 times” and “opened fire on the sleeping McCoy family”. But man, does this story has everything: conflict, romance, Brad Pitt. Duvall said Pitt would play “the main guy”: who would you suppose that is in Roth’s screenplay? Maybe Randall McCoy, who barely escaped with his life from the New Years Night Massacre? Perhaps Elison Hatfield, if his stabbing is central to the script? And that’s just assuming Pitt will play a sympathetic character: maybe the actor would prefer to wield the shotgun/matches in the massacre scene.
Time will tell, but the project certainly has promise if it comes together; Hatfield will happen “if and when Pitt decides to clear a place in his schedule.” Pitt will be seen later this year (at least theoretically) in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, while the Bennett Miller-helmed Moneyball is up next on production slate with a July start date.