Well here’s a fascinating pairing. Marvel stalwart Chris Hemsworth and scene-stealer extraordinaire Michael Shannon are teaming up to co-star in a true story drama set in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Per Deadline, the duo have signed on to star in Horse Soldiers, which recounts the tale of a U.S. Special Forces team and their untested captain who were sent to a mountainous region in Afghanistan where they were assigned to join leagues with a Northern Alliance warlord to battle and drive out the Taliban. Danish filmmaker and photojournalist Nicolai Fuglsig will be making his feature directorial debut on the film after helming a number of buzzworthy commercials, including the live-action trailer for Halo 4.
Black Label Media is co-financing the project with Jerry Bruckheimer onboard as one of the producers, and the film is based on Doug Stanton’s book of the same name, which was adapted into screenplay form by Peter Craig (The Queen) and Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs).
The project has been in the works for years and certainly sounds like a true-life hero drama in the vein of Lone Survivor or Deepwater Horizon. It marks a curious choice for Hemsworth, who has thus far had trouble finding success outside his Marvel movies despite toplining a number of high-profile features. Snow White and the Huntsman, in which he had a co-starring role, has been his most successful to date as audiences eschewed his Ron Howard films In the Heart of the Sea and the sorely underrated Rush. It’s his turn in the latter film that proves the guy has great talent outside of playing Thor, but again films like Blackhat or The Huntsman: Winter’s War failed to take off.
Hemsworth has found success in the comedy realm with noteworthy supporting roles in Vacation and Ghostbusters, and if Paramount actually makes Star Trek 4 he’s set to reprise his role as George Kirk. Hemsworth is currently filming Thor: Ragnarok in Australia and is expected to return for Avengers: Infinity War, but with today’s news it sounds like he’s still intent on tackling serious dramatic subject matter as well.
As for Shannon, he recently replaced Jake Gyllenhaal opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the Thomas Edison movie The Current War and is in the midst of filming Guillermo del Toro’s secretive The Shape of Water. The guy is one of the most watchable actors working today, and he has a terrific turn in Tom Ford’s upcoming thriller Nocturnal Animals and a small but memorable role in the interracial marriage drama Loving.
It’s unclear when Horse Soldiers will begin production, but early 2017 seems like a real possibility.