Hell or High Water was one of my favorite movies of last year, so I’m thrilled that director David Mackenzie might be reteaming with actors Chris Pine and Ben Foster. According to Deadline, the trio is in talks to reunite for Netflix’s Outlaw King, a period drama that would focus on king Robert the Bruce, who led his country to freedom from England.
Pine would play Robert the Bruce, and Foster would play “James Douglas, the Scottish knight who became the king’s chief adviser.” Mackenzie will direct from his own screenplay, and Sigma Films’ Gillian Berrie is producing with Anonymous Content’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin. Filming is slated to begin in August in Scotland when the days are longer, and thus allow for more filming to be completed.
Mackenzie, Berrie and Brown hail from Scotland, and it sure sounds like this is an act of national pride for them to restore some of the luster for the nationally revered Robert The Bruce that was missing from the Best Picture-winning Braveheart. There, Robert the Bruce came across as a privileged brat who was manipulated by his power-hungry leper father into betraying William Wallace, before coming around and leading Scotland to freedom after Wallace was drawn and quartered by England King Edward I. William Wallace will have a place in Outlaw King, but in this story, Robert the Bruce casts aside the comfortable trappings of his upbringing to stand up for his countrymen in a long campaign. He defied the Brits and the Catholic Church and ruthlessly consolidated rule among the squabbling noble elite of Scotland, finally rallying the forces necessary to turn back Edward II’s considerable armies to free Scotland. There is also a major love story in the film, between the king and his Queen, Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of an England-friendly Irish noble who helped Robert The Bruce form the backbone needed to eradicate the Brits.
So it sounds like a story that has all the trappings of a period drama, but with a conscious attempt to not let William Wallace be the singular hero of Scottish history in the popular consciousness.
I’m a big fan of Mackenzie’s work, not just Hell or High Water, but his previous film Starred Up, so I’m on board for whatever he does next, and Outlaw King sounds like an exciting prospect. Deadline also reports that Mackenzie could also end up directing The Brotherhood starring Margot Robbie and Michael Fassbender, but that will happen once he’s done with Outlaw King, which has been a longtime passion project for the director.