Joe Penhall (The Road) has just been brought on by Sam Mendes and Focus Features to adapt Butcher’s Crossing, the second novel from the acclaimed author John Edward Williams. In some literary circles, Williams is seen as a predecessor to Cormac McCarthy so Penhall, who has received accolades for his treatment of McCarthy’s The Road will be returning to some familiar territory.
Butcher’s Crossing tells the story of Will Andrews, a disenchanted Harvard undergraduate in the 1870s who journey’s west to the titular Kansas town. There, a liberated Andrews joins a new friend and goes on an ambitious hunt for buffalo. Not to give away the punchline but let’s just say that after finding the buffalo the two men do their best Patrick Batemen impression. Of course, since this is the Old West, the consequences are unforeseen and suitably dire. Unless the film gets fast-tracked, Butcher’s Crossing may not hit theaters for another couple of years. As THR notes, Penhall is currently working on the Fox 2000 adaptation of Deep Water and an adaption of his own play, Landscape With Weapons, to be directed by Jon Hillcoat (The Road).