Director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Alamo) has long been circling the director’s chair on the drama Highwaymen, and now it looks like the project is finally coming together. Hancock has signed on to helm the pic, which centers on the manhunt for infamous bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde during the Great Depression. The protagonist of the story is Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a lawman with quite the reputation (he survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people) who was coaxed into putting together a team of Rangers to finally take down Bonnie & Clyde following an embarrassing Texas prison break headed up by Clyde Barrow.
Hit the jump for more on the project, including which actors Hancock is eyeing to lead the film.
Deadline reports that Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson are being courted to star in the pic, though it’s unknown which actor would play Hamer. John Fusco (Young Guns II, Hidalgo) wrote the script, and Media Rights Capital and Universal Pictures have agreed to co-finance the pic. Producers are hoping to start production in the first quarter of 2014.
Hancock most recently directed Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and centers on the visionary’s complicated relationship with Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) while trying to secure the film rights to her book. The pic opens in theaters this coming Christmas.
Neither Neeson nor Harrelson have entered negotiations to star in Highwaymen, so their involvement is in no way guaranteed. Neeson has been incredibly busy as of late, most recently filming the airplane thriller Non-Stop and Scott Frank’s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones. Neeson will next star in Seth MacFarlane’s Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West and is also attached to star in the thriller Run All Night.
As for Harrelson, he’s currently filming the first season of the fascinating HBO anthology series True Detective opposite Matthew McConaughey and is set to start filming the sequel The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 this fall.