John Hillcoat's The Promised Land Adaptation Gets Shut Down

January 4, 2010
Source: The Telegraph

John Hillcoat - The Promised Land

Late last year we reported that The Promised Land, the next new project from The Road director John Hillcoat, had tentatively lined up a cast including Shia LeBeouf, Ryan Gosling and Amy Adams. It was an adaptation of Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World with a script being adapted by Nick Cave. The Depression-era bootlegging story seemed like it had some potential under Hillcoat's control, but apparently the project has been shut down indefinitely. Hillcoat himself broke the news in a "diary" update in the UK's Telegraph (via The Playlist). His explanation behind what happened is also depressing to hear.

The joke on [The Road] set and in the edit suite was that we had to get this movie out before it became a reality. Ironically, the movie industry itself now faces its own apocalypse. The perfect storm has arrived in Hollywood: a global economic downturn combined with piracy and the increase of downloading on the internet – what happened to the record companies years ago but with much higher stakes. The reactionary first phase has kicked in – few films in development, many films put on hold or shut down.

My own new project – with a much-loved script by Nick Cave and a dream all-star cast – has fallen apart. The finance company that we began The Road with has also fallen apart, having to radically downsize to one remaining staff member. The great divide has begun, with only very low-budget films being made or huge 3-D franchise films – the birth of brand films such as Barbie, Monopoly: The Movie – who knows what’s next, Coca-Cola: The Movie?

He's right about that. Especially after the success of Avatar, all we're going to see is everything converted to 3D and more remakes and reboots. And it's depressing to hear that this is what's happening in Hollywood, especially seeing The Road, because I know Hillcoat is a very capable filmmaker and although not many saw that film, it's a beautifully bleak and a fantastic adaptation of an incredible book. The Promised Land could come together again years from now, but until then, let's hope Hillcoat finds something else to direct soon. He ends his entry stating: "I end the year appropriately – gazing into the apocalypse of my own industry."

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That's depressing.

Dylan on Jan 4, 2010


Hillcoat is so true.

Robbie on Jan 4, 2010


Sad. Books are better for you anyway.

In-Rainbows on Jan 4, 2010


Movies often paint a cruesome if not plausible forecast of the future... too bad they never predicted their own outcome.

sean on Jan 4, 2010


umm the road had a reported budget of 20mil and grossed 6,232,063 (wikipedia) though i do look forward to seeing this movie its no wonder the company caved most people are blaming the internet and piracy for the downturn in hollywood, though they do play a part, what should be blamed is hollywood itself. As hinted above hollywood has lost any endge, it turns currently only seems to turn out sequels, remakes, reboots, reimaginings etc cause of the internet you just don't lose your money on the overpriced admission to watch something you'd walk out on in 10minutes. My favorite movie of 2009 was district 9... it cost 30mil to make and gorssed 204,570,836 (wikipedia). It was something new(ish) and fresh and was worth the 10bucks for a ticket and so people went to see it...

Janny on Jan 4, 2010


irritated that more people didn't see the road.

bliff on Jan 4, 2010


District 9 had a huge marketing budget and was released in thousands of theaters. It also had the backing of Peter Jackson. The Road only opened in 111 theaters and had very little marketing with few commercials, trailers or even movie posters. The Road is a very good movie that was never given a fair shot by its distributors. It was never going to be a blockbuster, but it would have made more money with decent marketing.

Laurie Mann on Jan 4, 2010


He's right that movie piracy is much like music piracy, only it's not in the way he says. It's really that they are both simply excuses that those industries use to explain why stuff they release might under-perform without them actually having to take any of the blame themselves. Both the music and film industries are consistently recording record profits every year, and they only use piracy as an excuse for why they aren't making even higher record profits. It's a way to get disappointed shareholders off their backs without having to admit that they make terrible decisions, and spend hundreds of millions of dollars making progressively worse films that have huge opening weekend numbers, but then hemorrhage their audience and wind up with disappointing final numbers. A situation like that is more about people from the opening weekend audience telling all their friends how crappy the film is so that they don't waste their money seeing it, and less about people who otherwise would have gone to see the film just downloading it instead.

Cousin Zoid on Jan 4, 2010


Thats the state of the film industrie, with the success of Avatar more and more films will be made for 3D inviroment. Piracy over the internet it Technoligy moving forward it recons people are all in favor of that.

Cineprog on Jan 5, 2010


It's a shame, Hollywood has done this to itself. Rebooting and remaking only goes so far. Telling fresh no stories regardless of where it was found should be their main bread and butter. Unfortunately for them and the music industry, they make to much of the same and hardly try to push the mediums. Hillcoat is an amazing director and has so far made great films. The Promised Land sounds like it would have been an amazing adventure especially with the cast he managed to round up. Not to knock it, I guess people want eye candy brain dead movies. Avatar was a good pizza, but in the end one that has been eaten more than once all over the place. I can only give it credit for being a good competent fun pizza, that's it. It's 3/D was the main selling point. Inglorious Basterds was first from a dead in the water director that makes happy meals for 16 year old boys and older people who like their 70's B-movies. I'm sorry but I love the whole WWII & Nazi angle in history in films/books but this couldn't hold spit against The Road's grandness experience. It brought you into it's world and made you feel it all. Inglorious Basterds just made me remember why renting is awesome, Tarantino's washed up, there is a reason movies QT loves are no longer being made and if a studio puts enough money behind marketing a movie, money will come.

Johnny Neat on Jan 5, 2010

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