While John Hillcoat’s The Proposition and The Road never completely clicked for me, I know he has a great film in him and I’m hoping that great film is The Wettest County in the World. Based off the novel by Matt Bondourant, Wettest County centers on two brothers (played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) who become bootleggers in the American south during Prohibition. Working from a script by Nick Cave (The Proposition), the film has an incredible cast that includes not only LaBeouf and Hardy, but also Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Dane DeHaan, and Jessica Chastain. Oh, and Ellis will also be scoring the film. You need to be excited for this movie.
A set photo of Shia LaBeouf has recently leaked online and shows him dressed up in period garb. Hit the jump to check out the image along with a synopsis of the novel.
Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Forrest, the eldest brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; Howard, the middle brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father’s business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought.
White mule, white lightning, firewater, popskull, wild cat, stump whiskey, or rotgut — whatever you called it, Franklin County was awash in moonshine in the 1920s. When Sherwood Anderson, the journalist and author of Winesburg, Ohio, was covering a story there, he christened it the “wettest county in the world.” In the twilight of his career, Anderson finds himself driving along dusty red roads trying to find the Bondurant brothers, piece together the clues linking them to “The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,” and break open the silence that shrouds Franklin County.
In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men — their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires — to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.
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