Wind River: Director Taylor Sheridan’s Intent

A griping, timely thriller, WIND RIVER centers on a female rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death.

Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, WIND RIVER also stars Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Asbille, and James Jordan.

When I embarked on WIND RIVER, I viewed it as the conclusion of a thematic trilogy that explores the modern American frontier. Beginning with the epidemic of violence along the US-Mexico border in SICARIO and then shifting to focus on the immense wealth and poverty colliding in the Comanchería region of West Texas in HELL OR HIGH WATER, WIND RIVER is the final chapter and catharsis of this trilogy.

Tragedy Without Closure

WIND RIVER explores the most tangible remnant of America’s frontier, and America’s greatest failure–the Native American reservation.  At its most personal, it is the study of how a man moves on from a tragedy without ever gaining closure. At its broadest, it is a study of the consequence of forcing people to live on land where people were never meant to live.

Nature as Antagonist

It is a brutal place where the landscape itself is an antagonist. It is a place where addiction and murder kills more than cancer, and rape is considered a rite of passage for girls on the cusp of womanhood. It is a place where the rule of law gives way to the law of nature. No place in North America has changed less in the past century, and no place in America has suffered more from the changes that have taken place.

TAYLOR SHERIDAN

Writer-Director Taylor Sheridan is a major talent to watch.

In 2012, Taylor Sheridan sold his original screenplay for HELL OR HIGH WATER (fka COMANCHERIA) to Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. The film, a drama set in the struggling rural areas of West Texas, was released by CBS films in August 2016 and stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges.

The script, which was on the Black List in 2012, has earned Taylor nominations for Best Screenplay at the 2016 Gotham Awards, 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards, and 2017 Independent Spirit Awards.

His previous screenplay for SICARIO—directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin—was released in September 2015 to critical acclaim and box office success. The film was produced by Basil Iwanyk, Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Thad Luckinbill and Ed McDonnell and released by Lionsgate. The film was also nominated for several awards including Best Theatrical Motion Picture by the PGA, Best Original Screenplay by the WGA, and was awarded the Spotlight Award for Outstanding Collaborative Vision by the National Board of Review.

A sequel to SICARIO, called SOLDADO, is currently in production. The film will be directed by Stefano Sollima, and both Del Toro and Brolin will reprise their roles.

Sheridan is adapting DISORDER, based on the French film, for Escape Artists and Sony Pictures and previously adapted DARK INVASION, Howard Blum’s non-fiction novel, for Warner Bros., with Bradley Cooper, John Lesher and Adam Kassan attached as producers on the project. Sheridan has also worked on two projects for Andrew Lauren. In television, Sheridan is in pre-production on his series “Yellowstone” for the Paramount Network alongside producers Art and Jon Linson

 

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