Update: Cowboys for Christ starts filming and changes name
Back in April of last year we heard that the film Cowboys for Christ had stopped production due to problems with the budget, just when it had started to mobilise local businesses in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.
Now the word is that Robin Hardy's film has gained the necessary money to move forward and the film could be heading back into production once again.
I'm not entirely convinced by this news as it sounds very much like the news from last time, news that was quickly followed by the halted production, however there's a chance that the film is going to happen, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad news.
Cowboys for Christ is billed as a kind of sequel to the 1973 classic film The Wicker Man. Robin Hardy, the director of the original film, wrote the novel and has been talking about bringing this film to the big screen for some time, and I'm sure the remake left a bitter taste in his mouth, bitter enough to try to wash it away with a film of his own.
Well that could be on again as ShockTillYouDrop through Empire are reporting that the filming has begun again in Texas, and the story says that this is new filming, not the filming from last time. The story also says that filming is currently underway in Scotland, so everyone in Dumfries and Galloway watch out for those production signs and sets and grab some pictures as soon as you can!
The plot still remains the same, with two Texan's arriving in the Borders in Scotland to try and teach Christianity to some small towns. I'm trying to stay neutral here and not get on my high horse about the inference here about teaching Christianity to towns in the Borders because they are so backwards and un-Christian like, don't even get me started on that topic!
The Empire side of the story also comes up with a Guardian story where Robin Hardy himself was talking about the film back in 2007, but it still seems very relevant as he talks about the origins of the story:
"There is a tradition among 10 or 15 little towns on the borders in Scotland…where once a year, usually around the summer solstice, they elect a young man - the brightest and the best-looking, and the cleverest, I suppose - and he appears in the centre of the town on his horse, with outriders, and he's had a lovely party the evening before with all the prettiest girls, and he then rides out of town, and everyone who has a horse or a pony or a carthorse rides after him.
[What happens next?] Well, that's the point. What they do is they have a lovely picnic. Not so in my book..."
Hardy has been talking about the possibility that this could be part of a trilogy, with The Wicker Man being part one, Cowboys for Christ being part two, and the third being a story called Twilight of the Gods, a story that is still to be written.
I don't really know about this, I'm still all over the shop on the idea that there is going to be a sequel, however loosely connected it is, to The Wicker Man. I do hope that they manage to buck the current trend and make something special, and not just a film that's another take on the same idea.
So far everything is pointing to that though, and I don't see anything original in this take that's enough to warrant a new story and film. Perhaps I should read the book and discover more to it? Have you read the Cowboys for Christ book and can comment? Does it have something new to offer over The Wicker Man?
Update: ShockTillYouDrop have some news and tell us that Cowboys for Christ has been renamed to connect with the original film. It will now be known as The Wicker Tree.
Now while that does make the obvious connection for the audience and perhaps draw in more people at the ticket office, there is a bit of a worry, this is now going to be very much like The Wicker Man, and the name suggests that instead of a Wicker Man it's going to be the same story with a tree.
I really do hope not though and I hope that the title is there just to connect with the first film.