Taylor Sheridan took a break from spinning stories on Yellowstone and other projects to focus on the movie Those Who Wish Me Dead.
And he freely admits that Angelina Jolie, who stars in the new movie, was put through hell. That was kind of the point.
“You know, the character sort of drags Angie through emotional hell, and then I drug her through physical hell,” Taylor Sheridan told the Associated Press. “That’s how we be made the movie.”
Then Jolie added “And I loved every minute of it.”
Sheridan initially was brought n to juice the movie script. After all, he wrote magical movies in Hell or Highwater and Sicario. Hell or High Water earned Sheridan an Oscar nomination. And Sicario landed him a nomination from the Writer’s Guild of America for best screenplay.
Taylor Sheridan Said He’d Direct Movie, But Only with Jolie as Star
But Taylor Sheridan also was asked to direct Those Who Wish Me Dead. He said he’d take the job if the studio would cast Jolie in the leading role of Hannah Faber. In the movie, Hannah is a smokejumper and an expert on wilderness survival. Smokejumpers literally do what their name suggests. They jump, via parachute, into major fires in remote areas.
Jolie never had problems in movies with live-action. But she hadn’t done one in six years. Her film work the last 10 years included two Maleficent movies and By the Sea. That movie also featured her then-husband Brad Pitt. However, with this Taylor Sheridan movie, she’d need to pull from her action experience in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Also in this Taylor Sheridan movie, Hannah meets Connor, a 12-year-old boy who is trying to escape assassins who killed his father. Hannah and Connor take shelter in her lookout tower. But the bad guys set fire to the forest. Hence, the references to hell.
Taylor Sheridan and crew filmed the movie on location in New Mexico. It took two months to finish it in 2019, back when there was no such thing as COVID-19 to slow everything down. Although it was May, snow still was falling in the mountains. Sheridan had a fake forest built, so he could set it on fire. Everyone stayed in tents with space heaters. There was lots of food, but that’s about it for luxuries.
“I like characters whose physical journey parallels the emotional journey they’re going through,” Taylor Sheridan said. Jolie “was game. It was cold. I’d be like, ‘Get in the river’ and she’d be like, ‘OK, I’m getting in the river.’”
So, in the Taylor Sheridan movie world, pure hell equates to acting bliss.
The movie opens in theaters, May 14. It also will be available to stream on HBO Max.