‘Handmaid’s Tale’ star Elisabeth Moss and Benedict Cumberbatch (‘Avengers: End Game’) have signed on to lead ‘The Power of the Dog,’ a feature adaptation of the Thomas Savage novel that has Jane Campion (‘Bright Star,’ ‘Top of the Lake’) directing.
First published in 1967, the novel tells the story of wealthy Montana brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George Burbank are two sides of one coin. Phil is graceful, brilliant and cruel where George is stolid, fastidious and gentle. Together they are joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley. It is a place where men are still men, the rapidly modernizing 20th century is kept at bay and where the figure of Bronco Henry, the greatest cowboy Phil ever knew, is revered. When George secretly marries local widow Rose (Moss), a shocked and angry Phil wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her entirely using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn.
“‘The Power of the Dog’ is a sublime novel that deserves a life on the big screen. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story, it really haunted me. The themes of masculinity, nostalgia and betrayal are an intoxicating mix,” said Campion in a statement. “It’s also rare to find a story where the themes, the plot and the characters build tension as they reveal each other and even the end is satisfying and unexpected. It will be the first time I’ve worked with a male lead, which is exciting. Phil is a charismatic and complex character who declares war on his brother’s new wife and her teenage son.”
Roger Frappier of Max Films is on board to produce, alongside See-Saw Films and Big Shell Films and Brightstar..