Walter Hill’s new western pits Christoph Waltz against Willem Dafoe

They’ll play a bounty hunter and an outlaw, respectively, in the veteran director’s upcoming Dead for a Dollar.


Charles Bramesco


The programming at the Cannes Film Festival offers the public a sneak preview of the coming year-plus in cinema, but that’s only half of it. The Marché, where deals are made and publicized between industry officials, producers, and talent, projects the future of Hollywood even further down the line, more like a preview of 2023 or 2024 in film.

Just this morning, news broke of one such high-profile signing, uniting two award-laden movie stars with a legendary director on the skids as of late. You guessed it: Walter Hill is making another movie, and he’s returning to his wheelhouse of the Western genre, and he’s bringing Christoph Waltz and Willem Dafoe with him.

Deadline reports that they will star in Dead for a Dollar, a dust-bitten yarn of rough riders around Chihuahua in the New Mexico Territory circa 1897. Waltz gets back in the saddle last visited on Django Unchained as a bounty hunter, sent to retrieve a successful businessman’s wife after she’s kidnapped and ransomed by an African-American deserter from the military.

Once he crosses the line into unsettled lands, he runs into his outlaw nemesis (that’s Dafoe) and makes the surprising discovery that the woman he’s pursuing has gone of her own volition, escaping her abusive husband to start a new life with her lover free of racial persecution. He’s then faced with a choice between his job and what’s right, and all the while, his (Da)foe continues to close in as he gets ready to go in for the kill.

Hill’s done some of his finest work in the oater genre, and at any rate, it’s hard to imagine that this won’t be an improvement on his last film, the dismal transgender crime thriller The Assignment. With two heavy hitters in the lead roles and two still to be filled, it has to be.

Published 21 Jun 2021

Tags: Christoph Waltz Dead for a Dollar Walter Hill Willem Dafoe

Suggested For You

How The Driver set the LA noir genre in motion

By William Carroll

Walter Hill’s cult film is full of intense car chases and silent antiheroes.

Five sensational old-school westerns that reinvented the genre

By David Hayles

Bone Tomahawk isn’t the first film to push the American frontier in a surprising new direction.

Have film audiences fallen out of love with the western?

By Christina Newland

The poor box office performance of The Sisters Brothers and films like it suggests interest in this quintessential American film genre is on the wane.

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.