Guy Ritchie’s back to movies – Here’s the full storyline
Guy Ritchie is back to movies. Here’s a sneak preview of the screenplay and storyline of his next movie, Six Shooters a sort of Snatch meets Wild Wild West. The following screenplay review is by The Stax Report.
“This 123-page draft dated October 2002 is by John Enbom, based on a story by Dan Etheridge and Jason Bloom. The latter two will also produce along with Laurence Mark and Jonathan King. Guy Ritchie will direct this Columbia-based project with filming expected to begin in March. Ritchie had been expected to make the Vegas-based crime pic Revolver his next project but that’s reportedly been shelved.
Six Shooters is a lighthearted heist flick set during the last days of the U.S. Civil War. It follows a quartet of Union soldiers, the gruff Sgt. Jed Hawthorne, the dashing Lt. Edward Van Der Meer, and backwoods father-son infantrymen Cole and Cole, Jr., who team with a sharpshooting Richmond madam, Mae Monroe, and Henry, a slave-turned-Confederate POW, to plunder the riches of the Confederacy.
The script claims that in April 1865 the Confederate government, knowing the end was near, secretly dispatched two trains from its capital in Richmond, Virginia in the hopes of keeping their cause alive. One train was a “Government on Wheels” carrying the Confederate cabinet, including President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of War John Breckenridge.
The other train, the one that the protagonists are after, was a “Treasure Train” loaded with the Confederate Treasury’s cache of gold, silver and jewels that history supposedly cannot account for, leading many to suspect that the treasure might have fallen into the wrong hands. As the script says, “this is the story of the wrong hands.”
Their scheme requires the thieves to venture behind enemy lines as the war rages to an end. They accomplish this by posing as a Confederate squad bringing home the body of the late General Jeremiah Blackmore, recently fallen at the battle of Richmond, to his Louisiana estate. (Mae plays his grieving widow.) Their ruse eventually gets them onboard the Treasure Train where lots of fighting ensues. Can our heroes evade capture or death and get away with the loot? That’s the question that drives Six Shooters forward.
It should be noted that the protagonists pursue the Treasure Train not for the sake of the Union but for themselves. (Indeed, their superiors don’t even know what they’re up to.) Each of them has their own reason for undertaking this mission but the bottom line is they’re doing it to get rich after enduring this long and costly war.
Henry, the only African-American in the group, is “enlisted” from a POW camp and kept in the dark about their mission for a good part of the story. Henry, being a slave pressed into Confederate service and then incarcerated in a Yankee POW camp, could have been the most problematic character. Since it’s a tongue-in-cheek yarn, it seems impossible to find the humor in Henry’s character without denigrating him or his plight but the storytellers manage to largely pull it off without falling into any traps. Jed has his reasons for enlisting Henry’s aid but it’s not out of some sense of justice or an anachronistic notion of political correctness.
Jed is the taciturn man-of-action to Edward’s gentleman bandit. Both roles are ideal for stars. I have to wonder if Mae isn’t earmarked for Ritchie’s Madonna but she’s a colorful and strong role that any number of actresses could do justice to.
The relationship between Mae and Edward was a nice mixture of sassy humor and sexual tension. Henry’s role starts off as a rather thankless one but it grows in importance as the story goes. The two dopey Coles, however, are perhaps the least developed members of the gang, not unlike Scott Caan and Casey Affleck in Soderbergh’s Rat Pack remake.
While the Confederates are clearly the villains, Six Shooters doesn’t simply demonize the South and romanticize the North. As I’ve said, our heroes may be Yankees but they’re not exactly out to help the Union here. Thanks to its action set-pieces, roguish anti-heroes, and quick wit, Six Shooters succeeds in being a charming and fun period romp, a sort of Lincoln’s Eleven or Civil War-era Kelly’s Heroes”. STAX