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FIRST LOOK: Michael Fassbender in Frontier Western ‘Slow West’

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One film you can expect to see on the fall film festival circuit–as Telluride and Toronto duke it out for World Premieres– is John Maclean’s 19th-century western “Slow West.” Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), Kodi Smit-Mcphee (“The Road,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Killing Them Softly”) and Caren Pistorius (Australian TV series “Offspring”) star in the British director’s feature debut, which was shot in Scotland and New Zealand (filling in for Colorado). Fassbender has starred in two Maclean shorts; see the trailer for their 2012 BAFTA-winning “Pitch Black Heist” below. 

In “Slow West,” 17-year-old Jay Cavendish (Smit-McPhee) treks from the Scottish Highlands to the American West searching for his lady love. He pays a mysterious traveler (Fassbender) to protect him. The film isproduced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films (“The King’s Speech,” “Shame,” “Tracks”) and Rachel Gardner of Rachel Gardner Films, with Fassbender stepping up for the first time as producer with Troika agent Conor McCaughan. Their production shingle DMC Film, founded in 2010, first produced “Pitch Black Heist”; also coming up is Formula One 50s racing flick “Assassin’s Creed” (BBC Films, Ubisoft, New Regency Pictures and Garagistas). Fassbender’s other indie pictures include Leonard Abrahamson’s “Frank” (August 22), which debuted at Sundance, and fall Weinstein Co. Oscar hopeful “Macbeth,” directed by Justin Kurzel, and an untitled Terrence Malick film. 

Developed and co-financed by Film4 with the BFI, the New Zealand Film Commission and Fulcrum Media Finance, “Slow West” was shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan (“Wuthering Heights” and “Philomena”), designed by Kim Sinclair (“Avatar,” “Man Of Steel”) with costume designs by Kirsty Cameron (“Whale Rider”) and make-up by Dannelle Satherley (“The Hobbit”). 

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