Cold Iron Pictures and The Film Arcade today announced five additional principal cast members of their neo-Western thriller God’s Country. The film stars previously-announced Emmy winner Thandiwe Newton (Westworld) as Sandra.
In the film, which is set against the snowy backdrop of the Mountain West, Sandra is a small-town college professor who becomes embroiled in an escalating confrontation with a pair of trespassing hunters.
Joris Jarsky (The Little Things) and Jefferson White (Yellowstone) will play the two intruders encroaching on Sandra’s territory.
Veteran character actor Jeremy Bobb (The Knick) is set to play a local sheriff drawn into the conflict. Kai Lennox (Green Room) and Tanaya Beatty (Through Black Spruce) round out the cast as Sandra’s department chair and favorite student, respectively.
Mark Bennett (Destroyer) handled casting for the upcoming production. Principal photography on God’s Country began in early 2020 but was interrupted by the shutdowns and put on hold until shooting finally resumed this March.
Adapted from a short story by celebrated author and Pulitzer Prize finalist James Lee Burke, the project marks the feature film debut of director Julian Higgins, who penned the screenplay in collaboration with writer Shaye Ogbonna.
Cold Iron CEO Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall are producing the film, along with Halee Bernard and Higgins. Anthony Ciardelli and The Film Arcade’s Jason Beck serve as Executive Producers. ICM Partners is representing the film.
Screenwriter Shaye Ogbonna adapted the God’s Country script with Higgins from the short story Winter Light by James Lee Burke. Burke is The New York Times bestselling author of the Dave Robicheaux detective series and numerous other novels. He has received two Edgar Awards and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.
“Julian and Shaye’s radical new take on James Lee Burke’s story is a nuanced response to the times in which we live,” said Bailey previously. “We are thrilled to be working on this powerful film that puts Thandie’s remarkable acting talent front and center.”
Julian Higgins is a Los Angeles-based writer-director whose short films have screened at over a hundred festivals around the globe and won dozens of prizes, including the gold medal Student Academy Award and two Student Emmy awards for his AFI thesis film, Thief. His most recent short, Winter Light, was a top-ten finalist for the 2016 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.
Higgins made his television directorial debut with one of the final episodes of House, and has since executive produced and directed Seasons 2 & 3 of the anthology drama series Guidance.
Thandiwe Newton stars on HBO’s critically-acclaimed series Westworld for which she won the 2019 Emmy Award for “Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series,” and was nominated for back-to-back Golden Globe Awards as well as two SAG Awards.
Additionally, she is well known for the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Crash, for which she received the BAFTA for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” and a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.”
Newton starred as the title character in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved, opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2, alongside Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness, as well as Chiwetel Ejiofor in Half of a Yellow Sun.
Her other film credits include Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds and For Colored Girls opposite Whoopi Goldberg, the Merchant-Ivory picture Jefferson in Paris, and Oliver Stone’s W.