Netflix swoops on Jane Campion’s ‘The Power Of The Dog’

Jane Campion.

Jane Campion.

Netflix has acquired almost all worldwide rights to Jane Campion’s upcoming revenge Western The Power of the Dog, which will star Benedict Cumberbatch and Elisabeth Moss.

See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning will produce the film based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel with Max Films’ Roger Frappier, Brightstar’s Tanya Seghatchian and Campion’s Big Shell Films.

It was one of the buzz titles at the Cannes film market, handled by See-Saw’s in-house sales arm Cross City Films.

The Netflix deal excludes UK free TV rights held by BBC Films, which helped develop the project with Max Films’ Frappier.

Pre-production is due to start before the end of the year. It will be Campion’s first feature since 2009’s Bright Star.

Netflix will be the worldwide distributor, with Transmission Films distributing theatrically in Australia and New Zealand. The streamer said it will work with other local parties on the theatrical release.

The story follows wealthy Montana brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George Burbank, who are polar opposites. Phil is graceful, brilliant and cruel where George is stolid, fastidious and gentle.

They are joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley, a place where men are still men, the rapidly modernizing 20th century is kept at bay and where 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, using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn.

Meanwhile Campion is the guest selector for the New Zealand International Film Festival’s best short film competition.

Six shorts from Aotearoa will premiere in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch, with audiences in Auckland and Wellington invited to vote for their favourite short from Campion’s shortlist.

There were 91 submissions this year, of which a shortlist of 12 was handed to the filmmaker for her consideration. “It was moving and invigorating to watch [these] and experience their energy, raw talent, and the occasional truly sophisticated achievement,” she said.