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‘Soldado’ Director Stefano Sollima Talks ‘Colt,’ Based on Sergio Leone Concept (EXCLUSIVE)

Stefano Sollima, the Italian director known in Hollywood for “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and TV series “Gomorrah,” is set to shoot “Colt,” an English-language Western based on a Sergio Leone concept. The plan is to start shooting next winter.

“Colt” is being produced by Leone’s children Raffaella and Andrea, via their Leone Film Group. They are shopping the project in Cannes to prospective U.S. partners.

Originally conceived as a TV series, “Colt” takes its cue from the six-shooter packed by Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars,” which becomes a narrative device as it is passes from owner to owner throughout the Old West.

Sollima, who is in advanced talks for a top U.S. writer to come on board, has tweaked Leone’s concept so that the gun changes hands between kids.

“It’s a coming-of-age story of three kids, aged 12 or 13, who as orphans come into possession of this weapon, and for a whole series of reasons become criminals,” he said, adding: “I can assure you that a 12-year-old with a Colt in his hand is pretty striking.

“I want to take the [Spaghetti] Western genre back home” to Italy, added Sollima, whose late father, Sergio, was the Spaghetti Western pioneer who directed Lee Van Cleef-starrer “The Big Gundown.”

As in the Westerns of Italy’s glory days, Sollima and the Leones are seeking A-list U.S. talent for the several adult characters, including a lead protagonist and antagonist, besides the three young teens, who will be unknowns.

Sollima said Leone “reinvented the genre” to the point that “anyone else who makes a Western has to take his work into account.” But he said his film would not be “a Tarantino-esque homage” to the the Spaghetti Western master.

Raffaella Leone said the idea to make the shift from a TV series to a movie stemmed from Sollima’s vision of the project. “There are almost too many TV series these days,” she said, noting that the goal is to make “Colt” a high-profile event movie that will be fresh “in terms of narrative, pace and approach.”

“We are very cautious when it comes to anything that has to do with my father,” she added. “Our enthusiasm means we are fully convinced.”

Leone is producing via the group’s Lotus Production shingle with Italy’s RAI Cinema on board. They plan is to start shooting this winter in Canada, since the setting is mountainous, unlike Leone’s desert-set Westerns.

Sollima specified that “Colt” would target a young audience. “I once told my kids, who are in their early teens, ‘I’d like to do a Western,’ and they said: ‘What is a Western?'” he said. “Their generation doesn’t know Westerns. They haven’t seen them at the movies. I thought it would be interesting to draw them into this genre with a story that speaks to them.”

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