About The Production
The idea for American Outlaws began with Morgan Creek Chairman and CEO James G. Robinson's desire to make a fresh western film that is appealing to today's moviegoer.
"We had a script about Jesse James, so we started working with writer John Rogers to make the concept
exciting and fun."
'Throughout history, outlaws have always been popular, particularly among young people who consider themselves outlaws, rebelling against the older establishment," explains executive producer Jonathan Zimbert. "The James Gang is kind of like a rock and roll band out on the road on their first tour together. This is something today's audience can relate to."
The character of Jesse James has been immortalized in films and on television numerous times. Why make another film based on the legendary outlaw?
"Jesse, like Robin hood, is the stuff of legend," Zimbert says. "There's a fascination we all have with someone who does the right thing and somehow runs afoul of the establishment and the pervading laws of the time."
"The myth of Jesse James represents one of those timeless fables where an injustice is rectified, where revenge is exacted," notes producer Bill Gerber. "like so many other great heroic stories, people go back to Jesse James because it's become a story about triumph over evil."
"American Outlaws is about Jesse James in the same way Young Guns was about Billy the Kid," Robinson says. "It's loosely based on the story of this real person."
The producers selected director Les Mayfield to take the reins of this ambitious project.
"We were looking for someone who would bring to the film the same qualities the script embodied," Zimbert says. "It's a mixture of character, action, comedy and heart, and when you look at Les' previous projects - Blue Streak, Encino Man and Flubber - you can see all those elements working together."
Robinson concurs. "When we met with Les, I could sense he had tremendous passion for this material. American Outlaws is a multi-layered film. It has a lot of action, great comic moments and its romantic. I knew Les would pull these elements together to make a great
"The western genre is very much an American icon," Mayfield observes. "I love westerns and I grew up with them. However, American Outlaws is a very different kind of western and that's what attracted me to this project. It's a Western that's been reinvented. We've put a new spin on an old tradition."
"As far as I'm concerned Jesse James is a myth," Mayfield continues. "His real life and demise are great mysteries. So we took this inspiration of Jesse James and made it into this
Besides the Jesse James myth, American Outlaws also explores themes that are both timeless and relevant today. "The movie is about what happens when your life, your family, your land, all the things that are most important to you, are threatened," says star Cohn Farrell. 'What do you do? At what stage do you decide to say no and take up arms and fight for what you believe and fight for what is yours?"
Making American Outlaws helped many of the actors live out their childhood cowboy dreams. "I was thrilled to find out that half the crew grew up wanting to film a western because, although there's been hundreds of them, not everybody's done one," comments
"A certain amount of the anticipation comes from the fact that there is no
immediate experience of the Old West," Farrell adds. "It's similar to how I felt as a kid when I was into dinosaurs. I was so fascinated with them because they're big and scary and amazing, but also because I never got to see or hear them. It's that romantic idea of what it was like back in the
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