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Picture: Oliver Stone's New Film 'Savages' Starring Blake Lively

Savages. This movie has a crazy good cast. In addition to Lively and Del Toro, it includes Demian Bichir (better known as the actor who got Michael Fassbender’s Oscar nomination), John Travolta, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayak, Uma Thurman and Emile Hirsch

Based on a novel by Don Wilson, which Stone purchased the rights to before it was even published, the plot line for Savages is deceptively simple: Pot growers Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend (Lively). This is Oliver Stone. I'm sure the image above only hints at the harrowing brutality involved.

The Official Universal synopsis:

Three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller "Savages," featuring the all-star ensemble cast of Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The film is based on Don Winslow's best-selling crime novel that was named one of The New York Times' Top 10 Books of 2010. 

Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town…until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.

When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon—with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)—wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills. 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy , Garrett Hedlund and James Franco were all considered for Ben before Johnson was cast and Blake Lively replaced Jennifer Lawrence who left when she was cast in The Hunger Games, only after Olivia Wilde, Abbie Cornish, Amber Heard and Teresa Palmer were also considered.

I'm not a Lively fan (especially after The Town and The Green Lantern) but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt since she beat out some really talented actresses. If she whiffs this, I'm out.

Savages is set to open in the US and the UK on September 28, but there is talk of it going to Cannes in May and I think this is another one that we’ll see in the TIFF lineup in the Fall, possibly even Venice.


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