Exclusive: Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan on Soldado, the Sequel to Sicario

– by Edward Douglas

Last year, one of the biggest surprise sleeper hits was Denis Villeneuve’s crime-thriller Sicario, starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent who teams with Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro to fight the Mexican drug cartels, before learning her teammates may be almost as corrupt as those they’re chasing. 

The movie ended up grossing $47 million domestically and $37 million overseas, and it received 3 Oscar nominations including one for Johann Johannsson (who we just happen to have an interview with next week). It proved successful enough that the producers decided to pursue a sequel featuring Brolin and Del Toro’s characters. The film, titled Soldado (or “Soldier”), is currently filming for a release sometime in 2017.  

While talking with the film’s screenwriter Taylor Sheridan about Hell or High Water, the modern day Western starring Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster, which hit DVD and BluRay last week, LRM asked him about Soldado, for which he also wrote the script.

“We decided to do a sequel to this, literally before the movie came out,” he told us. “It was in early post. When Trent (Luckinbill) and Molly (Smith), the financiers and producers on it, when they asked me, ‘Hey, we love these characters so much. Is there anything you could do to continue exploring them?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d love to. Here’s what I would do. I had thought about it before’ and they said, ‘That’s great, let’s do that.’ And that was the end of the conversation. I told them at that point, ‘You gotta just let me run off and do it. I don’t want to have a bunch of development meetings. Once I’m done, you can change it all you want, but let me just go do it.’”

“The thing about the sequel to Sicario,” he continued. “Tragically, the issues that are discussed in the first one still exist. There’s still a landscape to explore. Our method of policing along the border, issues that take place on the border, obviously it’s a subject on the forefront of everyone’s mind politically during the election. It warrant further exploration, and the characters of Alejandro and Matt are excellent vehicles to do that.”

Sheridan felt like there was a lot more that could be done with the characters.

“The interesting thing about these characters from a structural standpoint with respect to Matt and Alejandro--I’m sure someone else has done it--but they don’t arc. There’s no arc to the characters. They’re no different at the end of the film than the beginning. They’re a constant, they represent a constant, and therefore, they’re as great a mystery at the end as they are at the beginning, which is by design. The more you learn about them, the less you understand them. You think they’re this one thing, and then they turn out to be something different. The characters themselves just lend themselves to being explored more.”

Sheridan is currently finishing up his directorial debut Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner, Jon Bernthal and Elizabeth Olsen, and we’ll have more on that and Hell or Holy Water in the full interview that will run soon.

 

Film, LRM Exclusives, Featured, News Sicario, Soldado, Taylor Sheridan, Benicio del Toro, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, LRM Exclusive, Scoops