There's a new gold rush in Hollywood finding the next big Western. The critical and box office success of 1990's Dances With Wolves revived interest in the genre, and now Unforgiven has triggered a stampede. Among the most promising of some 60 horse operas on the way:
In Posse, out May 14, actor-director Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City) has rounded up '90s dudes (Tone Loc, Big Daddy Kane) and '70s vets (Mario's dad, director Melvin Van Peebles) for an oater with contemporary undertones.
Kurt Russell is set to play Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, a Disney Christmas release. Kevin Costner, meanwhile, is developing his own Wyatt Earp epic. Tombstone clearly has the edge, since Costner's film is still in development.
The Last of the Mohicans' Wes Studi, in the title role of Geronimo, faces off against cavalry officer Jason Patric for Columbia this summer. At TNT, producer Norman Jewison will oversee a second Geronimo for next season.
CB4 director Tamra Davis is casting Fox's Bad Girls, a Western about a posse of hookers. And Batman Returns producer Denise Di Novi is readying Outlaws, a saga of women on the range, for Columbia.
Vintage TV Westerns are also being plundered. Alec Baldwin has been tapped for a big-screen remake of Have Gun, Will Travel, due out in 1994. Mel Gibson is eyeing a theatrical version of Maverick. There's even a remake of the comic F-Troop in the works. The shoot-out for the box office dollar has just begun.