Give 'Em Hell is an upcoming American action western film directed by John Woo and starring Ryan Reynolds, Kurt Russell, James Woods, Antonia Banderas and Natalie Portman with supporting roles played by John Turturro and Matt Bomer among others. The score was done by Hans Zimmer. The film had two sequels, Give 'Em More Hell and Give 'Em Hell on Wheels.
A drifter named Roman Gaines wanders into a tavern where he meets a man named Sean Cooper, who is on his way to the small town of Buffalo Gulch to become the new deputy. However, a band of criminals led by Tango arrive and start causing trouble and Cooper is fatally shot in the mayhem. After the villains ride off into the night, Cooper gives Gaines his badge and tells him to serve justice. Cooper dies and Gaines buries him in a shallow graves, promising to avenge him. He takes on Cooper's identity and heads into Buffalo Gulch.
Gaines becomes the deputy of Sheriff Stanton Combs, who tells him not to give Tango and his gang any trouble or else they will descend upon Buffalo Gulch and kill many people. Gaines also meets Combs' daughter Annie, and observes their estranged relationship. He begins trying to romance Annie, but to no avail.
One day, a man is dragged into the sheriff's station and throw into a cell. The man continually yells so Gaines confronts him to quieten him. The man introduces himself as Raylan Hawkins, an infamous former lawman who nows floats between towns and dishes out his own harsh brand of justice. Hawkins overhears Gaines talking to Combs about doing something about Tango and explains to Gaines that he is also after Tango, or at least was until he was arrested. Gaines decides to release Hawkins on the condition he stays away from his town, only to later find Hawkins living it up in the tavern.
A local bully named Bad Ben comes in and starts intimidating Annie, so Gaines tries to get him to back down. When Bad Ben gets violent, Hawkins steps in and Bad Ben challenges him to a duel. Hawkins calmly accepts, in spite of the people's fears as Bad Ben is a famously good shot. However, Hawkins proves to be a better shot and he kills Bad Ben. Unbeknownst to Hawkins and Gaines, Bad Ben was the brother of Packer, one of Tango's men. When Packer learns of his death, he becomes enraged and kills a young farmhand at a farm the gang are raiding. Tango comes over to see what the commotion is and Packer tells him about Bad Ben. Tango then decides it's time they paid Buffalo Gulch a little visit.
At night, the town is celebrating Bad Ben's death in the tavern when Tango's gang arrives and they tear through the town, leaving much destruction in their wake. Gaines hides in the sheriff's station and tries to retrieve some weapons when Combs and Tango enter. Combs berates Tango for attacking without warning or reason; Tango tells him about Packer and Bad Ben and demands to know who killed him. Combs tells Tango about Hawkins before they leave. Realising that they are somehow in league with each other, Gaines runs off to find Hawkins, who has become holed up in the tavern. Packer also arrives and tries to shoot Hawkins, managing to wound him. Before he can finish the job, Gaines shows up and guns him down. Tango kidnaps Annie in retaliation and rides off into the desert.
Gaines organizes a party to pursue them and rescue Annie. Among the group are Hawkins and a distraught Combs. They ride out and make camp as night falls. Combs tells Gaines about when Annie was a little girl and how much he loves her. Gaines asks how much and adds that he isn't sure himself before retiring.
Over the next few days, the group follow Tango's trail, until Tango arrives on another farm. The gang raid it and set if on fire. The heroes then try to sneak in and rescue Annie, while Combs goes to confront Tango. He tells him that he's been scared of him for too long and it's time to do something about. Tango laughs, until Combs shoots him in the leg. Tango then shoots Combs in the gut, and he dies.
The others are found by the rest of Tango's gang and a shootout ensues. Hawkins manages to kill Tango's right hand man, Cryer, by impaling him with a pitchfork. Tango grabs Annie and escapes on a horse. Gaines steals another horse and chases him. He manages to leap from his horse onto Tango's where they fight. Gaines wraps the straps of the saddle around Tango's neck and the villain asks him who he is. Gaines tells him his real name, revealing his true identity to a shocked Annie. He then kicks Tango off the horse and he is dragged behind it, eventually strangling him to death. Gaines tries to explain himself to Annie, who tells him to be quiet and kisses him as the other heroes cheer.
The group take Combs' body with them back to Buffalo Gulch, where they are met by cheers. At the edge of town, Hawkins tells Gaines it's time to move on and that he'll see him around. Gaines bids him farewell as Hawkins departs. Annie then takes her father's badge and gives it to Gaines, making him the new sheriff. The final shot of the film is Hawkins riding off into the sunset in search of more adventures.
Ryan Reynolds - Roman Gaines
Kurt Russell - Raylan Hawkins
James Woods - Stanton Combs
Antonio Banders - Tango
Natalie Portman - Annie Combs
John Turturro - Messer
Matt Bomer - Sean Cooper
Guillermo del Toro, the film's producer, was disappointed that Hollywood was no longer producing any Westerns. He decided to make one himself and hired writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to pen the script. At the same time, Kurtzman was talking to John Woo, who told him about his long standing desire to make a Western-themed film. Kurtzman told him about the project he was working on and Woo became interested. Del Toro originally planned to direct the film, but had to drop out due to committments to King Kong. He then met with Woo, who was interested in directing, and Woo signed on not long after.
Fans of the film Tombstone, Orci and Kurtzman wrote the role of Raylan Hawkins with Kurt Russell in mind. He was originally going to be the main character, but after a rewrite introduced Roman Gaines, they decided to shift the main focus to Gaines while still keeping Hawkins' role in the story large. Woo selected Ryan Reynolds to play Gaines after seeing him in Green Lantern and thought he was perfect for the role. Reynolds was the first character to be cast.
Initially, Woo was going to cast James Woods as Hawkins, but Woods was not interested at the time. Orci and Kurtzman then approached Woo and asked him to look into getting Kurt Russell. Woo was unsure as he had heard that Russell would be unavailable, having just been cast in another film. However the casting news was false and Russell was able to join the project. Woo then reapproached Woods for the role of Sheriff Combs and he accepted, to Woo's surprise. Early on, Combs was intended to be a simple good guy but his character slowly morphed into a more villainous role. This was what got Woods interested.
Both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis screen tested with Reynolds for the role of Annie Combs and Portman was picked. This proved to be good for both as Kunis was then available to audition for the James Bond film Live and Let Die. She didn't get that role either, but the producers liked her screen test so much that she was cast as Bond girl Holly Goodhead in the later installment 007: Moonraker.
Banderas was the last of the main cast to join the film. He was the first one approached to play Tango, but he was unavailable and had to pass, even though he said he would have loved to do it. Benicio del Toro was cast, and even filmed a few scenes available on the DVD release. However, del Toro soon left the project for personal reasons, and at the same time, a film Banderas was working on was shelved. This freed up some time in Banderas' schedule and he was able to play Tango.