I'm writing this for the uninitiated who I feel can't go on without knowing about this film. Hobo With a Shotgun is possibly one of the coolest, most outrageous projects I've ever heard of. It comes from fairytale beginnings — or should that be bloody, shotgun-filled nightmares? — that remind you why you love the film industry and why it feels like it has a bit of magic attached to it.
The film began as a trailer created by Dartmouth filmmakers Jason Eisner, John Davies, and Rob Cotterill. They entered the trailer into Robert Rodriguez's South by Southwest Grindhouse trailers contest in 2007, which encouraged filmmakers to make their own grindhouse-style trailer, which would air before Rodriguez and Tarantino's Grindhouse feature. Hobo With a Shotgun won the competition and was screened, mainly in Canada, before the Grindhouse feature. The trailer, made in five days for $150, instantly won over viewers due to its premise and its appreciation, portrayal, and near-parody of grindhouse-style cinema.
The trailer sees the Hobo, played by David Brunt, walk into a new town. The town is filled with violence, sex, drugs, and a general breakdown of morals and the fabric of society. People live in fear as gangsters, pimps, pedophiles, and drug dealers rule the streets until the Hobo says enough is enough. He embarks on a vigilante rampage for justice that is spearheaded by his trusty shotgun and marked by blood. The trailer features lots of death and inventive violence mixed with some hilarious one-liners from Brunt like "I'm gonna sleep in your bloody carcasses tonight" and "You're taking a car ride to hell and you're riding shotgun" while looking like it was made in the '70s or '80s.
Ever since its first screening Eisner has been entertaining offers for making the trailer into a feature film. Skip ahead three years to April 19, 2010 and Eisner's much loved trailer is starting its first day of shooting. Eisner is back in the director's chair but unfortunately David Brunt, the original Hobo, has been replaced. While his gravelly voice and menacing portrayal of the Hobo will be missed Eisner has managed to draft someone more than capable of making the Hobo a big screen star — Rutger Hauer. That's right, the star of films like Blade Runner, The Hitcher, and Ladyhawke is headlining this indie feature.