Christopher Abbott is a drifter who wreaks havoc on a small Alaskan town in The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive clip of Sweet Virginia.
The Girls alum, who made an impression in Josh Mond's drama James White, goes up against Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, The Walking Dead) in this gritty neo-Western, which premieres this month at New York's Tribeca Film Festival.
In the first clip of the film, Abbott's loner Elwood wanders into a closed diner much to the dismay of one of the locals on staff, Mitchell (Jonathan Tucker). When he is told to leave, Elwood threatens, "Do you have a wife that you have to get home to, Mitchell?" and repeatedly asks for the early bird special before storming out.
Written by brothers Ben and Paul China and directed by Jamie M. Dagg (River), the indie thriller is a haunting drama about former rodeo star Sam Rossi (Bernthal), who starts a friendship with the young hitman (Abbott) responsible for a local massacre, unbeknown to Rossi. Every character, from his loved ones to his business patrons, plays a part in the unraveling of this rattled community, forcing the aged hero to face his past and present relationships to come up against the unpredictable predator.
Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt and Odessa Young also star in the film.
The drama was originally set in Virginia in the late 1970s in the China brothers' Black List script, but Dagg changed the setting to a fictional town in southeast Alaska to better tell the story of a group of morally ambiguous people as they confront life, love and death in a place famous for attracting drifters and misfits.
"It's about resilience, about people who are struggling to escape their past," said Dagg, who grew up in a small town in Canada and was drawn to the script because many of the characters mirrored those from his hometown. "I've witnessed firsthand the frustration that people endure when they feel like they've been left behind. I'm fascinated with how the lack of anonymity in small communities changes the dynamics in how people relate to one another, where everyone is incestuously interwoven into the very fabric of the community, and keeping secrets is difficult."
Sweet Virginia is produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Chris Ferguson, Fernando Loureiro, Roberto Vasconcellos and Rian Cahill.