Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) will star in the big screen adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s novel Lean on Pete. The acclaimed book follows Charley Thompson, a 15-year-old homeless boy in Portland, Oregon, who embarks on a perilous journey to find his long-lost aunt in Wyoming and secure a new home. When Charley sets out on his ambitious mission, he is accompanied by only one companion, a racehorse named “Lean on Pete” that he steals from Del Montgomery.
The picture has all the ingredients of a dramatic and compelling coming-of-age story. Like so many films in this genre, it involves an animal in a prominent role, but the plot of Lean on Pete is unique. It’s inspirational without being sentimental and it keeps audiences guessing.
Buscemi is set to play the role of Del. Negotiations are still underway for other cast members.
Andrew Haigh is directing the movie, which is reportedly a passion project for the filmmaker, who is coming off the surprise critical hit, 45 Years.
Haigh talked about the appeal of the story to Screen Daily: “When reading the novel, you cannot help but care for Charley. Whatever he is faced with, he keeps moving forward; he keeps running, working, driving, stealing, dreaming, trying to hold on, believing that something better is around the corner.”
Steve Buscemi has three other films premiering in 2017 alone, including the animated comedy The Boss Baby; the political thriller Oppenheimer Strategies; and the historical drama The Death of Stalin, chronicling the Soviet dictator’s eventful final days.