How ‘The Highwaymen’ Shares a New Side of the Bonnie & Clyde Story
Notorious robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are believed to have killed at least 13 people on their two-year Depression-era crime spree, yet they became glamorized in pop culture. Now screenwriter John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo) wants to fill you in on the true heroes of the tale: two former lawmen who used old-school methods to bring down the bandits.
Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) star as the pair in Netflix’s new film The Highwaymen, written by Fusco and directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side). “Two great retired Texas Rangers are brought in to track down these gangsters when the fledgling FBI and law enforcement from around the country can’t,” explains Fusco.
Hamer is convinced to take on the case by several prominent Texans, including Gov. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (Kathy Bates).To nab the elusive duo, he enlists Gault, and the two men begin to plot new ways to catch their prey. After all, these were former horse-riding men who carried Winchesters going up against hardened criminals with an armory of automatic weapons and a swift V8 car. Still, Hamer, who had learned Native American tracking techniques, came up with an inspired idea, says Fusco: Think of the thieves as a pack of wild horses.
“They’re going to run in a big circle, and they always run home,” the writer explains. “Following that instinct, keeping his ear to the ground and taking his time, [Hamer] tightened that circle till it led to the Cajun swamps of Louisiana.” Which is where — spoiler alert if you haven’t heard — Bonnie and Clyde met their ends in a hail of gunfire in May 1934.
The incredible story has been Fusco’s passion for decades. “I was fascinated by Bonnie and Clyde, especially after seeing the 1967 movie,” the writer notes. “It inspired me to do more research, and I found there was a real disconnect between the movie and history.” Now, at last, the truth can be told.
The Highwaymen, Premieres Friday, March 29, Netflix