Everyone and their (his?) mother loves The Proposition, the Nick Cave-penned Australian western starring Danny Huston as a villain who could give Chigurh a run for his money in sheer badassery. It's hard to blame them, since movies that gritty and tough don't come along very often. (As modern westerns go, I think 3:10 to Yuma is better, but it certainly isn't as awesomely brutal.) Two years after that film became a critical darling and a sleeper hit of sorts, director John Hillcoat -- who is currently in production on Cormac McCarthy's The Road -- has signed with Columbia to direct an adaptation of a not-yet-released novel by Matt Bondurant called The Wettest Country in the World. The book is about a trio of gangsters -- the author's grandfather and grand-uncles -- who ran the moonshine trade at the peak of the Prohibition Era, and the writer who tracked them in search of a scoop.

Matt Bondurant's website lists October of this year as the street date for the novel, which must be something special for Columbia to snap it up before seeing how it fares with readers. (Does anyone remember the last time this happened with a book by an author who wasn't a household name?) Maybe everyone just read the plot description, thought of Miller's Crossing, and started to salivate.

Meanwhile, The Road is still slated for release this Thanksgiving, no doubt in the hopes that Cormac McCarthy can sweep a second straight Oscar night. By the time Wettest Country starts shooting (it doesn't yet have a screenwriter), Hillcoat could be a much hotter commodity.