Ethan Hawke and Alessandro Nivola are teaming up in the “Satan Is Real” movie, the story of the Louvin Brothers. The real-life best friends will portray Charlie and Ira Louvin, influential country musicians whose relationship is forged by love, hate, jealousy, and alcohol.
In an interview with Variety, Hawke and Nivola said they hoped to achieve a music term called “blood harmony” in their performances. It’s a term that describes the kind of harmonizing that can be achieved when family members sing together, because their genetic link allows them to share the same tone in their voice.
“It’s such an important expression to us,” said Hawke. “It sounds both violent and beautiful and the music should be that. It’s aggressive, it’s electric, it’s strange. It’s not Brooklyn folk rock. It’s not wannabe cool guy country. It’s hillbilly gospel music.”
The film will be directed by Phil Morrison, who previously worked with Nivola on “Junebug.” Jon Raymond and Shelby Gaines are writing the screenplay drawing on Charlie Louvin’s adaptation. Protagonist Pictures is handling sales of the film.
The brothers may have been related, but they had dramatically different personalities. Charlie Louvin was an honest Christian man and churchgoing singer, and his brother Ira had the devil in him, known for smashing his mandolin to splinters onstage and wrecking havoc in his wake.
The film’s producers include Frida Torresblanco for Braven Films, Ryan Hawke for Under the Influence Productions, Jeff Elliott for Off the Pier Productions, and Nivola for King Bee Productions. Executive producers are Jason Blum of Blumhouse, as well as Eric Laufer and Giovanna Randall from Braven Films.
Satan Is Real is just the latest country music-themed project for Hawke. He directed the 2018 film Blaze about cult troubadour Blaze Foley, played by Ben Dickey, and shortly after launched the record label SexHawkeBlack with Charlie Sexton and SXSW’s Louis Black. Their first release was Dickey’s solo album A Glimmer on the Outskirts.