Ethan Hawke & Alessandro Nivola to Play Brothers in ‘Satan is Real’

Ethan Hawke and Alessandro Nivola team up for the upcoming biopic ‘Satan is Real,’ reports Variety. Hawke and Nivola, who are real-life best friends, will portray Charlie and Ira Louvin, popular country musicians in the movie. The report also reveals that the plot centers on the brothers’ intense relationship flavored with mutual love, hatred, ego, and alcohol.

‘Satan is Real’ is directed by Phil Morrison, who is known for the 2005 comedy-drama ‘Junebug’ starring Nivola. Jon Raymond and Shelby Gaines are writing the screenplay based on a memoir of the same name by Charlie Louvin. Protagonist Pictures handles the sales of the movie.

Hawke and Nivola described their pairing as an attempt to attain a “blood harmony” onscreen. “It’s such an important expression to us,” Hawke told Variety. “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,” added the actor. “It’s ultimately a tragic story but it needs to be injected with a kind of wit,” said Nivola.

Apart from their musical journey together, the brothers led extremely different personal lives. While Charlie Louvin opted to live as a devoted Christian, his bother Ira chose the opposite path of the devil. Charlie kept his profile as a churchgoing singer, whereas Ira earned notoriety for smashing his mandolin onstage and always wreaking havoc around him.

‘Satan is Real’ is produced by 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. Jason Blum of Blumhouse, and Eric Laufer and Giovanna Randall of Braven Films join the project as executive producers.

Hawke and Nivola will reportedly present the movie to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival this week. “We wanted to show the financiers that we can do it and it will be good,” Hawke told Variety. In order to lure the buyers, Hawke and Nivola even recorded some Louvin Brothers numbers together at the studio.

Charlie and Ira Louvin grew up in Sand Mountain, Alabama. They developed their unique harmony style based on the Sacred Harp tradition of the Baptist church. Charlie Louvin wrote his memories ‘Satan is Real’ along with co-writer Benjamin Whitmer. The book, as well as the upcoming movie, gets the titles from a popular Louvin recording. The track is known for Ira’s preaching, “to believe in God’s grace is also to accept the Devil’s pull,” between the lyrics. The song was included in their 1959 album of the same name. The album cover featured cover art of a sixteen-foot-high plywood Satan painted by Louvin Brothers.