One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was Australian director Matthew Saville’s (Noise) Felony. Starring Joel Edgerton (who also wrote the screenplay), Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney, and Melissa George, the film is about three detectives that become entangled after a tragic accident leaves a young child in critical condition. Per the synopsis, “one is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it.”
Shortly before the premiere I sat down with Joel Edgerton for an extended video interview. He talked about the issues that Felony explores, his writing process, financing, what he collects, his upcoming directorial debut (it’s explores what it would be like to run into the person who you used to terrorized in school), and much more. In addition, he talked about playing Ramses in Ridley Scott‘s Exodus, how he was cast, shaving his head for the role, and the shooting locations. Finally, he talked about the difficult production of Jane Got a Gun and how they got the film back on track. Hit the jump to watch.
As usual, I’ve listed what we talked about so you can watch the parts that interest you. I’ve also pulled selected quotes on some of his future projects.
- :11 – Talks about the difficulty of making personal movies in the current moviemaking climate.
- 1:27 – Describes the film and its plot.
- 3:48 – The writing process of the film. He wrote a short film about a hit and run accident, and then decided he wanted to expand it into a feature film that allowed the audience to walk in a number of people’s different shoes. He started writing it five years ago.
- 5:11 – Was it tough to get financing? Said securing Tom Wilkinson was big for them.
- 6:40 – What does he collect? Talks about his jackets.
- 7:37 – Talks about his haircut and playing Ramses in Exodus. Says the pharaohs were kind of hairless at the time, so he’s going for accuracy. “This is somewhere towards my haircut for Ramses in Ridley’s movie. My haircut next week will be pretty much [bald].”
- 8:25 – How he landed the job in Exodus. “It was a film that came onto my radar a while ago. It was something that was sort of floating around in my sphere but I wasn’t sure what was really happening. I don’t really know exactly what happened, but I’ll tell you what, one day I woke up and I had a bunch of congratulatory emails in my inbox and I woke up to find out I was working with Ridley, because it was already in the trades.”
- 9:20 – Says they start shooting Exodus soon. “Very soon, like in a couple of weeks. We’re at Pinewood Studios for a little while, and then we go to Spain, and then we go to Canary Islands or Morocco.”
- 9:58 – Talks about all the movies that are filming in London and not Los Angeles and why that is.
- 12:52 – The making of Jane Got a Gun and the troubled production. “What is going to be hopefully the most fantastic conclusion to the whole stumbling, falling, riding itself process of making that movie, is that I think it’s gonna be fantastic…Obviously it was a very traumatic experience to turn up on day one of the shoot and to kind of realize that you don’t have a director—and by that way I don’t wanna trivialize it or make fun of it or anything because as much as I know, obviously there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t know. I don’t think anybody’s a villain or anybody’s a hero, but there were a lot of heroes in what happened next. For whatever reason Lynne left, Gavin O’Connor came onboard, and he and Anthony Timbarkus who wrote Warrior came onboard and we kind of finessed the script, rewrote the script essentially for Gavin’s sensibility because it had been left in this Frankenstein kind of hybrid form.”
- 15:26 – Runs down the plot of Jane Got a Gun.
- 16:11 – Talks about the rating of Jane Got a Gun and tells a story of the more graphic director’s cut of King Arthur.
- 17:20 – Talks about his directorial debut. Says it’s tonally similar to Felony and is about what it would be like if you were to run into the person who you really terrorized in school.
- 18:30 – Says he’ll be playing the victim of the bullying and they’ll be shooting in California. He hopes to make it after Exodus next year.
- 19:41 – Talks about being able to assemble an impressive cast based on his relationships with other actors.
- 20:32 – The more he gets involved with filmmaking, the more he starts seeing the business angle of things
- 22:01 – Does he have a drawer full of script ideas like Woody Allen? Says he’s writing a lot with David Michod.