The first image from director David Michod’s (Animal Kingdom) second feature film, The Rover, has been released online. The futuristic western takes place in the Australian desert following a worldwide economic collapse and stars Guy Pearce as Eric, a man who has left everything, everyone and every semblance of human kindness behind him when a gang steals his last possession. Eric sets out to track them down and along the way is forced to enlist the help of a naïve, injured member of the gang named Rey (Robert Pattinson). Though the phrase “near-future, Australian-set western” automatically brings to mind George Miller’s masterful Mad Max series, Michod promises that The Rover is going to be “way more chillingly authentic and menacing” than those films. That’s some strong talk, but considering how great Animal Kingdom is, I’m inclined to take Michod’s word for it.
Hit the jump to take a look at the image. The film also stars Scoot McNairy (Argo), Susan Prior (Animal Kingdom), Gillian Jones (Oscar and Lucinda), Anthony Hayes (Burning Man) and David Field (Chopper). The Rover opens later this year.
VICE announced today the launch of a new program called VICE Shorts, and as part of the kick-off, they’ve released director Nash Edgerton’s (brother of Joel) deliciously twisted short film Bear online in full. The 10-minute feature is a love story, but not exactly in any way you’ve seen before. Written by Edgerton and David Michod, the film stars Edgerton and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) as the central couple. It’s definitely worth a watch and should kick your weekend off in strange fashion. Hit the jump to watch Bear.
Now free from finished with the Twilight series, Robert Pattinson is making some interesting project choices. He’s got the incredibly promising David Cronenberg thriller Cosmopolis set to open this year, just yesterday he signed on to star as the military investigator who spearheaded the capture of Saddam Hussein in Mission: Blacklist, and now comes word that he’s in talks to star in the thriller Rover. Variety reports that Pattinson and Guy Pearce are in negotiations to star in the pic, which centers on a man (Pearce) who “after having his car stolen by a group of men pursues them through the wild and rugged outback.” Hit the jump for more.
Australian actors and directors are lining up to participate in the anthology film Sydney Unplugged. According to THR, Anthony LaPaglia, Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber, Russell Crowe, Alex Proyas, David Michôd, Ivan Sen, John Curran, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Rachel Ward, and Ray Lawrence will each helm a short film. Sydney Unplugged is along the lines of previous “famous-people-love-major-city” movies New York, I Love You and Paris, J’Taime.
Anthology movies are always a mixed bag, but when each short comes from a different director, it’s at least exciting to see who will come up with the best of the bunch. I’m particularly excited to see what Michôd (who previously directed Animal Kingdom) comes up. Filming is set to begin in Sydney in the second half of 2012.
William Monahan (The Departed) and David Michod (Animal Kingdom) are the lead candidates for the director’s chair of Once Were Cops, an adaptation of Ken Bruen’s crime novel. Bruen tells the story of a pair of unstable cops in the NYPD: “the two unlikely partners become a devastatingly effective force in the war against crime.” The setting of the film will sub Boston for New York to better accentuate the Irish roots of the central character.
More, including the full synopsis of the book, after the jump.
Animal Kingdom features an outstanding ensemble cast portraying characters that run the gamut of the moral compass from Australian acting icon, Jacki Weaver, who plays Smurf, the deceptively sunny matriarch of the family, to international screen star, Guy Pearce, who plays an honest detective seeking justice for a cold blooded murder, to 17-year-old James Frecheville making his big screen debut as “J,” the naïve young nephew who moves in with his estranged family and finds himself in a world that is far larger and more menacing than he could ever imagine.
We sat down with Jacki recently at a roundtable interview to talk about her villainous performance in Animal Kingdom. A highly respected stage and screen actor with a slew of industry awards, she has been at the forefront of the Australian entertainment industry for over four decades, both on screen and on stage, and has starred in many seminal Australian films including Picnic at Hanging Rock. Jacki talked to us about why the moral ambiguity of her character makes it such an interesting story, what it was like working with David Michod, and how she kept it real, shifting effortlessly between normal, sweet and lovable one moment to monstrously cold and callous the next.
Welcome to the Melbourne underworld, where tensions are building between dangerous criminals and equally dangerous police. In Animal Kingdom, a menacing character-driven crime drama written and directed by David Michod, the Wild West is being played out on the city’s streets in a modern version of gangsters versus renegade cops. Following the death of his mother, 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) goes to live with his estranged family – a deceptively sunny grandmother, Smurf (Jacki Weaver), her hardened criminal sons, Pope (Ben Mendelsohn), Craig (Sullivan Stapleton) and Darren (Luke Ford), and Pope’s business partner, Barry ‘Baz’ Brown (Joel Edgerton). Before long, he finds himself naively navigating his way through this criminal world caught between family loyalties and the police who want his uncles dead or alive, including a senior cop (Guy Pearce) who attempts to lure “J” into the police fold.
We sat down with James and Sullivan to talk about their new film. James told us what it was like playing the young and impressionable “J” and to be cast opposite such an established Australian cast for his feature film debut. Sullivan, who plays the speed-addicted and volatile Craig Cody, described how he was attracted to the project by the caliber of script and cast and how he collaborated with Michod and his fellow actors to work out the unusual family dynamics and idiosyncratic behavior of his character.
Animal Kingdom evolved over a nine-year period inspired by writer/director David Michod’s fascination with the colorful, criminal landscape of Melbourne and a strong desire to film the city in a way that it’s rarely viewed. The film tells the story of 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) who, following the death of his mother, must navigate his survival between a violent criminal family (Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton) and the detective (Guy Pearce) who thinks he can save him.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Animal Kingdom is smartly written, confidently directed, and features an outstanding ensemble cast. We sat down with David to talk about his new movie. He told us what inspired him to write the sprawling, multi-layered Australian crime story, how he assembled such a top-notch cast, and why it was important to make a crime film that took itself seriously and had a genuine and palpable sense of menace running through it.