The cast of Scott Cooper’s revenge drama Out of the Furnace was already promising, with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, and Zoe Saldana occupying major roles and a number of intriguing actors circling the villain roles. Today, we can upgrade it to “can’t miss” status with news that Woody Harrelson and Forest Whitaker have officially signed on to round things out. The film, which will be shot primarily in a handful of economically-depressed Pennsylvania mill towns, follows two brothers desperate to leave their Rust Belt roots behind. However, when one of them (Affleck) is murdered after getting involved with a vicious crime ring, the other (Bale) is inclined to dole out some payback. Hit the jump for more on Out of the Furnace, including a full press release.
Shepard will play the boys’ uncle, while Saldana will be Bale’s ex-wife. As for the new additions, Harrelson is set for the role of a “brutal crime boss” and Whitaker comes aboard as the Sheriff of Braddock, Pennsylvania. If you happen to live in any of the towns where the film is being shot and are in possession of some scenery you don’t wish to have chewed, we suggest that you cover it with some sort of tarp now.
The film, which is Cooper’s follow-up to his 2009 debut Crazy Heart, is also benefitting from some major league talent behind the camera, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tony and Ridley Scott all on board to produce. Relativity Media will handle theatrical distribution in the US.
Here’s the full press release:
(Beverly Hills, Calif.) April 13, 2012 – Principal photography has begun today on the gripping and gritty dramatic thriller currently titled Out of the Furnace starring Oscar®-winner Christian Bale (The Fighter), Oscar®-nominated Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Oscar®-nominated Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff). Oscar®-nominated Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) and Oscar®-winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) have also joined the award-winning cast. Additional casting to be announced. The film is written and directed by critically-acclaimed Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).
Collaborating with Cooper behind the scenes is a creative below-the-line team including: director of photography Masanobu Takayanagi (The Grey), production designer Thérèse DePrez (Black Swan), Emmy Award®-winning art director Gary Kosko (Star Trek), costume designer Kurt & Bart (Stoker), Oscar®-nominated editor David Rosenbloom (The Insider) and stunt coordinator Ben Bray (The Fighter) .
Most of the filming will take place in the “mill towns” of Braddock, North Braddock and Rankin, Pennsylvania. These communities are slowly but surely rebounding after a devastating slump and will provide the evocative backdrop for the film. Additional filming will take place in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.
The currently-titled Out of the Furnace tells the story about fate, circumstance and justice. Russell (Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Affleck) live in the economically depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother is lured into one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast – a mistake that will almost cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother.
Saldana plays Bale’s love interest Lena Warren and Shepard plays Red, Russell and Rodney Baze’s uncle. Harrelson plays the brutal crime boss Harlan DeGroat and Whitaker plays Wesley Barnes, the Sheriff of Braddock.
Producing are Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar) and Jennifer Killoran (The Ides of March) alongside Scott Free’s Ridley Scott (The Grey),Tony Scott (Man on Fire) and Michael Costigan (American Gangster), as well as Relativity’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter).
Relativity Media will release the film theatrically in the U.S. Red Granite, the Los Angeles based film production, finance and international sales company has acquired foreign rights outside of the U.S. and will handle international sales. Red Granite international President Danny Dimbort and Co-President Christian Mercuri will begin shopping the film to buyers in Cannes next month.