One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang. Based on Peter Carey’s Booker Prize-winning novel, the film is a fictionalized re-telling of the life and crimes of infamous 19th-century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly (played by George Mackay). For those unfamiliar with Kelly’s story, while he only lived twenty-five years, he’s an Australian legend in the mold of Jesse James or Robin Hood. In the film, which is told in three acts, we learn about Kelly’s childhood, teenage years, and, finally, his last days. The film also stars Russell Crowe, Charlie Hunnam, Nicolas Hoult, Essie Davis and Thomasin Mackenzie.
Shortly after seeing the film I sat down with Charlie Hunnam and George MacKay at the Collider studio at TIFF. They talked about the unique story structure, how much they knew about Ned Kelly’s story before getting the script, what it’s like working with actors they admire, why MacKay and the other actors created a punk band for rehearsal on the movie, and so much more. In addition, Charlie Hunnam shares a great story about his first scene with Russell Crowe (around the 9 minute mark) and how he auditioned for Master and Commander three times without getting a role.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.
We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.
Charlie Hunnam and George MacKay:
- How much did they know about Ned Kelly’s story before getting the script?
- How they should get an apartment in Toronto since they’re there so much.
- What was their reaction reading the script?
- How it has a three act structure.
- How films have moved away from the typical first act set up.
- Is it hard when working with Russell Crowe to not spend the entire day talking about Master and Commander?
Hunnam shares a GREAT Russell Crowe story.
- Hunnam reveals he auditioned three times for Master and Commander.
- What is it like working with other actors you really respect and admire?
- Why MacKay and the other actors created a punk band for rehearsal on the movie.
- Can they watch themselves on screen?
- Hunnam shares what happened to him after watching The Lost City of Z in England.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Set against the badlands of colonial Australia where the English rule with a bloody fist and the Irish endure, Ned Kelly (George Mackay) discovers he comes from a line of Irish rebels called the Sons of Sieve, an uncompromising army of cross dressing bandits immortalized for terrorizing their oppressors back in Ireland. Nurtured by the notorious bushranger Harry Power (Russell Crowe) and fueled by the unfair arrest of his mother, Ned Kelly recruits a wild bunch of warriors to plot one of the most audacious attacks of anarchy and rebellion the country has ever seen. Loved by the people, feared by his enemies and carved in history, Ned Kelly is more than a Robin Hood, he is a f***ing legend.