Blue-Tongue Films

Joel Edgerton in Gate

Short Starts presents a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. With the role of Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, actor Joel Edgerton continues his rise in stardom. He even has a couple of character posters to show for his fame. Long before he was embodying a character from classic American literature, though, and long before he was hunting Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty and fighting his brother in The Warrior and even playing Darth Vader’s stepbrother in the Star Wars prequels, he was a regular figure in the short subjects scene. We can thank part of this on his nationality, as Australia is a great country for short films (it’s home of Tropfest, after all). On top of that, he came up through the film collective known as Blue-Tongue Films, alongside his writer/director/stuntman brother Nash (who is Joel’s double in Gatsby) and filmmakers David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) and Spencer Susser (Hesher). Joel made his film debut in Blue-Tongue’s first work, a nine-minute film from 1996 titled Loaded, which is directed by Nash with writer Kieran Darcy-Smith. I thought about simply posting that early baby-faced short start from the actor, but seeing as he’s in so many shorts, most of which are online, I’ve sampled five of his first appearances after the jump, two of which aren’t Blue-Tongue productions, all of which feature Joel pre-beard and pre-bulk. 

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Aussie multi-hyphenate Joel Edgerton has a full plate (we will next see him in The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Great Gatsby, and Zero Dark Thirty orwhateveritiswerecallingitnow), but that’s not stopping him from expanding his resume to continue to include writing and directing ventures. News from Cannes reveals that Edgerton will next star in Felony, a film to be directed by Matthew Saville from Edgerton’s own script. Edgerton previously co-wrote The Square, a nasty little film noir with a big bite, and he’s also penned a number of shorts for Blue-Tongue Films (the Aussie conglomerate that also includes his brother Nash Edgerton, Kieran Darcy-Smith, David Michod, Spencer Susser, and more). Felony will center on Edgerton’s character, a lauded police officer who makes the critical mistake of driving home after imbibing “a celebration drink with his team after the long waited bust of a major gang, [he] runs a young cyclist off the road. As he gives CPR to the child, fellow officers arrive to take his statement. In a split second decision he tells them a lie about the accident which will change all their lives in this edge of your seat thriller.” If you’re familiar with The Square, you’ll know just how adept Edgerton is at crafting thrillers that spin wildly (yet believably) out of control. Felony sounds like a perfect fit.

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Hesher (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a character that represents almost all different sides of life, and mainly, childhood. He’s reckless, narcissistic, always looking for fun, and you never know whether or not he’s your friend or your greatest enemy. Hesher is a cypher, someone that you can never truly understand or grasp. Many will love him and many will hate him. A character such as Hesher can’t be easy to write. If he becomes too extremist, he can lose any hints at humanity and could become a total cartoon. But director Spencer Susser and co-writer David Michôd (the director behind last year’s tremendous Animal Kingdom) managed to find an authentic grounding in this coming-of-age film that chronicles the extreme emotions of childhood. Hesher isn’t the star of the film, but he represents everything about childhood and what the lead, T.J., is going through. Here’s what Susser had to say about writing a jarring tone, the max levels Hesher goes to, and writing spontaneity:

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