Joel Edgerton

Lynne Ramsay

It’s the ill-fated production that just won’t die, no matter how many bullets you put in its head. The Brian Duffield-penned Blacklist screenplay Jane Got a Gun got off to a solid start (perhaps even with a bang?) when lauded director Lynne Ramsay signed on to helm the tale of a Western woman who must turn to her ex-lover to help protect her homestead and husband from a band of baddie thugs (well, horseback thugs) out to kill them. The addition of stars Natalie Portman (who also signed on to produce the project), Michael Fassbender, and Joel Edgerton only made the project sound still more enticing before, well, everything just went to hell in a big, Hollywood-shaped handbasket. And now it’s going to court! But first, let’s begin with a recap of the situation – an extensive enough series of events that we truly hopes spawn some sort of behind the scenes book or oral history or something at some point in time.

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edgerton

The first time we heard that Ridley Scott was thinking about putting together a Moses tale, word was that the project he was eyeballing was called Exodus, Fox was pressuring him to put it on the fast track, and he and the studio were trying their damnedest to get Christian Bale to attach himself as the film’s lead. Well, some exciting developments have gone down since then. Not only has Bale definitely agreed to come on board and grow a hipster beard to play Moses, but the film is also definitely set to go in front of cameras soon—likely as soon as September even. And now, in yet another bit of promising news, THR is reporting that rising star Joel Edgerton is negotiating to star opposite Bale.

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dunst

So far Jeff Nichols has only directed three films, but when those three films are as good as Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, it really only takes three films for pundits to start painting you as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies. And once somebody gets anointed as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies, every time they announce a new project it tends to be a momentous occasion of celebration. That’s why we were so excited to hear that Nichols would be keeping his streak of working with powerhouse actor Michael Shannon alive for his next film, a father/son drama with a chase element called Midnight Special. Factor in that Nichols has since added another one of the top acting names working in the business, Joel Edgerton, to the cast, and things have started to look even more promising. With these three guys collaborating, Midnight Special has to be seen as one of the most notable movies currently being made, which is good news for Kirsten Dunst, because Deadline is reporting that she’s the latest name signed to come on board and help out the cause.

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edgerton

What is Casting Couch? It’s a roundup of casting news, and today it’s a total sausage fest. When the guests at the news party are as charming as Michael Peña and Christopher Plummer though, it’s hard to complain. Unless you’re one of the few people who sat through The Odd Life of Timothy Green and haven’t repressed the memory, it’s not likely you’ve ever seen a Joel Edgerton performance and come away disappointed. And unless you’re just an absolute monster, it’s not likely you’ve ever seen a Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) movie and come away disappointed either. Put the two of them together and what do you get? Apparently a “present-day sci-fi chase film” that’s also going to star Michael Shannon. Or, at least, that’s what a Variety report claiming that Edgerton is currently negotiating to join Nichols’ next project says. I probably don’t have to tell you that this all sounds very intriguing.

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review wish you were here

A man and a pregnant woman lay on the beach, soaking in the sun and talking. Alice (Felicity Price) asks Jeremy (Antony Starr) if he could go anywhere where would he go, and he answers simply that he would stay there. The “there” in question is a small town on the southwestern shores of Cambodia, and after a brief montage of two couples enjoying a week free of responsibility we see them celebrating their last night there with some illicit pills. The next morning is a blur as Alice’s husband, Dave (Joel Edgerton), wanders a dawn-lit field, disheveled and bloodied. Jeremy meanwhile, instigator of the trip and brand new boyfriend to Alice’s sister, Steph (Teresa Palmer), has gone missing. Wish You Were Here is a dramatic thriller that explores guilt, doubt and responsibility through its various relationships. Husband to wife, sister to sister, and stranger to stranger are pairings that get tested by way of a mystery involving one man’s disappearance and the truth hiding just below the surface. There’s an interesting story here, but much of its power is neutered by a structure heavily reliant on flashback reveals. Happily, thanks in large part to the performances, there’s still enough juice left to make for an engaging-enough watch.

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Johnny Depp

While we’re not usually inclined to speculate on the financial desires of Hollywood’s brightest stars, it seems as if today’s report that Johnny Depp has dropped out of Barry Levinson‘s Whitey Bulger biopic, Black Mass, due to financial disagreements leaves us little choice. Deadline had reported that this was a possibility last night, writing then that “the troubles are in making his [Depp's] deal and things aren’t looking great at the moment.” THR now weighs in with the firm news that Depp has exited the biopic, citing budget issues – namely, that the film’s trimmed budget wasn’t going to accommodate Depp’s “usual” $20M fee and that Depp wasn’t going to accommodate a price drop that would have put his paycheck closer to $10M. With Depp attached to the film since February, it raises the question – why now? THR also reports that the film’s sale at Cannes was “on the soft side,” leading to a necessary budget trim that would put the total cost of the film in the $60M range. A “producer source” does, however, dispute the soft angle, “saying the sales were on target and that most territories were sold.” No matter what happened, the film is now out one major (and majorly bankable) star in Depp.

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johansson-kitchen

What is Casting Couch? It’s the same casting news roundup that it’s always been, but today Cannes started up, so it’s got a little extra juice. Christoph Waltz, Bradley Cooper, Michelle Williams, Joel Edgerton: they’re all in here. Seeing as Jon Favreau made more money than science knew existed with his two installments of the Iron Man franchise, he’s basically the kind of director who now has the power to do anything he wants in the film industry. So it was kind of refreshing to hear that what he wanted to do was make a simple indie movie called Chef about a chef who falls on hard times and tries to make his comeback by opening a food truck. But now Variety has reported that he’s gone and hired Scarlett Johansson to play his love interest in the movie, and suddenly his motivations don’t appear to be all that down to Earth. Johansson is an underrated actress and will probably be fine in the film, but—come on! Try to not let all of that power go to your head, Mr. Favreau. We’re watching.

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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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Wish You Were Here

Okay, movies, we get it now. We shouldn’t go on vacation anymore, it only seems to lead to sex, drugs, criminal trouble, and death. What’s that, you say? That was only Spring Breakers? There are plenty of wholesome vacation-based films to enjoy out there? Fine, why don’t you go ahead and just book my ticket straight to Kieran Darcy-Smith‘s Wish You Were Here then? Ah, gotcha! Looks like there is nothing but sex, drugs, criminal trouble, and death in that one, too! Of course, the new film from Blue-Tongue Films members Darcy-Smith (who co-wrote the film with star Felicity Price) is very, very different than Harmony Korine’s latest opus, but it still will keep us away from beach vacations for quite awhile. The film features rising star Joel Edgerton as Price’s husband, Teresa Palmer as her sister, and Antony Starr as Palmer’s new boyfriend, with the four heading off on a Southeast Asian trip that ends in tragedy. Turns out, four might leave on that trip, but only three return, with Price, Edgerton, and Palmer forced home after Starr goes missing in a very peculiar fashion. Just what is going on here? While we can’t tell just yet (this one is definitely twisty), it certainly looks like Edgerton might need to retain a lawyer ASAP. Stay in the safety of your own home, in your own town, far away from tropical beaches and debauchery, and check out the first trailer for Wish You Were Here after the break.

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Jude Law

The Jane Got a Gun news just does not stop around here. Just a day after original director Lynne Ramsay exited the project in spectacular fashion and mere hours after Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor stepped in to direct, newly-minted lead Jude Law has now left the film. Deadline Hollywood reveals that Law has “formally withdrawn from the film. It is because he signed on to work with Ramsay, best known for the edgy drama We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Law only recently came on board the project after Michael Fassbender dropped out and Ramsay reportedly reshuffled other leading man Joel Edgerton into a different role to fill the gap. Edgerton will likely stick around, as he has a positive working relationship with O’Connor after their Warrior. Ramsay has still not commented on the situation.

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Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.33.05 PM

A fair amount of critics are touting Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty as her masterpiece. While Bigelow has definitely directed films in her decades of filmmaking that are comparable to the overall quality of Zero Dark Thirty, it is great that between this and her Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, she is getting the acclaim that she deserves. What does set Zero Dark Thirty apart from the rest of the Kathryn Bigelow oeuvre is that is a far more deliberate and slower paced film that her others. At about two-and-a-half hours, it includes only perhaps two or three major “action/suspense” scenes, which are all impeccably executed in her usual fashion. Mostly, however, the film follows the mental unraveling and rise to power of CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) as she follows a seemingly-circumstantial hunch, which results in her looking over Osama bin Laden’s body bag. The film certainly is successful in what it sets out to do. Through Chastain’s Maya, it is a more nuanced study of the disappointments of losing the war on terror against Al Qaeda and then fighting back, resulting in less of a fist pump of exultation, but more of a quiet recognition of accomplishment.

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The Great Gatsby

If there’s one thing our culture never gets tired of, it’s tabloid news. Taking a promising young pretty person, anointing them with almost mythic stature, and then feasting on their misery like psychic vampires when they eventually succumb to scandal and fall from grace…that’s the name of the game! Seeing as the new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby sticks pretty closely to this formula, and presents things with the flashy, kinetic visual style that the director has become famous for, chances are it’s going to do a good job of selling this story to a wider audience than was willing to read Fitzgerald’s novel in their high school English class. When it was first announced that Luhrmann was going to be tackling material as generally dry as Gatsby, and filming it in 3D no less, the entire notion seemed kind of absurd. But after watching this trailer, it starts to make a bit of sense. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is getting what he wants by entering and mastering a world of artifice. The main drama in the story is generally concerned with who’s sleeping with who. Plus, this is a period piece that affords its director the opportunity to stage several lavish parties. All of that isn’t too far off from what Luhrmann has already done with Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!

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How awkward that the first piece of marketing for Baz Luhrmann‘s still-ludicrously-3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most famous work to strike any sort of literary chord is this brand new batch of character posters for The Great Gatsby.Featuring the film’s six principle stars (that’s Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker), each crisply-designed poster features a quote from the novel about their respective characters. What an idea! Using text to illuminate a new adaptation of a text. Drop the 3D, Baz, this stuff is what looks good. After the break, brush up on your high school lit, and meet Daisy, Nick, Jordan, Tom, and Myrtle.

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Michael Shannon

What is Casting Couch? It’s the roundup of casting news that knows what Gillian Jacobs is going to be doing with her upcoming break from Community. All that time in the bushes finally paid off. Most people probably thought Wild Things director John McNaughton’s career hit its zenith when he directed Wild Things. That movie was basically the most ’90s thing ever, and it practically introduced the concept of the three-way to the square community through the communicative power of Denise Richards’ boobs. He may yet top that work though, because Deadline reports that he’s just recruited the best actor in the world, Michael Shannon, to star in his upcoming thriller The Harvest. The film will star Samantha Morton as a successful heart surgeon and Shannon as her co-dependent husband. Its conflict comes in when their sick son meets a new friend, and suddenly the very controlled routine that Morton’s character has created starts to break down. Sounds like a creepy mom.

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Sure, this latest trailer for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is a lot of things: cool, collected, awesome, awesome, exciting, cool all over again, bold, vibrant, but it’s also dominated by one overwhelming force that encompasses all those adjectives. Jessica Chastain. Did we somehow miss that this film, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal‘s true life take on the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, was really The Chastain Show? Looks like it, and we’ve already got our ticket in hand. Check out the latest Zero Dark Thirty trailer after the break.

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Tom Wilkinson

Not only is Joel Edgerton a burgeoning star who looks like he’s on the brink of big things in the acting world, he’s also a creative type who’s been writing scripts and directing shorts for a while. So it should come as no surprise that the upcoming thriller, Felony, has his name on its credits as both the writer and the star. As we learned back in May, Felony is being directed by Matthew Saville (Noise) and will star Edgerton as a generally good officer of the law who makes a big mistake followed by a big moral compromise when his driving home drunk leads to an accident and then his lying about it. As it does in most thrillers, one decision bereft of morality inevitably leads to a downward spiral of very bad things. Seeing as the film is set to go in front of cameras in late October, the time to fill out the rest of the cast is nigh, and Saville has got himself off to a great start by bringing the experienced and exceptional Tom Wilkinson into the fold. Wilkinson, of course, is a veteran name who’s been working regularly since the early ’80s, but most recently you’ve seen him in joints like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Conspirator, and The Ghost Writer. Here he’ll be playing the role of Detective Carl Summer, the police investigator who arrives on the scene following the Edgerton character’s accident.

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The trailer for Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby was all kinds of flashy and promising, so when the news of the film’s Christmas release getting scrapped broke, it seemed as if the Oscar contender wasn’t exactly the awards picture everyone was making it out to be. Warner Bros. stated the release shift was only a matter of reaching the biggest audience possible, but if they really felt that confident in their 3D Luhrmann Fest, it’s doubtful the film would’ve had a difficult time reaching a broad audience come Christmas. Now, we’ve received news which raises questions over whether Warners was one hundred percent truthful with their reasoning. Luhrmann is currently seeking outside funds to “complete” the film, with Warner Bros. unwilling to sink any more cash into the $127m project. Luhrmann is attempting to privately raise funds for both additional reshoots and to polish the film’s substantial amount of effects.

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Though he’s primarily known for the recent acting work he’s done in movies like Warrior and Animal Kingdom, Joel Edgerton is a man who’s been on the scene for a while, and not just as an actor, but as a writer too. As a matter of fact, the next project he has on his plate is a film called Felony, that he both wrote the screenplay for and is set to star in. Not much is yet known about the film, except that it’s about a decorated police officer who runs a cyclist off the road while driving intoxicated and then lies about it, and it’s going to be directed by fellow Australian Matthew Saville. Given Edgerton’s ability to work both as a performer and as a creator, one has to wonder if he’s ever considered taking that extra step and trying to direct a film as well as write and star in it. Well, it turns out he has. While he was doing some press for his current job, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Cinema Blend asked the actor if he ever wanted to try his hand at sitting in the director’s chair, and he had this to say, “Yeah, absolutely! I’ve got plans to do that. There’s something that I want to make, if I can, next year.”

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review

A loving couple who are unable to bear their own children imagine all the wonderful traits their offspring would possess and, drunk on equal parts wine and heartbreak, write down those traits, tuck them in a box, and bury them in their garden. It’s their attempt to finally lay to rest their dreams of having a little one, and it’s meant to be the final word on their journey to parenthood. And then something apparently magical happens, and their box (coupled with some suspect rain) sprouts into, of all things, a child. Their child, who emerges from the ground, muddy and plucky and school-aged (and sprouting leaves), sneaks into their house (and bed), and changes every single element of their lives. If The Odd Life of Timothy Green was edited even a smidgen differently, it would be one heck of a horror film. However, Peter Hedges‘ Timothy Green comes to us from Walt Disney Pictures and, in the vein of their non-animated family features like Enchanted, The Princess Diaries, and The Parent Trap, it’s a sudsy outing that hammers home all manner of sterling bits of life advice and will (at the very least) serve to entertain the entire family. It’s also absolutely bizarre, insane to the point that the “story by Ahmet Zappa” credit starts making sense within the film’s first ten minutes.

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Aural Fixation - Large

It’s in the title – The Odd Life of Timothy Green is, well, odd. But it is those oddities and the unexpected twists and turns that make this story memorable. Timothy (CJ Adams) is not your average child so bringing this character and his world to life required composer Geoff Zanelli to think outside of the box. Organic materials like dirt, wood, and leaves (of course) play a big part in not just Timothy, but all the character’s lives (and their futures) so it is no surprise that Zanelli took a more stripped down and inventive approach when creating the music for this film. Zanelli’s score is both magical and jaunty, much like Timothy himself, and creates a unique texture that helps make some of the more “out there” moments of the film still feel grounded in real emotion. I spoke with Zanelli about how he approached creating this score, what inspired him throughout the process, and what went in to creating music that sounded both familiar and new.

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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