Magazine article Screen International

Joel Edgerton, Felony

Magazine article Screen International

Joel Edgerton, Felony

Article excerpt

Sandy George talks to Joel Edgerton about his new film, Felony, which premieres at Toronto.

Sydney-based Joel Edgerton wrote, plays the lead and is a producer for the new Australian film Felony, which is premiering at Toronto today as a special presentation. The Solution Entertainment Group handles international sales with CAA repping US rights.

How would you explain in shorthand, say to your grandmother, what Felony is about?

If I was to be esoteric, and my grandmother was a bit, I'd say it's about growing up and seeing that the world is not just black and white but grey as well. If my grandmother was more bricks and mortar I'd say it's about a police officer who hits a kid in his car and lies about it.

Why did you want to tell this story?

As with The Square (Edgerton's first produced feature screenplay, directed by his brother Nash Edgerton), I was inspired by reading newspaper articles about hit-and-run car accidents. I realised that as much as I could tell you that I would do the right thing in a similar situation, I couldn't with complete truth until I'd walked in those shoes.

I wanted to write a thriller that felt redemptive but also had a very relatable scenario. I'm interested in real human dilemmas; in this film, in how we compel ourselves back to telling the truth after we've told a lie, whether punishment and forgiveness is most potent when it's from you, and whether a person feels more or less guilty when there is a threat of being exposed.

I call it a compression thriller in that the ethics and ideas and points of view become the danger.

Who were your main collaborators on Felony?

I wrote the script on my own. Though Kieran Darcy-Smith and David Michôd, from Blue-Tongue, ran their eyes over it. (This pair, the Edgerton brothers, Luke Doolan, their 'American buddy' Spencer Susser and latest addition Mirrah Foulkes make up the Sydney-based film collective Blue-Tongue Films.)

When I saw Noise, it had a real impact on me and I thought: 'I've got to get Matt Saville to direct Felony'. He is so mature as a filmmaker. It must have been 2007 or 2008 and I'd never even met him and he said 'no' for a couple of reasons, one being that he'd done a movie with police in it. My feeble response was 'They were uniformed police and these are detectives'!

I knew Matt could bring atmosphere to a screen, choose shots appropriate to the subtext, rather than just shooting the script. I dragged my feet around to other people but couldn't bring myself to lock in anyone else. Thankfully, about two months later, Matt called back.

Officially, how is Blue-Tongue Films involved on Felony?

Blue-Tongue is just a bunch of people making stuff but part of our agreement is that if one or more of us is involved in a project, we say it's a co-production. We have a bank account and an office but you're not going to walk in and be met by a receptionist.

We are a filmmaking gang, a non-violent filmmaking gang. Some of our films are violent but we're not! We are by choice disorganised. We know if we tried to formalise it any more, we would kill it so we choose to be just people who swap scripts and are very honest with each other about the work.

You have made short films. Did you think about directing Felony yourself?

It was too complicated for me. I needed to bite off something simpler for my first feature. Plus I wanted to play the character of Malcolm and he was too big a part of the movie for me to also direct.

How did you, Rosemary Blight from Goalpost Pictures in Australia and Michael Benaroya from Benaroya Pictures in the US split the producing role? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.