Interview with GRINGO filmmaker NASH EDGERTON!
Australian filmmaker Nash Edgerton established himself as a director to watch with 2008 crime thriller THE SQUARE, where he teamed with his renowned thespian brother Joel Edgerton to offer up a queasily unsettling look at small-time crime.
The sibling duo re-team for new film GRINGO, a crime caper directed by Nash that balances kinetic action scenes with a palpable sense of offbeat humour. Equal parts thrilling and hilarious, GRINGO’s plot includes Mexican drug cartels, kidnapping plots (real and staged), corporate backstabbing and a black-ops mercenary. Exactly the kind of high-energy project you’d expect a prolific industry stuntman like Nash to produce!
We talked to Nash about his vision for the film, working with his brother on set, and what we can expect to see from him in future projects.
You aren’t afraid to tackle some weighty topics in GRINGO like Big Pharma, drug trafficking and corporate greed. Is the film in some way a reflection of your own personal beliefs and politics?
I think you can’t help but reflect on the world around you when you are making films. So I’m sure there is some of that in each thing that I make.
Aside from your directing, you also have a background as a prolific stuntman. Were you able to draw on that experience in your approach to GRINGO?
Being a stuntman on other peoples films has been my film school – so yes I think inevitably my experiences infuse into my approach with all things I make.
GRINGO plays heavily on tone, laugh-out -loud moments coupled with tragic ones. How tricky was maintaining that balance?
It’s definitely a tricky tone to tread – ultimately I think if you play all moments for truth then you can have both humour and tragedy together – like in life.
You have an amazing ensemble cast in GRINGO – including Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, David Oyelowo, Sharlto Copley and of course Joel. How big a hand did you have in the casting?
I had a wonderful casting director, Carmen Cuba who I worked with to cast the film. I think casting is a huge part of directing and I am involved in every casting choice on all things I make.
You live the older brother’s dream here by getting to order around your star (and younger sibling) Joel Edgerton. How was the dynamic on set?
Working with Joel is always great. We love working together and try to often. The dynamic is essentially the same as when we aren’t at work.
Like GRINGO, your previous feature THE SQUARE is an interesting nourish genre experiment – something I feel Australian filmmakers are uniquely talented at producing. What draws you to these kinds of projects, and do you think you reflect an ‘Australian’ filmmaking perspective in you work?
I definitely enjoy noir films and I like films that feel like they have a mix of genres and are unpredictable. I think being born here I can’t not have an Australian perspective.
Finally – what’s next from Nash Edgerton?
Next up I have a TV series coming out called MR INBETWEEN that Scott Ryan wrote and stars in, then my brother’s new film BOY ERASED.
GRINGO is now playing in cinemas across Australia and you can catch it at Cinema Nova this Friday June 15th 6:30pm with a Q&A by director Nash Edgerton.