Animal Kingdom will launch the Guardian Australian Film Club (Sydney) at 2pm on 19 July at Sydney’s Palace Verona. Luke Buckmaster will be joined by Animal Kingdom producer Liz Watts, Kath Shelper (Ruben Guthrie) and Tristan Roache-Turner (Wyrmwood) to discuss making debut films in Australia. You can book your tickets here
The Guardian interviewed David from LA as part of the launch of the Film Club. Here’s an extract from the article:
“When writer-director David Michôd sat down to edit his debut feature film, 2010’s Animal Kingdom, he was months away from basking in the warm reception of what we now know as one of the most critically acclaimed Australian films since the turn of the century – and undoubtedly among the country’s finest modern crime dramas.
Animal Kingdom is an immensely assured film, with consummate production values, a beautifully written screenplay and great acting (including Jacki Weaver’s Oscar-nominated performance). But Michôd, a self-professed “emotional being”, was too close to the material and too green to fully comprehend what he had made.
“When I was cutting the movie, I had no idea what it was and I was chronically depressed. I had a pretty open fear that maybe I was making a gigantic mess,” he says, on the phone from LA where he is in pre-production on War Machine, a US$60m satire starring Brad Pitt.
“We had test screenings throughout the edit and people would come in and say very nice things, but I just assumed they were lying because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings.”
The moment Michôd contemplated the extent of his achievement – a film rightly described by the Guardian’s own Peter Bradshaw as “the nearest we’re going to get to an Australian GoodFellas” – finally arrived when Animal Kingdom received a rapturous response from an auditorium full of strangers at the Sundance film festival.
“Always for me that first memorable buzz was the one we had at Sundance,” he says. “We went there with a film nobody was talking about. It really felt like the second that first screening happened, everything went nuts, and didn’t stop for about a year and a half.
And, of course, there’s Jacki Weaver. The veteran actor’s performance as the family matriarch – that dragon smile, the way she holds herself, the tender lilt in her voice and sinister gleam in her eyes – lifts Michôd’s well-written character to sinister heights.
There is something serendipitous in the fact the moment her character orders a hit on a member of her family – what the director describes as Weaver’s “Oscar’s scene” – was the final one they filmed. Even the self-doubting Michôd sensed its significance.
“I remember experiencing the feeling so acutely, in a way I hadn’t to that extent felt at any other part during the shoot, that we had done something special,” he says. “I remember leaving that last scene on that last night thinking, if nothing else in the movie works, at least that scene is kind of great.”
To read the full article, click here.
I need to try and change my current plans for Sunday 19 July 2015.