Burning Bright

Three new films: One Night Only, Oliver Sherman, Unbound Captives

Okay, the film news, finally. Garret has several projects lined up, two of them in the very near future.

First up is One Night Only, a short film with Kristen Wiig, that starts shooting one of these days in New York.

The mystery project, Oliver Sherman, is a psychological thriller written by Ryan Redford that goes into production in September in Toronto. Garret will play Oliver Sherman, a “damaged soldier who seeks out an old platoon buddy and his wife and tries to put some demons to rest.” Molly Parker will also star.

The third film, still a few months away, is Unbound Captives, a western drama/romance/epic set in the 1860s, written by Madeleine Stowe, who is also attached to direct it. (Interesting story about that here.)

The film is expected to start shooting toward the end of the year on locations in New Zealand and New Mexico. The story follows a woman named May (Rachel Weisz), whose two children are kidnapped and husband killed by the Comanche. She is rescued by a frontiersman, Tom Dearborn (Hugh Jackman), who later helps her search for the kids. Garret will play Jackman’s brother Jack and Robert Pattinson (Little Ashes, Twilight) has been cast as May’s son Phineas. John Toll (Braveheart, The Thin Red Line) will be the cinematographer. Producer Ashok Amritraj recently told the Deccan Herald that they are targeting an early 2011 release date.

And, to recap, between then and now:

The Last House on the Left is out on DVD on August 18
Life season two will be released on August 25
The Road might will premiere in Venice some time in early September (TBA July 30)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season two comes out on DVD on September 22
The CSI season premiere airs on September 24
Lie to Me episode 2×02 airs on October 5
The Road opens wide on October 16
Burning Bright is still slated for release in 2009, but no exact date yet
Winter’s Bone might premiere at Sundance in late January, but we won’t know for sure until December, when they release the official lineup

Finally, here is some footage of Garret’s co-stars trashing equipment on the set of Burning Bright, from The Hollywood Edge:

Tiger movie in the news – interview with Carlos Brooks

Bloody Disgusting has a new interview with Burning Bright director Carlos Brooks. A few quotes after the jump, for the full version go here.

Tiger in Burning Bright (2009)

BD: Did you add anything to the existing script?
CB: Before we started shooting we had two or three script meetings. I added some ideas, but nothing structurally significant. At least I wouldn’t call anything I added significant. All the big set pieces were already envisioned. When we started shooting we learned quickly that the tiger will rewrite your script. In one scene he was supposed to put his front paws on the kitchen island and raise himself up to peer around the room. I called action and suddenly the tiger was leaping onto the stove and crashing into the hanging pots. We went with the tiger’s version.

BD: Was it hard mixing the two elements of a hurricane and a tiger into one suspenseful film?
CB: Not once I realized the two are really the same idea — just unbridled Nature. Suddenly then you’re not talking about good and evil. It’s actually more fearsome than that. Because you can’t read it. I think that’s why the hockey mask is such a classic horror image — that total absence of emotional cues — it’s just a force coming at you with a Benihana knife. You start to sense that the hockey mask itself has an intelligence that you can’t read. And that really creeps me out. I hooked into this story when I understood that tigers and hurricanes are just masks for the same merciless Nature. When you first encounter the premise of this movie, it can seem preposterous — to be trapped in a house with a tiger during a hurricane — but the hurricane is integral to explaining how that happened. In fact, I think my job is to take your hand and lead you in and show you how it happened, how it’s real, and if I do everything right, and you say, “Okay, now I get it,” then at some point it feels real enough for me to let go, and sort of say, “Okay, you’re on your own from here on.” And at that point, as my editor Miklos Wright likes to say, the movie takes over.

Tiger in Burning Bright (2009)

BD: How was it working with the tiger? Did the tiger ever work WITH any of the actors on set?
CB: The tigers — there were three, Katie, Sheka and Kizmet — did not work with the actors, due to the aggressive nature of the performances we were trying to get. We shot on a sound stage in Florida, next to the Universal theme park. Sometimes we were shooting the tiger on green screen and the actors on the set, and sometimes it was the reverse. But never the same days. We shot on a two story house built inside a sound stage, but that’s a pretty confined place to be moving around with three very large tigers. It was a locked set and some of our crew chose to leave the building before the tigers were let onto the set for a shot, and not return until the shot was over and they were back in their enclosure. And I understood why. Others, like our camera crew, worked face-to-face with the tigers for every shot because we had to get those shots. And again, you just can’t predict what’s going to happen. The trainers always want to do the crazy aggressive stuff last (in the shoot) because once a cat gets juiced up, you can’t really work with them again for awhile. For me the scariest moment was actually hearing the tiger’s warning growl when it feels you’re about to take it’s meal — that’s its most scary sound. When you hear it your body records it forever in the balls of your feet. Thankfully nobody ever got hurt, including the tigers.

BD: How bloody and violent is it?
CB: This is a thriller — with horror underpinnings, perhaps, but it’s not a horror movie, strictly speaking — so there is some but not a lot of gore until the end. When it does happen, it’s fairly gory. We’re still not sure if the ratings board is going to let us get away with what we have. And the funny thing is, at first I thought the gore we shot was not realistic enough. But at our first test screening I couldn’t believe how virtually everybody was totally repulsed by it! They wanted it to stop. I think it’s because even though we had used prosthetics, the tiger was still — again — 100% real. And therefore what happens very much comes off as disturbing. By the time the gag happens (so to speak) you haven’t been lulled into that CG complacency. My visual effects supervisor, Dan Schmit, actually promoted the concept of shooting as much “in-camera” as we could — even though it lessened his CG work. And it benefited the movie enormously. I think that’s the mark of good VFX. While it’s surprisingly easy to use gags and gore to get people squirming, it’s much better when you get them genuinely filled with dread first.

Tiger in Burning Bright (2009)

BD: How did the test screenings go, did you have to do any additional shooting?
CB: Test screenings are very instructive. Especially at this point in my career, I become a chemistry student — I sit there and ask why is the audience reacting this way in this moment? what is that moment doing for them? what if we cut three more frames? It’s all very instructive. Our first test screening told us the audience was much more interested in the tiger’s back story than we had anticipated. So we were able to shoot a scene with Meat Loaf doing a cameo that turned out very well. That was an additional scene, but there was no reshoot of anything previously filmed. That said, I will go on record and say that reshoots ought to be line items in film budgets. In fact, for Woody Allen I think they are. But what we did to improve our odds of getting what we needed out of the gates was we did not attempt to complete the tigers during principal photography. Instead, we set aside our green screen tiger days so that we could edit the film for awhile and discover exactly what was needed to complete it. It was a very successful strategy.

BD: What’s the release plans as of right now?
CB: Lionsgate has first crack, so we’ll let you know their release plans when they see the finished film. As it happens I’m off in about fifteen minutes to lay in the final end credit design.

Burning Bright screened in Cannes

Burning Bright was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last week. (No, not in competition. Sobini Films were probably just looking for distributors.) The version screened was 89 minutes long. [Cinando.com]

Burning Bright Cannes poster

Sobini Films has a page up with a bunch of stills from the film. The set is also available on Flickr.

First pics of Johnny Gavineau below.

Garret Dillahunt as Johnny Gavineau in Burning Bright (2009)

Garret Dillahunt and Briana Evigan in Burning Bright (2009)

Garret Dillahunt in Burning Bright (2009)

Two new interviews – SCI FI Wire, AICN

The first one is with the cast of The Last House on the Left, from SCI FI Wire:

The second one is just Garret and AICN’s Capone. It includes some Sarah Connor spoilers and finally the info about the character he plays in Winter’s Bone. Snippets below:

In many ways, the character you’re playing in LAST HOUSE, especially in the way he was played by David Hess in the original, marked a turning point in the way evil was depicted on screen, and the evil that men do. Where is the starting point for you in bringing a character like that to life?

Garret Dillahunt: I guess it’s different for every part. Some you kind of know. Sometimes you’re like, “I’ve met this guy.” I’ve certainly never met this guy. I did read a lot. I got one of the Amazon Kindle things, which I thought I would hate, but I really love, and I packed it with 15 or 20 books I thought would be of interest, about serial killers and spree killers. There’s one in particular, and I can’t remember which one it was now, that kind of detailed a whole bunch of different killers. I think I was looking for little clue to explain why he was the way he was. I do think he’s a spree killer, not a serial killer–I learned the difference in that. Do you remember Andrew Cunanan?

The guy who died in Florida, sure.

GD: Yeah, the guy who killer Versace. I never would have thought that I’d find a lot for my guy in him, but I did, because there was this one story, really horrible. I guess I didn’t really know about all of the other people he’d killed on his way to Florida. There was one in particular that was a home invasion–I think he needed a new car–and he must have surprised someone at home. It was an older gentleman who had a military background, and they said he killed him so viciously and it was odd because that kind of cruelty is usually reserved for people that know the victim.

Did having worked with her before help at all in staging that horrific rape scene?

GD: It was helpful. But it was both, I think. Because you don’t want to do that to your friend, and I considered her my friend. I kept saying how nervous I was and that I was more nervous that she was, and she misunderstood my nerves. It wasn’t that I was nervous that I could do it; I was nervous that she wouldn’t like me after I did. Because I like her. She was 15 when we worked together the first time, and she was 19 or 20 now, and I like her and feel protective of her. So in the end, I think that it was helpful. That scene has to be about her. She’s going to go to a real dark place all day long, and I’m going to grind her in the dirt. There’s no room for joking around between takes. Let’s just be focused and not to this 100 times. We’ll do a good job, and between takes, I’ll help her up and put a blanket around her and make sure she’s safe. I think we made it the least weird we could. She was real nice to me and grateful.

That’s especially good to hear because, if you believe the stories, the actress to played the role in the original essentially lost her mind because of those scenes.

GD: Yeah, there are different philosophies about how to act. I personally don’t think it should be psychologically damaging. There’s no money in that. [laughs] That’s not acting. I prefer a little more craft than that. I don’t see why I would be needed if I actually had to become that thing.

I’m also a fan of “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” so I have to ask about John Henry. There’s so much being made about how the shift to Fridays is a bad sign for the show’s future and the rating, and they’re kind of missing the point that the show has never been better, especially those scenes with you and Shirley Manson.

GD: I guess I like to be different with each character if I can, and I’ve been fortunate to have some options that way. Krug was certainly a departure from the last thing I did. And since I got to do something like four characters to play on “Terminator“–John Henry, Cromartie, George Laszlo, and that Beastwizard character–I just wanted John Henry to be very different. I thought, he’s going to be so much smarter because he’d plugged into this supercomputer, and he seems interested and curious in humans, so it seemed like a great opportunity to explore human emotions and learning and what I don’t know at times. And I like Shirley a lot, really fun, very well read and articulate, and everything just sounds cool with a Scottish accent.

So where does John Henry go from here. Does he finally get to leave that room?

GD: He does get to leave the room. I wish it had been a little earlier, but I will eventually get to leave that room. There are big fingers crossed for next season where I’ll be going, but I don’t know; we’ll see where that goes.

Is there still more learning to do for that character?

GD: I don’t even know what episode we’re on. I play with lots of toys. Later I get in a fight, a computer fight, that is quite traumatic for him. He loses his innocence a little bit. I’m sorry I’m being so vague.

Speaking of being in a separate story from the main plot, you and Tommy Lee Jones had your own little movie going on in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

GD: Javier [Bardem] was talking about how wild it was that we won this ensemble award at the SAG Awards and we barely got to work with each other. Each of us had our own movie. That’s not really what ensemble means but it was interesting. I never crossed paths with Javier or Josh [Brolin].

Being a part of that film had to mean so much to you…

GD: Yeah, I was just happy to be a part of it. I’m a big fan of Cormac McCarthy’s work, and I was determined to be in every Cormac McCarthy movie there every was. So far two! It was actually “Deadwood” that made me just want to do stuff I was proud of.

And with “Deadwood,” they loved you so much, they couldn’t let you go even after your character died.

GD: I know. Thank God, right? That’s my niche. I’m dying for a niche.

Who do you play in THE ROAD?

GD: Well, it’s weird because it’s really about The Boy and The Man. No one has names in the book. Viggo Mortensen plays The Man, and Kodi Smit plays The Boy. I play The Gang Member. We all had two days if we’re not Kodi or Viggo, and it’s a great group of people who are willing to do that. Robert Duvall is in it, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce is great. Molly Parker from “Deadwood” is in it as well. It was just cool to be a part of. I’m a big fan of THE PROPOSITION.

I sat down with Viggo in October right after they’d announced that THE ROAD was not coming out at the end of last year as originally intended. He just really wanted to see it because he hadn’t at that time.

GD: I think it deserves awards. I’m sure he’s seen it by now. I saw a screening here about three weeks ago, here in L.A. I think it’s pretty beautiful. If you’re a fan of the book, you’ll be a fan of the movie.

Aside from THE ROAD, what is next for you?

GD: I’m filming a movie right now called WINTER’S BONE, based on a book of the same name by this guy named Daniel Woodrell. He wrote the book RIDE WITH THE DEVIL was based on. Do you remember that?

The Ang Lee film?

GD: I think that film is kind of underrated. I like that. Same author, but it’s a little more contemporary. It’s about hillbillies cooking meth in the Ozarks. I’m a sheriff in that one, back to playing good guys again. I’m not always bad guys.

Well, you did play Jesus.

GD: Can’t get much better than that. You played him, you can play as many bad guys as you want.

Why do you think guys like [“Deadwood” creator] David Milch or [“Terminator” creator] Josh Friedman or Wes Craven see you as the bad guy? Are you giving off some vibe?

GD: I don’t know. I just like interesting role and good stories. And often, the villain is the most interesting role. Maybe they understand that no one is just good and just bad. It’s always surprising.

You tend to alter your facial hair for each part, does that inform you into the character’s state of mind in any way?

GD: [laughs] I guess I do. I don’t know if it specifically it does, but it is like any other part of your costume. I need the right shoes. I remember reading about Michael Caine. If his feet aren’t in a short, he’s going to wear his old comfy tennis shoes, even if he’s wearing a suit or something. That’s the kind of thing that throws me off completely. I need my heavy boots on for Krug. [Ain’t It Cool News]