Deadline.com — The world of bare-knuckle boxing is explored in Max Winkler’s TIFF entry Jungleland, which stars Charlie Hunnam as Stanley, who manages his boxer brother Lion (Jack O’Connell).
“I’d always wanted to write sort of an unconventional love story,” Winkler told us when he came to the Deadline studio, “and this one is about brothers. It’s sort of like the male dramas of American film in the ’70s—Bob Rafelson movies like The King of Marvin Gardens and Five Easy Pieces, and Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail. I love Paul Newman in Hud. I just loved these movies about masculinity, and how we mask our true emotion with these sort of faux facades of toughness, and that, paired with how much I love John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, was the early starting point for me, when I started writing this. I knew I wanted to make a movie about toxic masculinity and brotherhood, [because] this type of love story is not something you see a lot. We sent it to Charlie with our fingers crossed, and it was then that we really started kicking in gear.”
“I play the elder of the two brothers,” said Hunnam, “who is just a really passionate, open, loving dude, who has aspirations that are beyond his station. But he is relentless in his self-belief, and in faith in his brother, that they’re destined for something greater than their meager beginning in life. [That’s] the engine that pushes them through, and really, for me, it was about his existential dread. Y’know, if you start running from the dragon, and allow the dragon to grow, then there’s a certain point it becomes impossible to turn and face it—that’s one of the things that identifies or reveals the fragility of his façade of masculinity. He starts to realize that this is a losing battle, and there’s no recourse, so that’s where the great drama for him comes in: how do we get out of this impossible situation I’ve got us into?”