TheWrap.com — Do you ever wonder how actors feel when they see their significant other in a sex scene on screen? “True History of the Kelly Gang” director Justin Kurzel not only had to watch — he had to direct his wife Essie Davis in a scene with Charlie Hunnam.
“I have the privilege of being married to the director,” Davis told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Charlie’s first day on set, and my second day on set, [Kurzel was like], ‘Okay, Essie, can you kneel down and Charlie can you stand there?’ I was like, ‘Hi, Charlie!’”
Kurzel added: “That was more confronting than I thought, actually, directing a scene of my wife giving fellatio to Charlie. Especially because we had just met as well, and we were still getting to know each other… and I’m sitting there and watching it on the split, I thought, wow, that is really affecting me, not in a good or bad way, it’s just, sort of, you know…”
“True History of the Kelly Gang” is about the story of outlaw and bush-ranger Ned Kelly and his family, and how Kelly fled from authorities with his “gang” during the 1970s. It is based on Peter Carey’s novel, and Shaun Grant wrote the script. George MacKay stars as the outlaw, while Davis plays his mother, and Hunnam plays a sergeant who often visits the family’s home.
“[Ned Kelly is] a notorious figure in Australia,” Kurzel said when asked why he wanted to tell this particular story, adding that Kelly was so “mythical in Australia and there was an idea there and a kind of voice that I thought I hadn’t heard and seen before that spoke to our identity as Australians, but also this notion about what is truth and whether your own history can be stolen from you.”
MacKay was attracted to the project for two reasons: The idea of family as a focal point “amidst a Justin Kurzel film.”
Hunnam agreed: “Initially, it was about the desire to work with Justin and when I read the script, I thought this was a fun challenge to make what could be played traditionally as an arch-villainous type of role… it would be nice to get really deeply inside his head and see if we could find some redeeming qualities or at least the truth of why he was behaving the way he was. Justin was clearly thinking the same thing.”
And his time on set was different for Hunnam than the other projects he’s worked on.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever showed up to a set and felt like I was just there to play and have fun,” he explained. “It was such a small role, it didn’t feel like there were any stakes — there are never any stakes — because it’s really just about you coming and trying to find some truth and reveal your heart.”
“True History of the Kelly Gang” was acquired by IFC Films at the festival and the distributor plans to release the drama in 2020.
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?”
Deadline.com — The full story of Ned Kelly and his outlaw family isn’t widely known outside of Australia, despite several attempts to tell the story onscreen, notably a 1970 version starring The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger in the lead. After sitting out festival season with 2016’s videogame adaptation Assassin’s Creed, Justin Kurzel returned to TIFF with his attempt to put the record straight: based on Peter Carey’s 2000 book of the same name, True History of the Kelly Gang is a loose biopic of the armed robber who was executed by hanging in 1880, aged just 25.
“In Australia, he’s made out to be a beacon,” Kurzel explained with he stopped by the Deadline Studio. “[His image] was at the beginning of our opening ceremony at the Olympics. The right-wing use him as a kind of icon. He’s been kind of stolen by everyone as something that is Australian, and I was really curious about why we place a certain sense of who we are on him. He was a kid, when he died, and there was something about poking at the mythology of him that I thought could be really, really interesting.”
To play Ned, Kurzel chose a Brit: Captain Fantastic’s George Mackay. “My dad’s Australian, and there [were] all kinds of family ties,” Mackay recalled, “so when it all came together, the opportunity of auditioning for the story and playing this part was amazing. But after auditioning for Justin in the room, and talking about the possibility of the character, and reading Peter Carey’s book, it all changed. Because I was just seeing all the surface-level things of this icon of Australia, [and I wanted to know] who this man really was. Without getting too heavy, what’s truth?”
A Million Little Pieces will be in theaters in the UK on August 30th, 2019 and then later in the US on December 6th, 2019. You can watch the trailer below:
Here is the synopsis:
An alcoholic and a drug addict, 23 year-old James has two options: treatment or death. After waking up on a plane with a smashed up face and no memory of the past few weeks, he heads to rehab where he discovers much more than detox and therapy. As James endures the white-knuckle journey of mending his broken body, he heals his broken soul by connecting with other kindred spirits who also yearn and fight for a better life.
Based on the best-selling book by James Frey with a screenplay by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson, the film also stars Billy Bob Thornton, Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, and Odessa Young.
You can also view high quality screen captures of Charlie from the trailer in the gallery now.
On April 2nd, Charlie attended The State of the Industry Past, Present and Future and STXfilms Presentation the during the 2019 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Nevada.During the presentation Charlie and Henry Golding discussed the upcoming Guy Ritchie film ‘The Gentleman’ which they both have roles in.
You can check out 100+ high quality photos and Charlie’s interviews from the event below: