Yesterday we got to talk with one of our favorite filmmakers, John Hillcoat, about his prohibition-era gangster movie “Lawless,” out on Blu-ray and DVD next week (more on that soon). We couldn’t help but ask the director, who was previously responsible for the aborigines-versus-colonizers western “The Proposition” and the post-apocalyptic fable “The Road,” what was next. He told us about us upcoming crime epic “Triple Nine,” his proposed remake of Jean-Pierre Melville‘s “Le Cercle Rouge,” and how he wants to do a science-fiction movie set in the distant future.
About “Triple Nine,” which was at one point set to co-star his “Lawless” lead Shia LeBeouf (now, maybe not so much), the director said that he’s “hoping to shoot it early next year, in the spring. As usual, if funding comes together.”
Hillcoat said the decision to tackle “Triple Nine” next has to do with his emotional temperament while making “Lawless.” “I’ve realized I’ve become a bit reactive to each film I do,” Hillcoat explained. “After ‘The Road’ I was desperate to do something that had color and warmth to it and a stronger sense of community. And so after ‘Lawless’ I’m keen to do something that’s urban and contemporary. Something that’s ultra-contemporary in a way.”
Not that “Triple Nine” will be a breeze. “It’s a big ensemble. You’re looking at the contemporary crime landscape from the top to the bottom from what’s out on the street,” Hillcoat said. Earlier in the interview, he cited “GoodFellas” as the ultimate crime movie because it covers a similarly large swath of ground.
Since it is a big ensemble, we wondered if there would be room for Guy Pearce, Hillcoat’s frequent collaborator. The answer, unsurprisingly, was yes. “I always try and find a place for Guy Pearce,” Hillcoat said. “The great thing about him is he’s so versatile, and I wouldn’t work with an actor that much if it weren’t for the fact that he had so much versatility.” He then added: “I will be on the lookout, no doubt.”
One of the more provocative projects Hillcoat had been attached to was a remake of “Le Circle Rouge,” the certifiable crime classic by French director Jean-Pierre Melville. (If you haven’t seen it – get on it.) “I struggle with the ideas,” Hillcoat admitted about the project. “I love Jean-Pierre Melville so much, in fact his whole interpretation of crime remains a big influence on me so I found it difficult to do it justice and had very high expectations if I was to take it on.” While it doesn’t seem to be completely off the table, it’s not something that Hillcoat is doing any time soon. “I’m not sure about that, to be honest,” he added.
As for “The Death of Bunny Munroe,” based on a novel by “Lawless” writer and composer Nick Cave, which star Ray Winstone somewhat recently said would “make ‘Shame’ look like the ‘Teletubbies,'” Hillcoat is still attached, but not to direct. “I’m producing that, actually,” he clarified. “We kind of moved on with that. I want to stay involved but Nick and I have decided to find someone else to do that with Ray Winstone.” Hillcoat hasn’t found his replacement yet, saying, “It’s still a process.”
When talking about how he wants to alternate between movies with contemporary settings to ones set in the past, Hillcoat also revealed that, “I would love to go further into the future and do a sci-fi film.” Whether this would be an original idea or a literary adaptation, Hillcoat just said, “Whatever comes first.” He then went on to discuss the genre: “I love ‘Alien‘ and ‘Blade Runner‘ and ‘2001.’ I love the sci-fi movies where it’s from the point of view of humans in that situation…When it becomes too clever in its ideas, the cyber-punk high-tech thing, it becomes more about something else. I still like man’s relationship to all of that. Or it becomes a pure spectacle like a computer game. So I’m looking to get the right balance there.”
We wondered if, given his love of “Alien,” he had seen Ridley Scott‘s sort-of prequel, “Prometheus.” “I haven’t seen it,” Hillcoat admitted. “I kind of don’t want to because I love the original so much I was scared of what I’d find with the prequel.” A valid fear, indeed.
“Lawless” is out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, November 27th. More from our interview with Hillcoat soon.