If you don’t already think of Joel Edgerton as a polymath, it might be time to take another look at his résumé. The very busy thespian delivered his feature directorial debut last summer with “The Gift” (which he also wrote), appeared in “Black Mass” and “Life,” and this past weekend rode into theaters with “Jane Got A Gun.” However, sitting in the saddle wasn’t Edgerton’s only job on the western. When Gavin O’Connor came aboard to replace the suddenly departed Lynne Ramsay, Edgerton helped rewrite the script for the director’s sensibilities. And while, in this interview on Happy Sad Confused, he does get into some of the behind-the-scenes drama, he suggests that Ramsay’s side of the story has yet to be revealed (indeed, she’s remained mum so far).
“For more than one reason, Lynne left the process and while it didn’t look good for her, there’s a bigger, deeper story there in terms of her creative differences with our producers and what have you. But she picked a very unfortunate time to leave — day one,” he told Happy Sad Confused.
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Edgerton adds the project could’ve lived or died at that moment, but the wheels kept moving once it was decided to keep going, and he dove into taking on a new role (he was originally slated to be the villain but that part was recast with Ewan McGregor) and reworking the script.
It’s ample evidence of Edgerton’s work ethic, and in fact it seems he’s working so hard we’ve missed news on some of the stuff he has brewing. Three years ago, it was revealed that Edgerton and filmmaker David Michôd (who have previously collaborated on the screenplay for “Animal Kingdom“) had written a Shakespeare adaptation for Warner Bros. called “King” (via MichodsKingdom). And Edgerton goes into a bit of detail about what that project is all about.
“We’ve written ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Henry V’ as a period film, but with our own dialogue. For lack of a better word, [it’s] ‘Game Of Thrones’ meets Shakespeare only in that, you can watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ and understand what’s going on. I feel like, with complete deference to Shakespeare, there is something that happens when even the most intelligent people watch Shakespeare. They feel stupid, because he does the kind of roundabout version of telling you simple things. So, we just wanted to let the audience understand exactly what’s going on, and not just some people, but everybody,” he explained.
However, Edgerton says that the current studio climate makes “King” a tough sell. “It’s a slightly expensive movie to make,” he said, adding: “Anyone who knows ‘Henry V’ knows that it’s not exactly a ‘Rocky’ ending. It’s got an ironic victorious yet bitter ending, so when put that into the business machine of Hollywood, it’s not exactly a home run.”
He says that right now Michôd is editing the upcoming “War Machine” starring Brad Pitt, and after that, maybe they’ll take another crack at “King,” but we’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile, you can listen to the full Edgerton talk below.