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‘American Animals’ Director Bart Layton Reveals the True Story Behind His Stranger-Than-Fiction Sundance Caper — Watch

Layton and his cast dropped by the IndieWire Studio presented by Dropbox.

Bart Layton IndieWire Studio

The cast and crew of “American Animals” stopped by the IndieWire Studio Presented by Dropbox earlier today, with director Bart Layton explaining what compelled him to dramatize a real-life heist that went horribly wrong in his new Sundance caper. Watch below.

“I’d read about the story of this crime, and everything about it seemed quite unusual — not least the fact that it was perpetrated by a group of seemingly well-educated young men from pretty good backgrounds,” Layton says. “I initially thought it sounded like a good yarn, and the more I read about it, the more it seemed, like all capers, it was well planned but it didn’t quite go according to plan.”

Those young men actually appear in the film at one point, something that stars Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan both found necessary. “It just grounds everything and makes it that much more real and it’s coming from their mouths — this is actually what happens,” says Peters.

“You’re telling their story, you know?” Keoghan adds, “so you have to have a bit of respect.”

Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, and Udo Kier also appear in the film. “American Animals” premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance and is currently seeking distribution.

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