After winning the Oscar earlier this year for Best Live Action Short, Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv makes his English-language feature debut this May. Under the same title as the award-winning short, “Skin” follows an American neo-Nazi skinhead who turns informant on his white supremacist cohort. The newly released first trailer offers a glimpse of “Billy Elliot” star Jamie Bell in a far different look from his breakthrough role; he dons a smattering of face tattoos and, of course, a shiny bald buzz.
The official synopsis reads: “After a difficult childhood drives him into the grasps of a white supremacist gang, Bryon (Bell) tries to escape to a new life, all the while questioning whether he’s capable of undoing — and repenting for — the evil he’s done.”
“Skin” promises another interesting turn for Danielle Macdonald, breakout star of 2017’s “Patti Cake$.” She plays Bryon’s girlfriend, a single mother of three who helps him see the light. Macdonald has shrewdly balanced comedic and dramatic roles in the years since her debut; she headlined last year’s jovial Dolly Parton themed romantic comedy for Netflix, “Dumplin’,” and also featured in the streamer’s supernatural horror hit “Bird Box.”
Bell has also made interesting choices following his breakout at a much younger age. He played an obsessive compulsive sadist in Lars Von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac Vol. II,” and more recently received a BAFTA nomination for his romantic turn opposite Annette Bening in 2017’s Gloria Grahame biopic “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.”
Rounding out the cast are “Luke Cage” star Mike Colter as the police officer helping Bryon leave the skinhead life, Bill Camp as the hateful group’s leader, and Vera Farmiga as his wife.
“Skin” is based on the real-life story of Bryon Widner, whose story of removing his tattoos and breaking with his white-power group was the subject in the 2011 documentary “Erasing Hate.”
Edward Norton’s Oscar-nominated turn in “American History X” most famously tackled the American Neo-Nazi movement 20 years ago, but the story takes on new urgency with the dramatic rise of white supremacist groups more recently. Bell, who has yet to earn an Oscar nomination, looks to follow in Norton’s footsteps with “Skin.”
A24 and DIRECTV will release “Skin” exclusively on DIRECTV on June 27, and in theaters on July 26. Check out the official trailer below.