After big budget critical misfires “Suicide Squad” and “Bright,” writer-director David Ayer is returning to his scrappy and bloody crime drama roots in the upcoming “The Tax Collector.” RLJE Films is releasing the movie in August, two years after Ayer wrapped filming on the movie in summer 2018. “The Tax Collector” reunites the filmmaker with his “Fury” actor Shia LaBeouf, who is coming off a resurgent 2019 thanks to well-received indies “Honey Boy” and “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” LaBeouf stars in Ayer’s latest opposite Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, and George Lopez.
The official “Tax Collector” synopsis from RLJE Films reads: “David (Soto) and Creeper (LaBeouf) are ‘tax collectors’ for the crime lord Wizard, collecting his cut from the profits of local gangs’ illicit dealings. But when Wizard’s old rival returns to Los Angeles from Mexico, the business is upended, and David finds himself desperate to protect what matters more to him than anything else: his family.”
In an interview with /Film at the beginning of 2020, Ayer said “The Tax Collector” would bring his career back to the gritty and hard-hitting atmosphere of earlier directorial efforts such as “Street Kings” and “Harsh Times.” Ayer also heaped praise on LaBeouf. War drama “Fury,” the duo’s last collaboration together, opened in theaters in fall 2014 and grossed $211 million worldwide.
“He’s one of the best actors I’ve worked with, and he’s the most committed to body and soul,” Ayer said about LaBeouf. “He had a tooth pulled on ‘Fury,’ and then on ‘Tax Collector’ he got his whole chest tattooed. So he kind of goes all in, and I’ve never known anyone that committed.”
“The Tax Collector” is Ayer’s first directorial effort since his Will Smith-starring Netflix tentpole “Bright” in 2017. The director served as an executive producer on two projects that were released in 2020: The Margot Robbie-led “Birds of Prey” (a spinoff of Ayer’s “Suicide Squad”) and the Fox procedural television drama “Deputy.” The network canceled the show after one season.
RLJE Films is opening “The Tax Collector” in theaters, on demand, and on digital platforms August 7. Watch the official trailer for the crime drama in the video below.