Interview: Joel Edgerton Talks His Directorial Debut THE GIFT, And His Love For Odd And Challenging Roles

Featured Film Critic; Dallas, Texas (@ChaseWhale)
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Interview: Joel Edgerton Talks His Directorial Debut THE GIFT, And His Love For Odd And Challenging Roles
Joel Edgerton is a real delight and just an all around good guy. 

He was in Dallas, near where I live, about a month ago to promote his directorial debut The Gift (now in theaters). I was supposed to moderate the Q&A after a screening of the film and interview him the next day but I had some health issues and had to drop out. He emailed me to make sure I was OK and let me know that when I'm on my feet, to give him a call and we'll do an interview. The Gift opened two days ago and Edgerton took time out of his busy schedule today to talk to me...for 45 minutes. What a guy. 

We cover a lot of ground here: directorial influences, playing weirdos and characters with tough moral dilemmas, building tension, the intensity of writing a screenplay, the importance of independent film, and why he needed to direct The Gift, among a lot of other elements in his booming career. 

ScreenAnarchy: Congrats on the opening, man. I can't imagine how pumped you are, especially with all the acclaim and excitement that everyone is giving it. Much deserved.

Joel Edgerton: Thank you man. Yeah, it feels really good. I can't say it doesn't feel good to have people appreciate the work once you get it out there. I think there's always that feeling leading up to releasing anything that you've worked on. That you just start to feel, "Have I lost perspective with what it actually is?" I always felt like it was shaping up well.

It's more like going and hearing that people are reflecting the meaning, the sense, and the thematics. Certain things in the story, that we've covered, we left slightly obscure. They really get that, and then they're arguing with each other about it. People are sort of stroking it, and defending it, and getting it, you know?

Yeah, it's opened up a topic of debate in the blog, film critic world, about meanings and everything like that. I saw it yesterday morning, and I've been thinking about it ever since, and trying to ... I feel like it's a movie that, the more you watch, the more you're going to pick up on things. I think that's brilliant writing, so bravo, congratulations.

Thanks!

Well, let's jump into this. I'm sure you're super busy with opening weekend. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Sorry we couldn't do when you're in Dallas. My health has been pretty fucked up, but it's getting back on track.

Are you okay?

I'm good. We had a scare. I had to have surgery and couldn't walk or sit for a while. I appreciate you taking the time now to talk to me.

Pleasure.

A lot of these questions you've probably been asked a million times, but hopefully I can throw something fresh in there.

Yeah.

To start off, you wrote, directed, and co starred in the THE GIFT. What was the biggest challenge of balancing being in front of and behind the camera at the same time?

I think the biggest thing for me was the fact that I hadn't really counted on where ... It sort of made me examine where my thought process comes from when I'm just being an actor. I don't like to over think it too much. Not that I think I've it worked out, by any stretch. I have my ways, and those ways, I don't really consider too much analytically. It sort of forced me to look at that, because I was like, "Holy shit, I can't sit around and just get ready for a scene. I've got to actually deal with all this other stuff, directing stuff." That was quite tricky. I think I realized acting is more parts instinct, and a few parts intellect, and directing felt like it was more engineered from my brain, with a small pinch of instinct. Like free wheeling. They're opposite balances of a similar mix.

The solution for me was, my brother [stuntman, actor, and director Nash Edgerton], he was someone I really trust and had already planned ahead of time to be there on set, on the days when I was trying to do both jobs. I could not have to look at the monitor. I didn't have to psych of that extra time by going through the ego. You know, good rift with the ego, looking at the monitor and freaking out about it. He could just look at me and go, "Oh that was great." You know, "What else you want to try?"

I think that's great. Everything both of you have collaborated on together is solid gold. It's kind of funny, I have a game with Nash that I started doing years ago. When I watch older movies and catch him in a movie as a stunt double, I'll take a photo of my TV and Tweet it to him. I saw he plays one of the smaller characters in the film. I thought his "cameo" was brilliant ...

Yeah. 

Being the writer/director, you could have played any character in the film. What made you decide on playing Gordo?

It was kind of ... The reason I wrote the script in the first place was to play that character. It was a two fold thing. I was like, "I really love the idea of playing a bully story 25 years after the fact." It dealt so much with, time deals so much with consequence. It felt like a valid story to tell as a writer. Then, as I started writing, I was like, "This is a great character for me to play. Someone who is overbearing, misunderstood, a little bit dangerous, and a little mysterious and awkward." I've never really felt like I've done that before. Often times, as a writer, it's about, "What do I want to create as an opportunity for me to play." It was after I started writing it, I was like, "This is probably a good starting project for me." I had been thinking about it for a long time, and needed a contained enough idea. It just ... I just felt that good about the story, that it just felt like the right thing to do. 

Then, I just couldn't let go of playing the character, which is the struggle I had in the financing stage: "Do I play the character and try and direct the movie, or should I just try and direct the movie without any clutter of extra tasks," you know?

Yeah. I think that was a great character for you to play, because it seems like it's very different from what I've seen you in before. It was great.

I think also, my obsession ... There's a bunch of other actors out there too, who I feel are of a similar mind. I think part of my obsession is, "How far is the spectrum of what you can play?" Looking for the edges of that spectrum. Not to be stuck playing a hero all the time. I don't feel comfortable in that role, so much. Looking for those weirder, quirkier, edgier parts. They just become more fun. Often times, they're not the leading role. I think it's good to be able to not be the star of the movie. The upside of that is getting to play really interesting questions.

I have a few questions about some of your characters that I'm going to ask in a minute, so I'm glad you brought that up. You know, back to your directorial debut, the film reminded me of an early Brian De Palma film -- very edge of your seat, intense and shocking. It's very chilling and vicious. It also made me think of Adrian Lyne's excellent film, FATAL ATTRACTION. Who are some of the directors that influenced you to want to make movies?

Definitely my real education about movie making, acting, and I guess essentially movie making came when I went to drama school. Up until that point, it had been a lot of horror, and a lot of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone movies. A lot of martial arts and a lot of action movies. 

I guess [Steven] Spielberg was the first person that really got me excited about movies. I remember being so fascinated by Indiana Jones, and the last section of the Star Wars trilogy really grabbed me as a kid too, so I guess George Lucas is a bit responsible. Once I started going to university, I was so in to the whole 70s vibe of movies. I really ate up Hitchcock. 

For The Gift, I really dove back into those movies that I really like. Movies that I thought had a really weird, interesting tension to them, like Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder was an interesting one I'd seen against recently. 

Particularly, some that are close in reference, and some that are not so close. You know, Michael Haneke for sure, who I think just creates a really unsettling tension, without the usual tropes and tricks. Rosemary's Baby was a big movie I watched and loved because of the female-centric character, and obviously other resonances of stuff. The Shining I just kept watching because it's one of those movies that had a really weird structure that just builds and builds. 

In fact, the first draft of my script Weirdo [initial title of The Gift], something I've never told anybody, had chapters much like The Shining, as in, just the time in a day for each new, I guess, chapter, or each sequence. It felt to me like this is the building blocks of something terrible, as if a policeman had recorded it or something. Which was interesting for those things, that ultimately I broke the rhythm and momentum in the movie.

That's pretty fascinating. The movie itself feels like a gift. The protagonist, his true self is peeled away like wrapping paper as the film progresses. What were some of the challenges of nailing down that idea and making it work?

I think the do-si-do of the male characters in this film, the typical hero becoming potentially the villain, and the villain eliciting empathy, is probably symptomatic of the way I approach my work as an actor. I think, I always figure it's maybe the cheap road to take if your hero is just super shiny, morally, and if your villain is just super dark and edgy, morally. Looking for the lightness in dark, and darkness in light in terms of character, I think is essential to selecting out the dimensions of a character. 

I think when I was writing it, knowing that one of the big themes was how well do we know the people that we think we know? The idea that ... It is a big of a nasty trick on the audience, too. "Let's build sympathy for the bad guy and assume Jason [Bateman's] character is the person we're meant to hate." Then of course, other stuff happens that throws that in to question again.

It's amazing how I think characters just can shift by the action of one scene simply by the things they say or do, the things they divulge or the things that they hide. In this particular case, what's hidden or what's divulged is the important ingredient. At the same time, as much as I want to push Jason's character over the edge, I also want to hold on to him with one hand. He has valid arguments, and I think that when two characters butt heads, and you can see both of their point of view, that's the goal to reach as a writer. 

As much as Rebecca's character's probably more right to say, "Wouldn't it be good for you to look back in your past, and at least acknowledge your part in his downfall," for him to say, "I had a tough obstacle in my life. I got out of it." Everybody has their own power to overcome ... That's also right. He doesn't have an absolute obligation.

Playing with points of view of argument is such a fascinating thing too, and you can really start feeling the audience start to hate him.

For sure.

That's also the artfulness of Jason. His intelligence as an actor, knowing how well to lie, how much of the truth to let seep through the cracks. Then how to tune that final quarter of the movie. That's a lot of him.

I think it was brilliant casting him. Jason is mostly known for comedy, and he really breaks that mold and separates himself and is very convincing as ... His character is kind of a son of a bitch. He's not doing any dry, witty humor. That was great casting on that part. 

Yeah. It's exciting, isn't it. I think it's exciting when you watch. Again, that's a by product of my intentions as an actor. I would never want to get stuck in a mold. It's so exciting when people allow an actor to prove they have another dimension. It's always been there with Jason. He's proved it in smaller doses in other movies. Even in his comedy, his darkness and jerkiness is there, and he even kind of emphasized it. 

Baz Luhrmann gave me a gift in getting to play Tom Buchanan [in The Great Gatsby]. No one else would have done that. Then, that opens a road that other people, safe to travel down. They kind of go, "I see that side of you now." It opens up a world. Having Jason show his darkness, and somewhat tune down his comedy. I just think it's great. The history of comedians being so wonderful in dramas. Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Steve Carell. They do the transition to serious better than serious people do the transition to funny, I think.

Exactly, I agree. I think one of the best comedic to dramatic transitions is Adam Sandler in Paul Thomas Anderson's PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. Even though you're laughing at his character's expense, and there is comedy there, it was a marvelous performance from him. He proved he can act when he wants to.

Yeah.

You've written and co written scripts before -- FELONY, THE ROVER, FELONY, Nash's THE SQUARE being the three that I've seen -- and you've directed and also written short films. What made you want THE GIFT to be your feature film directorial debut?

I think it just really got under my skin in a way that felt like it was mine. Whenever I thought of either letting someone else play Gordo, I felt so possessive of it. Then when I thought about directing it, every time I got close to thinking, "Maybe I'll just get someone good to direct it," I felt incredibly possessive of that as well. 

In fact, in my weakest moments, which are when I was really tempted to hand over the rein, Rebecca Yeldham, my producer, was instrumental in going, "What are you, fucking crazy? No one should do this better than you can at this point." I made the whole idea of it, and the concept of it, and I talked about it and ruminated on it for so long. She thought it was a travesty for me to just hand it over.

I guess passion and interest, and on a production, practical level, the contained nature of it, and that it was relatively cheap, all pointed to the fact that I should it a try. I was nervous as shit and I was very terrified.

I bet.

Even after the first day, walking up the driveway, just thinking, "I suspect I could be good at this, and I suspect I've done all this thorough planning, and I suspect I might enjoy myself, but what if I turn into a bloody asshole out of stress? Or what if I buckle under the pressure? What if I'm one of the few who can't cope with the stress?" It's stressful.

I can imagine. Especially since you're now a triple threat on this film. I can imagine the intimidation and the stress.

Joel: There's definitely an expectation, too ... I think in the world we don't allow people to do more than one thing sometimes. It's tough. I could understand people's reticence to work on a first time director's project. I understand the reticence of people to read an actor's script, or to work with an actor who is deciding to direct. I was very sensitive to that, because I've also felt that coming in to other people's projects. "Can I trust this person? How much am I going to have to look after myself? Should I even do it?" 

I totally got the reticence of people around me. I think I was sensitive to wanting to prove myself, and sort of almost trip over myself, to let people know, "I can handle this, and I'm responsible, and I'm not just an actor who is going to wait around, I'm proactive." In planning and production, I want everybody know I'm not a flake. I'm here, and I'm going to support everything, you know?

Yeah. I think that's why you're all over the map right now. It seems like, when I was watching the movie yesterday morning, there was a trailer forBLACK MASS, and I was just like, "Man, Joel's all over the place." It's great, you're doing something right. 

One more question about the writing. Your writing, specifically. You're really good at writing moments of shock. I'm thinking about the last person who gets shot in THE SQUARE, and pretty much every twist and turn in THE GIFT. In the writing process, what makes you confident that these tense moments you're scribbling down are going to work?

I knew that there's a particular situation with a dog in the movie that I knew was going to work, because the expectation is so in a different direction. Just by convention of having people in a dark house at night, and noises, and taking the sound away, I just had a feeling that was going to work. You get to experiment on a wide release film with test audiences. That sort of just worked from the beginning. 

In fact, it was the first scene my editor Luke Doolan cut. Blue Tone Luke. It was the first one he cut as sort of a test to see how we could create that sort of genre element of the movie, that genre tone of the ... It's funny, just showing people on an iPhone, they would almost drop the phone. "That's going to work."

The film definitely made me jump quite a few times, and there was a few moments when I had to squint when I was watching. It's super tense.

(Laughs.) The other one, the one that comes afterwards was the real shock. I suspected that would work. I often think, I had to really think, "What's been scary for me in my life?" The idea of feeling like you're not alone in your own house has ... Two occasions in my life has literally stopped my heart. Then I added to the fact of, where that scene is set in the bathroom, and considering what's come before it, and the fact that she's alone, and she's a woman. I just had a suspicion that could work. 

I was just so amazed at how, I think a couple people at Blumhouse [Productions], you know Blumhouse basically have a corner store where they buy and sell shocks, that's their business you know? There's a couple people at Blumhouse who said, "I think you actually just created maybe the biggest jump scare in Blumhouse history." I don't know if that's even true, but if it's even close it's pretty good.

Yeah, and that's a huge compliment.

But it's got to come out of character and story. It's got to be part of the fabric of character and story. If it's just a scare for the sake of a scare, it's like eating a fast food meal. It's like you're nourished at first, but then you're like, "That's a bit hollow."

That's a great answer. Let's talk about your acting career, which is on fire. You have a really healthy career as an actor, and you're still supporting smaller, independent films. My heart beats for indie movies and I have my reasons why. For you, what about independent cinema separates itself from big blockbusters.

The struggle we have is usually we are telling fresh stories. The movie business seems to have evolved into a place where we're not really telling that many new stories anymore. It's an easier road to make a tempo movie with pre-existing audience built in material, prequel sequel world. Buckling under the weight of all of that are these people who actually got a voice where they're trying to tell a new story. We need those new stories as resources for the next wave of regurgitating other stories.

Yeah.

Don't have new stories, where's the next regurgitation going to come from? It's not going to be a regurgitation of regurgitation. Reboot of a reboot. I love people who are gutsy enough to tell new stories. Usually, you're doing them on a small budget. The excitement of momentum, problem solving with brain rather than coin is exciting. The momentum with which you shoot a movie is exciting. It's like running on rocks. 

It's like, any minute you think you're going to fall over, but your adrenaline will save you. That to me is exciting. Now it's tough to be able to participate in both. It would be a shame to only do the big stuff and not have access to those other things. That's just I think where interesting talent comes from. I think that's where really smart people come from. The resourcefulness of people is very exciting, and the resilience. It is tough.

Sadly, a lot of these people, myself included, you start getting beat up by the word business, and disheartened by it. I remember when Felony came out in Australia, and it was received well, it just didn't gather an audience. I was like, "What a shame." You put all this effort in, and then all the American movies that come out that week or two in Australia just swamped us. 

I don't want people to pity Australian movies and go see them just out of national pride or something. But there was definitely a disheartening element to that, where it was like, "I just put a year and a half of energy into this thing, and I'd rather share that with as many people as possible, and it's a bit of a fucking shame."

I get it. It kills me when I go to a film festival and I see a small movie that I'm head over heels for and I'm super loud about online, it gets picked up, and it eventually releases, and then either the distributor pulls it within a week and a half or it's just not doing well and it gets pulled. It's just like, "Man, there's brilliant cinema like BLUE RUIN." 

Blue Ruin! How good was that!?

Yeah. BLUE RUIN is a brilliant film, and it was only in Dallas in theaters for a week. Then you have shit like SAW 12, making more because they rake in millions. Like you were saying, regurgitation of unoriginal ideas. I'm hoping the VOD date helps with sales. I'm not sure, right now, since it's still something kind of new for everyone. Hopefully that will help too.

It feels like we're doing a little better than the forecast was, which ... It's been sort of a good weekend. It was a good gamble I think for them to release it on this weekend. Yeah, we were coming at the end of the summer programming or whatever. But I think just the weight of good word and good will towards the movie has helped it. I think people are going, "I'm just too curious now. Maybe I should see it."

Yeah. When I posted online that I was seeing it yesterday on Twitter and Facebook, a lot of people were like, "I'm really interested in seeing this." I posted my reaction. It was like, "Joel Edgerton's THE GIFT: chilling and vicious. See it." All these people were like, "Done. I'm going to see it right now." I was like, "Good. Go support this film." A lot of influential critics really love it, and hopefully that helps too.

That's so great to hear.

Earlier, you were talking about quirky characters. I'm curious. What are some of your favorite roles that you've played? My pick: I love is Hugo Croop, from Joe Carnahan's SMOKIN' ACES. 

(Laughs.) Yeah. Man, I've had a handful of stuff ... One of my favorite early ones that really sent me on that path was playing Aaron Sherritt in Ned Kelly. You know, playing the traitor, and then going, "Rather than just use traitor as the major heading, who is the person?" You know, that was really an interesting thing for me. "This was cool, small characters have really complicated moral dilemmas." Hugo Croop was definitely fun. 

Basically, Joe Carnahan created this weird dude by just having one conversation. He's like, "I thought it could be this." I'm like, "What about if he had that? Can I have a mole on my face? What if he's just a lazy Russian, instead of ..." If I was going to be a bodyguard, I said to Joe, "The character's written like a 300 pound bodyguard. I'm 5'11 and I weigh 175. I've got to be sort of something interesting about me ... Maybe I've got a cage-fighter haircut." I said, "Look, I think I'd love to be really apathetic and lazy." He's like, "Yeah." 

The next thing I know, I've got the worst haircut in the world, a mole on my face, a little tracksuit, and I'm on set with a fanny pack. I've got this terrible Russian accent. "This is fun." 

I loved doing Gatsby, because Baz had this instinct and a fear that was like, the movie has this fantastical element, and it's somewhat tuned up to at least 10 and a half, maybe 11, in that it allowed me to grow the mustache in a safe environment, you know? Again, trying to root it in honesty. But to be big, and puff my chest out, and really kind of steamroll through sets in a way that I've never done before, because I'm always striving for subtlety. Usually, I don't always get it.

Warrior, because it was just the hardest I've ever worked. It really challenged me in so many ways. Physically. You know. John Connolly in Black Mass is definitely a fucking treat of a character. We haven't shared it with the world yet. It felt like I was allowed to push my limits again in a different direction. That was very special.

That's funny. I have a question about BLACK MASS. I'll ask this other question first. You've starred and co-starred in huge films from Hollywood. Some of Hollywood's most prolific directors and finest actors. Have you gotten to the point where you can turn off that intimidation filter, or does it still linger from time to time?

I'm sure, especially with a big cast,  BLACK MASS has a huge cast of all these amazing actors, yourself included. Just curious if there's an intimidation there, or if you've been able to turn off that intimidation filter.

It's sort of weird. Years ago, I got the job of doing A Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett. I remember it wasn't until after I finished the whole thing, I was in some health farm because that was the year I did Animal Kingdom, Warrior, and Streetcar all in the same year, and it fucking destroyed me. I was at some health farm, and some person who worked in it and I were sitting together eating a mango. 

It was really weird. I went up there to get healthy again because I'd had a tough year. I was eating a mango, and this person who had nothing to do with the film business was like, "Did you ever feeling intimidated working with Cate?" I remember thinking, "Fuck, it's like my brain is not wired to get nervous about the matchup." Instead, it's the old theory, if you can play a game of tennis with somebody, or a game of chess, why not play against someone who is better than you? They can up your game. I think my brain is wired that way.

I got to work with Christian Bale. Fucking awesome. Leo, fucking awesome. Johnny Depp, fucking awesome. They're just the headliners. Of course, peppered through all of those movies are incredible actors who deserve to be mega stars themselves. It makes me excited. Then it's afterwards that I'm like, "That could have gone really wrong if I'd have gone in there with fear." 

That's an excellent answer. That's a great way of thinking. 

Also, the weird thing, that all those people who are at the top of their game, they experience intimidation and fear as well. Their intimidation is probably like, "Everybody is expecting me to be the greatest actor in the world. What if I don't get it right?" You know? I think, acknowledging that everybody feels nervous on the first day of school, everybody is worried that they'll be called out as being a phony. Then, you got the even playing ground. It's the similar version of pretending that everybody is not wearing pants when you're getting up to make a speech.

Interesting. So, speaking of Johnny Depp, how whacked out is he in the film? I'm pretty sure this is the most insane role for him. He just seems bonkers.

What it is is that he's done an incredible character study of all the things you read about, and hear stories about why it is that he's like a cobra. What's interesting is that there is sort of a mask at play there, and you see it, because he's transformed physically, visually into Whitey. Yet it's more on the spectrum of a contained nature of other performances that he's had, like in Donnie Brasco, where it's more human and of the real world. 

He's not spinning out of control physically, but all of that energy is contained in a kind of viper ready to strike way. It's fueled with this incredible energy, but it's so still and silent. The stillness and the silence were the two terrifying elements that I kept reading about in Whitey, and I think Johnny has been very astute to harness a power, but not unleash it in a way that is too showy, or too vibrant for the person that he's playing. There's a contained sort of danger that suits what the movie needs.

Interesting. Well, I have one more question about acting, then switching gears to one more thing, then I'll let you go continue to be super busy. You're starring in an upcoming two of one of my favorite director's next features, Jeff Nichols' LOVING and MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. 

Mm-hmm.

How did you get both of these films? I think that's interesting that Jeff is shooting them so close together and you're the star of both.

We shot Midnight Special last year in New Orleans. I met him when I was on the set of Jane got a Gun. Jeff came to see me. I think there's something about the character that is in Midnight Special that he saw in me. Jeff is very particular. What's great for me at the time is that Jeff is not into stunt casting. He's just looking for the accuracy of what's in his head. I think that once I got to know Jeff, I realized that he has got that world so clear in his head. 

What he's looking for is to the right human beings and sets to match the picture he already had painted. I obviously fit that bill for him when it came to Midnight Special. Then ironically and thankfully, after having such a great time working together on that, he had been brewing this script for Loving. I just happened to be an actor who looks a lot like, or could look a lot like Richard Loving. Again, he's striving for authenticity. Because that world's already been painted, because it's a true story, he's looking for people that fit that bill. Saw myself and Ruth Negga were lucky recipients of that genetic pool that landed us in the right place.

I love Jeff. I think he's one of the real true young stars like Scott Cooper [director, Black Mass] who know what they're doing. I'm actually in Virginia right now. I just came here to get away from thinking about the release of The Gift, because that's inevitable, and just dive into prep for Loving which we start mid-September. Going to go for a drive with my dad in about an hour, up to north state and go look at the countryside.

That's awesome. Good for you! That's a smart way to do it. Just relax and all that. I can assure you that people are going crazy about it online, and are really in love with it. That, you don't have to worry about. 

I'm so happy. I got to say, I got a pretty good job and a pretty good life. But directing a movie made me even happier than most experiences I've ever had. I feel very blessed having the whole thing roll on the way it has. We shot the movie only in February, and it's come out so quick, and it's moved so fast. 

Yet, I haven't really got a right to complain about anything. I didn't feel like the rush jeopardized what's on the screen. The way it's been received, it's just like, I'm brimming with excitement, and thrilled that it's come along that way. If hordes of people go and see it, I'd safely say it's been like a perfect experience for me.

I'm taking a few friends tomorrow to see it. I'm looking forward to ... I'm going to try and look at their faces when the twists happen. I don't want to give anything away for people that are going to read this article, but when the twists twist, I want to see their faces. They're all probably going to be slack-jawed, jaws dropping to the floors.

I have two more questions for you. As Nash will tell you, I'm a huge fan of all the Blue-Tongue Films' shorts and features. This is a two part question. Do you have a favorite of them all, and are there any shorts that you've either written or directed that you'd like to see as a feature?

That's a good question. I guess in many ways, my favorite film of the whole Blue-Tongues' film canon, is I've got a massive place in my heart for The Square. It was like, for so many reasons, Nash and I are doing something together, which I think he did such an incredible job of. Really watching the movie again recently. Also, not to have sour grapes, but very underrated film, and a real delight for anyone who discovers it. It was my first screenplay. All wrapped up in that was such an exciting and difficult challenge, but exciting time.

I think Nash is ... There's so many great shorts. Crossbow is amazing. I think, I always marveled at Lucky

LUCKY is great.

I know a lot of people talk about Spider, and I love the shocks and thrills of that. Just as a piece of filmmaking, considering the budget and the production, what he achieved. Just as a little sequence, it's kind of an extraordinary short film. For some of the people interested in how to make movies, and how to solve problems with, like I said before, with your brain over coin. The 360 degree tracking shot around that car with no one driving the car. There's two techniques used in that that cost nothing, yet create what seemed like a very expensive shot. That to me is like film school in one shot.

For sure.

I'm really proud of that. I think that I would really love to turn The List into a longer film. I actually have four stories, three stories, that are all kind of interlinked, interwoven, and The List was actually just one of those stories. We shot it very cheaply and in a very quick fashion. I think it was 25,00 dollars in four days, and the script had been written like two weeks before we started shooting. That was a real rush job. But there are four other pieces to that puzzle, and I've been really thinking about re-crafting all of that.

I remember when I was in Cannes, I interviewed Nash for Bear. He talked about Lucky. I remember him telling me that he was hoping he could someday make that into a feature, which I can't wrap my head around. But I would be first in line to see it if he did, because that's such an amazing short. You guys do great work -- Blue-Tongue is gold. Nice work again, man. And thanks so much for taking some time out to talk to me about the film. I really appreciate it.

I appreciate you even wanting to. Thanks for this call and enthusiasm. I'm thrilled that you liked the movie.

I definitely did. Take care Joel.

You too buddy. See you.

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Jason BatemanJoel EdgertonRebecca Hall