The actors talk about the story about a gang of outlaw brothers, written by Nick Cave
What if you were offered your life for your brother's? Could you kill your sibling to save another? That's exactly what happens in the new film, The Proposition starring Guy Pearce and Danny Huston, among others.
Guy plays Charlie Burns, a member of one of the biggest outlaw gangs in Australia in the 1800's. When he and his youngest brother are captured by the sheriff (Ray Winstone), Charlie is told he can save this brother for the murder of his oldest brother (Huston), the leader of the gang. If he doesn't complete the task, the sheriff is going to kill his youngest brother.
The film is written by Nick Cave, a very accomplished singer/songwriter formally of the group The Birthday Party, and directed by Aussie John Hillcoat. We had the opportunity to speak with Guy and Danny about the film.
Guy told us, as a boding musician himself, it was a thrill having the chance to work with Nick on this project. "I really got into his music after The Birthday Party, and I've always had him up on a pedestal; I would have done this film, just on the script, but I was certainly intrigued to know Nick had written it. Yeah, he exceeded all my expectations cause he's a really funny guy; he's very dry and very sarcastic. I tried not to become a silly little fan, but I was a bit Sickofantic at times."
Strangely enough, the subject of music came up; but Guy wasn't about to ask Nick, who is also the composer on this film, about adding some of his own music into the mix. "I wouldn't have dared insult the man; the beauty of the film was knowing Nick was going to be doing the music and so really having an understand of that. One of the best kinds of direction a director can do is play me some music for a scene and say, 'Just listen to this,' and then go off and do the scene. I didn't know exactly what Nick was going to do music-wise for the film, but I knew it was going to be Nick Cave music. That just going hand and hand with this script, just knowing that's what we were going to get on the finished product. It was really just an amazing experience."
Danny was also captivated by Nick and his script. "it was beautifully written by Nick Cave, classic story almost biblical at times. And at the same time, lean and mean; and it was like playing a mythical character, like Melville in Heart of Darkness, a man who has embraced horror as his lover and is contemplating cosmic thoughts as he commits acts of violence. He loves his brother, and has poetic feelings, but yet, can be heinous. This is a dream for an actor."
He had to really change his look for this part; Danny plays a very demonic and disturbed character, as Arthur Burns. With long, stringy hair, boding eyes, he got the idea from a legendary actor of the past. "It developed slowly, but I wanted to create a savage, someone who's been expelled from society, someone who looks believable; I didn't want to get into scars. I was extremely preoccupied with Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now", about having to enter a picture after being talked about for that amount of time. So I wanted to create a wimpery frame rather than someone blasted in light, but also it would help the story that when Arthur is violent that it wouldn't be a shock - toying with the audience to think I'm not a monster and liking me again, and then going back to being a villain."
There was a real brotherly kinship on set. Guy says it was great for him because he doesn't have any siblings; it was a chance to really hang out with the guys. "We all bonded ridiculously on this film and it was really nice for me; it really felt like there was a real brotherhood created between all the actors on set. We all just felt really supportive of each other and we all really laughed and had a good time, as well as taking it very seriously."
Next Guy's going to be starring in Death Defying Acts along side Catherine Zeta Jones in the story about Harry Houdini. Danny is going to be seen playing Orson Welles in the upcoming film, Fade to Black based on the life of the legendary Hollywood figure. He gave us a little preview of what that's about. "It's set in post-war 1948 Rome. He arrives to shoot a film called Black Magic; he's in Rome trying to raise money to shoot Othello in Morocco. He then dies on the film set in Chiachua and Welles tries to investigate into the man dying under suspicious circumstances. The film quickly turns into a political thriller; the screenplay is written by John Sayles and directed by Oliver Parker, who directed Othello with Laurence Fishburne. The thing delicious about Fade to Black is it's all about conceit, it's a lie, it's deceit, it's smoke and mirrors; I think that all belongs to Welles and is very Welles in spirit as far as it being a delicious card trick. It's very rich in tapestry; it has Diego Luna, Paz Vega, and Christopher Walken."
You can see Guy and Danny, along with Emily Watson, John Hurt, and Ray Winstone in The Proposition. It hits limited theaters May 5th, going wide in the coming weeks; it's rated R.