“Crazy Heart” Director Feels The Heat
US Release Date: 12/6/13
Even though his star Christian Bale has played the Caped Crusader in director Christopher Nolan’s mega successful Batman trilogy, Scott Cooper, firmly believes working class Americans are the real heroes in his new gritty crime pic Out of the Furnace.
“This is the story of a man who works in a blast furnace,” says Cooper who previously helmed the Academy Award winning Crazy Heart. “But it also deals with themes of justice, retribution and courage.”
Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a steel worker who has been taking care of his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), an Iraq veteran unable to adapt to life in his home town, since childhood.
Both brothers have been weaned on hard work, family and loyalty, but things go terribly wrong when Rodney ends up owing big bucks to local bad guy Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).
Cooper, who opens Out of the Furnace with a sample of DeGroat’s brutality, says his film examines the nature of violence in a society where people are forced to solve their own problems.
“I thought, if I’m going to examine violence in this way, then I should open the movie in a very naturalistically violent way, a way that I hadn’t seen in a film before.”
As for Bale’s input, the Brit actor says the film focuses on someone who harbors an unbreakable love for his community.
“Although I’m not an American, I admire Russell greatly as the personification of what America stands for. The film is about brotherly love, as well as love for where you’re brought up and what you have to do when you lose that.”
Affleck’s character, after four tours of duty in Iraq, is struggling with readjustment to normal life in a town massacred by the economic slump – a predicament experienced by many soldiers returning home from deployment.
“They have been trained to do a very specific job and entrusted with quite a bit of responsibility and power,” says Affleck. “Suddenly they are back home and transitioning to civilian life is very challenging. The economy is in really rough shape. He is trying to find a way to get by day to day, pay the bills and restart his life.”
A combination of frustration and pent-up fury prompts Rodney to participate in bare knuckle boxing matches – a story point which required Affleck to work alongside Ben Bray, the film’s fight coordinator, a trainer and boxing coach.
“I’m not and never have been a fighter. Training to find the right balance between getting in shape for fights and dealing with the reality that he has been damaged physically from the war was arduous work.”
Meanwhile, Affleck has only good things to say about Bale.
“Like they say when you work with good actors, it makes you better. I never really understood quite what that meant until I worked with Christian. He is one of the very best around and he makes everyone in a six-foot radius seem better. I’m awed by his work ethic and how he commits to a role.”
Studio / Production Company: Relativity Media
Writer / Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Christain Bale, Casey Affleck, Sam Shephard, Woody Harrlson, Zoe Saldana and Forrest Whitaker
Producers: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, Ridley Scott, Michael Costigan and Ryan Kavanaugh
Source: Press Notes
Image Info: Christian Bale in Out of The Furnace. Kerry Hayes © 2012 Relativity Media.