After winning top honors at the Cannes Film Festival for his refugee movie, French filmmaker Jacques Audiard is now working on a western set during the California Gold Rush. “What I like about westerns and which you find in ‘The Sisters Brothers,’ is the birth of democracy, the end of savagery, where you leave your guns at the village entrance,” Audiard told AFP. The director spoke in Los Angeles, where he was presenting “Dheepan,” which captured the Palme d’Or prize at Cannes.
Audiard’s new project is an adaptation of a book by Canadian author Patrick deWitt, and recounts the story of two brothers-Eli and Charlie Sisters-hired to kill a prospector who has stolen from their boss. The story takes place in Oregon and California during the Gold Rush in 1851. “That period was incredibly savage,” said the 63-year-old director, who hopes to begin filming what will be his first Englishlanguage project next summer.
“Nothing was off-limits then,” he added. “One killed his father, mother, children, in the quest for money and I think this can resonate (with what we see happening in today’s society).” The film will star US actor John C Reilly, whose production company bought the rights to the novel. “If I am able to push ahead, I will have a script by the end of December and shoot this summer,” said Audiard, whose film credits include “The Beat That My Heart Skipped,” “Rust and Bone” and “A Prophet.” “Dheepan” is about a former Sri Lankan soldier’s struggles in a French housing project after fleeing the separatist war.
Audiard, whose father Michel Audiard is also an acclaimed screenwriter and film director, said the prize had not particularly opened doors for him. “I always say that I am privileged and the Palme doesn’t change much except that you suddenly find yourself part of a club that you always watched from afar,” he said. And besides, Audiard added as he drew on a cigarette, the Cannes prize doesn’t seem to impress much in Hollywood. “Over here what counts are the Golden Globes and the Oscars,” he said. — AFP
French director/screenwriter Jacques Audiard poses for a portrait session, in West Hollywood, California. — AFP