FAM­ILY BOND A WIN­NER

Aussie brothers Nash and Joel Edger­ton have united on an­other pro­ject, this time the older sib­ling di­rect­ing the Hol­ly­wood star in Gringo

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

As a rule of thumb, younger brothers don’t like to be told what to do by their older sib­lings. Spare a thought then for Joel Edger­ton, who vol­un­tar­ily signed on the dot­ted line for a ma­jor part in the new black com­edy Gringo, di­rected by his brother Nash, who is 18 months his se­nior.

“It’s weird,” says Joel, tongue firmly in cheek. “It’s kind of like if your par­ents at a very young age said, ‘ac­tu­ally we’re hand­ing over du­ties to your brother to boss you around now’.”

He’s very much jok­ing – if Joel and Nash didn’t truly love work­ing to­gether they would have stopped do­ing it a long time ago. In­stead, the brothers are among the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful moviemak­ing ex­ports of re­cent years.

Joel, 43, has the higher pro­file thanks to ac­claimed roles in films such as War­rior, The Great Gatsby, the re­cent Jen­nifer Lawrence spy thriller Red Spar­row and last year’s civil rights drama Lov­ing. He also starred in and di­rected the 2016 thriller The Gift, which made a very tidy $78 mil­lion from its $6.5 mil­lion bud­get.

Nash, 45, has taken a less vis­i­ble route. He quit an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing de­gree to be­come a stunt­man, work­ing on block­busters such as The Ma­trix tril­ogy, Su­per­man Re­turns and Zero Dark Thirty (stand­ing in for his brother) be­fore mov­ing into di­rect­ing, first short films and then fea­tures.

But from their teenage days to­gether play­ing make-be­lieve around the back blocks of Du­ral, on Syd­ney’s fringe, the pair have very much been a team. Both are prin­ci­pal mem­bers of Blue Tongue Films, the pro­duc­tion com­pany be­hind the in­ter­na­tional hit An­i­mal King­dom that helped break Joel glob­ally. It also made the brothers’ first fea­ture film to­gether with Joel as star and Nash as di­rec­tor, the 2008 Aussie film noir The Square.

Many times since, the brothers have worked – and oc­ca­sion­ally lived to­gether – on in­creas­ingly big­ger pro­jects, each serv­ing as the other’s sound­ing board.

“I love work­ing with Nash and we do it in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties,” Joel says. “He helped me with a bunch of stuff on my film and I did the same for him.’’

Nash says that since the pair put aside their child­hood squab­bles, they have been fast friends. “We were both into movies and when I was about 10, Dad got a video cam­era and we started play­ing around with that,” Nash says. “We have al­ways loved movies and watch­ing movies and mak­ing movies.”

Their new joint pro­ject, Gringo, is their most am­bi­tious yet. The jet-black com­edy ad­ven­ture, with shades of the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino, was filmed in Chicago and Mex­ico and at­tracted an in­ter­na­tional cast in­clud­ing David Oyelowo, Thandie New­ton and Char­l­ize Theron, the last of whom was a fan of Nash, ever since she saw his 2006 short film Spi­der.

Nash says he took great plea­sure in cast­ing his brother as cor­po­rate scum­bag Richard, who sends Oyelowo’s char­ac­ter on a fool’s er­rand south of the bor­der.

“My brother is one of the loveli­est, most gen­er­ous peo­ple I know, and en­cour­ag­ing him to play a douchebag was quite a joy,” Nash says with a laugh.

Joel has played nasty (the venge­ful pharaoh in Ri­d­ley Scott’s Ex­o­dus: Gods and Kings, and the crooked FBI agent op­po­site Johnny Depp in Black Mass) and nice (the dig­ni­fied hus­band in Lov­ing, and fear­less sol­dier in Zero Dark Thirty), so was more than up for the chal­lenge.

“It seems like I os­cil­late be­tween play­ing nice peo­ple and jerks,” he says. “Richard is ev­ery­thing you love to hate about cor­po­rate Amer­ica.”

The life of a suc­cess­ful film­maker can be a no­madic one, and both have trav­elled the world in pur­suit of their craft. Their on­go­ing bond is a com­fort to their par­ents.

“It gives my folks a nice sense of en­joy­ment and safety know­ing that Nash and I are away, but quite of­ten we are away to­gether,” Joel says.

Not to be out­done in the di­rect­ing stakes, Joel has fi­nally united Os­car-win­ning com­pa­tri­ots Ni­cole Kid­man and Rus­sell Crowe for the drama Boy Erased, based on Gar­rett Con­nelly’s mem­oir about be­ing sent to a re­li­gious sex­ual re­ori­en­ta­tion camp. The film is due for re­lease this year. Gringo opens in cin­e­mas to­day

Brothers Nash and Joel Edger­ton at the US pre­miere of Gringo, a new dark com­edy di­rected by Nash.

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