Dave Flannery seems to have it all, with a beautiful wife, two young kids, a home with a great view and a business that has managed to ride out the economic crisis. But Dave is also a man desperately trying to keep those very things from slipping away. Recently hitting Cambodia for some R&R with his wife, his wife's sister and her boyfriend, the four of them went, but only three came back. For now, the authorities are being kept in the dark as Dave and everyone else hopes the missing man will return, but it isn't long before dark secrets surface, altering everything they thought they knew about that wild night in Cambodia...
The cheekily titled "Wish You Were Here" stars Joel Edgerton as Dave, with Felicity Jones and Teresa Palmer (who we also talked to; read here) as the wife and sister respectively, in a lean little thriller directed by Aussie filmmaking and Blue Tongue Films member Kieran Darcy-Smith that uses a fractured narrative to keep the audiences guessing, as the mystery behind the disappearance unravels. It's a genre picture that's also a character driven piece as well, with everyone involved carrying their own responsibilities and burdens, that get continually heavier as each twist of the story gets revealed.
We caught up with Joel Edgerton on the phone earlier this week, and he shared with us his experience making "Wish You Were Here," staying on board Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" from before Osama Bin Laden was killed to after, the rumors surrounding "Jane Got A Gun" and whether or not he'll return to the "Star Wars" franchise.
"I’m kind of attracted to lie onscreen, to fall, and...Dave is someone who -- without giving any spoilers away -- Dave is someone who has more information than everybody else in this tragic situation. He may have been culpable at something or he may be witness something or he may just be hiding God knows what, but whatever that secret he holds is, it’s doing his head in," he explained. "It’s like causing him huge amounts of turmoil and Kieran and I wanted to find a place for that character where the audience is allowed to not trust him, but at the same time, they catch a glimpse for whatever reason they can’t trust him, he has a really conscience about it."
The character of Dave is both unlikeable and sympathetic all at the same time.
"It’s funny, there’s a lot of things stacked up in that character that we shouldn’t really like and the trick is trying to keep him somewhat sharing at least the center of the movie and follow that journey with him without ever losing touch with him because we don’t like him or lose sense of his moral line or something," Edgerton said. "But he is definitely emasculated. His ability to kind of protect his own family and to keep his own state of mind is being threatened. And at the same time, he is trying to maintain a family life: being a father to two kids, keeping a business running, and hoping and praying that this whole thing will go away and that everything will be okay. And of course, it’s not."
Joel Edgerton had to remind the director that he was available to work, and didn't abandon Australia for Hollywood
"I had Kieran acting in my first short film that I had made and in the second short film I made. We wrote a couple of things together. Funnily enough when he came to make his feature debut, and he had these other references for actors and locations and what have you, there are all of these pictures of other actors and him. I actually had to tap him on the shoulder and be like, 'Who’s going to be in this movie?' Kieran thought I was lost to Hollywood for some reason or that I sort of had my eyes on a different sort of prize," Edgerton said about the process of landing a role in the film.
"He was thrilled that I came to do it; he just figured that he didn’t want to bother me or something," the actor continued. "So thank God I had that conversation with him. I would never do his movies just because he’s a friend of mine. Cause as we all know movies take too much time to make, you give up too much in laughter. But I love his writing, I’ve always been inspired by it. In fact, the reason I write now is because of Kieran."