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‘Out Of The Furnace’ Director Scott Cooper Talks Fluid Narratives, Burden Of Expectations & ‘Lie Down In Darkness’

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist December 3, 2013 at 4:18PM

When Scott Cooper, the actor-turned-writer/director who led Jeff Bridges to Oscar glory with 2009’s “Crazy Heart,” found himself in the position to make a sophomore film, he knew the downfalls, the expectations. “I had this pile of scripts that were daunting and beautifully written, some of which have come out this year and last, but I didn't really feel an emotional connection to them,” he said
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Out Of The Furnace Christian Bale Zoe Saldana Scott Cooper

Speaking of a fluid narrative, are you taking that same approach when it comes to “Lay Down in Darkness”? 
Yeah, it's one of the most difficult adaptations that anyone or I could attempt. It's about the disintegration of a Virginia family, and is almost a stream of consciousness novel from Peyton Loftis’ point of view [a role previously rumored for Kristen Stewart]. Fortunately the screenplay struck a cord with many people who want to be in the film, but I have to find the right time to make that. It's a very tough film with very difficult themes. But it's something I vow to make; it's a beautiful, evocative look at this world and coming from Virginia I know it all too well.

What aspects tell you that a certain film is ready to go?
Actors, the right schedule, how I feel about a particular movie at that specific time, I've written a couple screenplays that I'm very fond of, and I have to feel like that's what I want to say at that time, and I'm very actor driven, and there are only really a handful that I want to work with. If they're unavailable at the time I want to go I won't make it. I wouldn't have made this one without Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, and I wouldn't have made “Crazy Heart” without Jeff Bridges. You have to be very clear with what you want. From Fade In to Fade to Black, this is exactly the film I wanted to make.

All these people whom I admire greatly, when they embrace the film in ways that I could have never dreamt, or a young soldier who came to me after the DGA screening and said to me, “This is exactly what I'm living with, and thank you for making it. I want to show it to all of my brothers and sisters who can't sleep or who have violent tendencies who have no outlet and way to assimilate back into life.” That's why I do it.

Do you have any other upcoming projects that are a certainty?
One is a Depression-era crime drama.

Would that be “The Road Home”?
It isn't titled that, but yes. It's a novel [by Michael Armour] that is yet to be released something that deals with racial inequality during the Depression, crime, the opium trade, and murder. It spans from 1918 France to California in 1932-33, and would be [my first period film]. But it won't feel like it; hopefully all the details will blend. There's nothing worse than seeing a period film that scream “period,” like a gleaming Ford or an impeccable costume.

“Out of the Furnace” opens in theatres December 6th.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews, Scott Cooper, Out of the Furnace, Lie Down In Darkness, The Road Home


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