Over a decade into his career, Tony Kaye is likely still wondering what it feels like to shoot a movie, edit it and then release it easily into theaters, no fuss no muss. "American History X" found him battling with Edward Norton over the cut of the film. He would return eight years later with "Lake Of Fire," a documentary about abortion that no one saw. Then there's the New Orleans thriller "Black Water Transit" starring Laurence Fishburne, Karl Urban and Brittany Snow that is still presumably being haggled over in the mess that David Bergstein created with Capitol Films. But last year, Kaye shot "Detachment," a drama set within the education system and lo and behold it's ready to make a premiere without any fights with his lead actor or the financiers going under leaving the film in limbo.
The Tribeca Film Festival announced today that the film -- starring Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, James Caan, Marcia Gay Harden, Blythe Danner, Tim Blake Nelson, William Petersen and Bryan Cranston -- has been added to the lineup. The story focuses on a substitute teacher, Henry Barthes who encounters three women who change his detached attitude to his job. We spoke with Tim Blake Nelson last year who enthused about Kaye's approach to the film, promising something a bit more out there than the premise suggests.
"I’m so glad you asked about that! I loved, without reservation, working with Tony Kaye. I can also say that by far, it is the most eccentric experience I’ve ever had as an actor working on a movie set," Nelson said. "I think that Kaye’s taking some wild chances, narratively and aesthetically, with the movie. It’s derived from a gorgeous script that’s frightening and heartbreaking. It was written by this guy named Carl Lund, who spent years as a teacher in the trenches of the LA public school system. It is an unflinching and brutal look at a public school and the dysfunction within. I play a teacher who’s just going off the deep end."
"He combines this madman’s approach to filmmaking with an ability to make you believe in him, that’s almost messianic while it’s occurring. You just kinda go with it. I’m talking about scenes shot without any rehearsal whatsoever, even for the crew," Nelson added. "Tiny crew, tiny lighting package, and Tony operating the camera, manually pulling focus, as if he’s shooting you with an FLV rather than an Arriflex. Handing you pages of dialogue, sometimes, two and three page speeches, just before shooting. A really eccentric, unpredictable process. I’ve rarely looked forward to going to work as much as I have here, and I have great optimism for what the movie is going to be. No matter what the exposure is for the movie, I know it will be fascinating, incredibly compelling., I think that people like Tony Kaye, who resolutely have their own approach to doing things, who dispense with orthodoxies, are the people for whom I most want to work, who I want to be around. In a way, the Coen Brothers are another version of this."
Wow. Sounds pretty exciting and we're definitely curious. Also added to the Tribeca lineup is a work-in-progress documentary about rockers Kings Of Leon titled "Talihina Sky," but really, who cares. You can check out the full synopsis for "Detachment" below; as far as we know it's currently without a distributor, but we hope that changes after the fest:
"Detachment" is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school substitute teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. A perfect profession for one seeking to hide out in the open. One day Henry arrives at his next assignment. Upon his entry into this particular school, a secret world of emotion is awakened within him by three women. A girl named Meredith in his first period. A fellow teacher Ms. Madison. And a 14 year old street hooker named Erica, whom Henry has personally granted brief shelter from the streets. Each of these women, like Henry, are in a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world.