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Talking Warrior with Hardy, Edgerton and O'Connor--and Dark Knight, Bronson, Great Gatsby

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 30, 2011 at 8:28AM

Lionsgate purposely opted to take an under-the-radar approach with Gavin O'Connor's Warrior, an original drama (a rarity these days) that pits two brothers against each other in an MMA tournament. Commendably, Lionsgate financed this $25-million picture starring two on-the-rise stars: Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, as well as Nick Nolte as the father they both hate. While the movie is strong enough to warrant festival inclusion, Lionsgate's strategy isn't off-base--the movie will prove a discovery for many critics; expect raves.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Lionsgate purposely opted to take an under-the-radar approach with Gavin O'Connor's Warrior, an original drama (a rarity these days) that pits two brothers against each other in an MMA tournament. Commendably, Lionsgate financed this $25-million picture starring two on-the-rise stars: Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, as well as Nick Nolte as the father they both hate. While the movie is strong enough to warrant festival inclusion, Lionsgate's strategy isn't off-base--the movie will prove a discovery for many critics; expect raves.

The trailer should wow plenty of males. But if the studio can lure women who can take the violent pummeling, they may respond to the heartfelt family drama. All three actors are superb, and veteran Nolte could land a supporting actor Oscar nomination (it would be his third; he was nominated for best actor in Affliction and The Prince of Tides) . His pain is as naked as Mickey Rourke's in The Wrestler. I interview Hardy, Edgerton and writer-director O'Connor (Pride and Glory, Miracle) below. Whether Lionsgate encouraged him or not, O'Connor's year-long stint in the editing room helped the film, which is as lean, mean and vulnerable as its two belligerent anti-heroes.

Thompson on Hollywood

Lionsgate is also looking to boost advance word-of-mouth via sneak previews of Warrior across the country on September 4, prior to the film's September 9 release. Advance tickets for 7 pm screenings can be purchased here, and you also follow on Twitter with #WARRIORMovieSneakPreview.

Inside Hollywood, Hardy broke out with passed-around screeners of Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson, which revealed an extraordinary actor. Casting agents took notice, and he landed back-to-back roles in Christopher Nolan's Inception and The Dark Knight Rises as well as fest offering Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the upcoming Mad Max sequel Fury Road. But none of this had happened when O'Connor convinced Lionsgate to put him in Warrior, nor had Australian theater actor Edgerton earned raves in Animal Kingdom. Back in Sydney he starred as Stanley opposite Cate Blanchett in her production of Streetcar Named Desire, actually smashing her in the face with a radio during one intense scene, stopping the show for one night. Now he has landed the prize role of Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

Hardy Part 1

Hardy Part 2

Edgerton Part 1

Edgerton Part 2

O'Connor Part 1

O'Connor Part 2


This article is related to: Genres, Independents, Video, Stuck In Love, Interviews , Marketing, Drama, Action, Lionsgate/Roadside, Trailers, Screenwriters


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.