Music movie

Dirt Music Movie Trailer: Director Gregor Jordan on Tim Winton’s Book, Non-Australian Cast

Based on the acclaimed Tim Winton novel, Dirt Music features breathtaking scenery and, perhaps controversially, an American and a Scotsman playing Australians.

Tim Winton’s Dirt Music is a great love story set against the breathtaking backdrop of Western Australia.

Since the book’s release almost two decades ago, there has been at least one failed film adaptation. But now, with the lockdown restrictions lifted and a hopeful reopening for theaters in July, we can finally see Winton’s story on the big screen.

Today, Universal released the trailer for Gregor Jordan’s adaptation of Dirty music, which performed at the Toronto International Film Festival last September.

There’s no confirmed release date, but the new trailer is an encouraging sign that we’re going to be planting our butts on plush velor chairs soon.

With Kelly MacDonald and Garrett Hedlund, the story takes place in a small fishing village in Washington State.

Georgie (MacDonald) is married to Crayfish Baron Jim Huckeridge (David Wenham) in an unhappy marriage. She becomes attracted to dirt musician and poacher Lu Fox (Hedlund) whose family has had a long rivalry with the Huckeridge.

Georgie and Lu engage in a passionate and forbidden affair that sees the couple flee thousands of miles along the coast to the Coronation Islands.

Jordan, who broke out as a screenwriter and director of Two hands, who played Heath Ledger and catapulted Rose Byrne to fame, called news.com.au from his Los Angeles base to discuss his decades-long relationship with Dirty music and why he chose two foreigners to play these Australian characters.

(Condensed interview for added length and clarity.)

Has Tim Winton’s book been one of your favorites for a long time, or did you only read it when the project landed on your desk?

My agents first sent me the book in manuscript form before it was published in 2001, as they were sending it to the filmmakers to see if anyone would be interested in making a movie.

I read the book at the time and was, in many ways, a different person at the time. I was single, and even though there was a lot about the book that I liked, I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a movie out of it because it’s such an unusual story and it’s a so vast canvas on which it is told. .

Then the rights went elsewhere. Years later, I met producer Finola Dwyer and she asked me if I wanted to watch (Jack Thorne’s) script. I said yes because I was more curious to see how they go about trying to adapt it.

I was completely overwhelmed and completely moved. I’ve changed a lot in my life since I first read it, namely that I’ve had kids, so the element of losing a child and the tragedy that this character is going through is really heartbreaking. in a way I had never seen before.

I guess having kids terrifies you about losing them, so that part of the story is really powerful for me.

You’ve got people like David Wenham and Aaron Pedersen in that cast, but you’ve picked two international stars, American Garrett Hedlund and Scottish Kelly MacDonald, in this Australian story. Tell me about this choice.

Guess we had every intention of picking all the Australians, but we just couldn’t really find the right Aussies who were exactly the right age and the right acting skills and who were also available and wanted to do the roles. .

The actors show up for a job and you put them in different clothes, cut their hair and they change their voices, so obviously picking an American and a Scotsman to play Australians meant they had to do more work on their accents than they did. Australian players would not. . But that was only part of their preparation.

What they brought in was that they were really, really good for the characters.

Garrett was so perfect for Lou. He grew up in Minnesota on a farm and was very fond of the outdoors and hardy. We had to do a lot of work to change his voice to sound Australian, but we just couldn’t find the same elements in an Australian actor.

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He was so awesome in Dee Rees Muddy, which I guess came out right before the casting?

It was the movie that I saw that made me think he was right about it, because he was so dashing and handsome but had such a sensitive mind and so gentle with him. I thought it was such a great performance in Muddy. Now it’s just a matter of having the right accent and making it look Australian.

Even in the trailer, you can see the scenery of WA, the Kimberley, so beautiful and so vast. Can you tell me how much the scenery contributed to the epic nature of Georgie and Lu’s love story?

I think that’s a feature of Tim Winton’s books in general. He’s very visceral and evocative in his writing about the natural landscape and things like bugs and birds and smells and vegetation and the ocean.

Thus, the natural environment is an important and important element in all of its stories. But I would say that Dirty music probably has this element even more prominently. It was therefore very important for us to really evoke the places.

We turned south to Esperance, then north into the Kimberley and we looked at it on a map and it was the same distance from London to Moscow. So that just gives you an idea of ​​the vastness of the countryside.

Capturing this was important because the characters have this relationship with the landscape and it’s an important theme of the story in a meditative way, with the way they spiritually interact with it. It’s a haunting creation in the book and it was something that we were really trying to fit into the movie.

Jack Thorne, the screenwriter, just worked on a television series with Damien Chazelle entitled the whirlwind and in this show, music is so much a part of it. Music is also an integral part of Dirt Music – have you seen that in his script here as well?

When you make a movie called Dirty music, music is an important part.

Jack was very thoughtful about how he scripted the music and what he was looking for in terms of the lyrics and the vibe of the songs he chose was really powerful. We didn’t use all of the music he chose but in some places we took the spirit of what he was doing and used it as a springboard for ideas.

You’re used to working with Powderfinger and their concert films – how much of that experience did you bring to that?

Being able to incorporate music in its various forms into a film is a strength as a filmmaker. Finding the music, interacting with the musicians and creating a space where they can really feel like a part of it all is an important part of the process of making a movie, and it’s also very satisfying.

We had a great time making the music that was going to play in the film, for example. There’s a band in the movie, a family band, so we picked actors who could sing and play, and in one case we picked a musician, Julia Stone, who could play.

Julia got an idea of ​​where we put them together in a house so that they could get to know each other and they could just play together. and we had a bunch of songs that we had the rights to and they played for days and nights.

It became very clear that the songs clicked and that was a real deciding element for the music for the film. So in that sense, the musicians actually chose the music for the film.

As a bonus, they got to know each other really well and really felt like family, and I think that also comes out on screen, that real connection.

Dirt Music is coming to theaters soon.

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