SXSW: Director Nash Edgerton talks about ‘Bear’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Great Gatsby’

One day, the Edgerton brothers will rule Hollywood with an iron fist, and I for one welcome our new Edgerton overlords.

Joel Edgerton, of course, is working hard in front of the camera these days, and he’s managed to finally make the jump to Hollywood leading man.  I am enormously fond of the work he did last year in “Warrior,” and while I didn’t love everything about “Wish You Were Here” at Sundance, Edgerton is great in it.  There’s something about the new breed of Australian leading men that really sets them apart from the gym-trained oh-so-smooth LA brand of guy, something more genuine and rough-hewn.  It’s little wonder so many of them are making the jump to action hero these days.

The other Edgerton, though, is the one that needs to have his turn in the spotlight, and I am convinced that day is coming.  His short film “Spider” is one of those that you never forget after you’ve seen it, and every single time I show it to people, I love watching them as they watch it.  The same is true of his latest film “Bear,” and I’m excited that it’s screening at SXSW.

We saw it at Sundance, where it was showing with “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and the audience response was, as expected, ecstatic.  There’s something fiendishly clever and oh-so-simple about Nash Edgerton as a filmmaker.  I think he’s well aware of his audience and wants them to have a memorable encounter, even if it’s just a short.  I really like his feature debut “The Square” as well, a nasty little noir thriller, and I think he’s making interesting films about people making very bad choices, a theme I’m drawn to when it’s done well.

He was a stuntman originally, and although he suffered what sounded like a horrifying accident on the set of “Attack Of The Clones,” he’s still doing it.  He talks a bit in our interview about his time on Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” in which his brother Joel plays a major part.  This is really the first concrete anything I’ve heard about the tone of Luhrmann’s film, and I must admit… I’m wildly curious to see how he handles the material.  It is not an easy adaptation to make, but it could be something really special if Luhrmann cracks it.

If you aren’t lucky enough to see “Bear” at SXSW, word is it will be online soon, and it will be well worth the wait.