Interview with Joel & Nash Edgerton for “Gringo”

Jana N. Nagase sits down with Josh and Nash Edgerton to discuss their new film Gringo. 

This is not the first time the Australian brothers, Joel and Nash Edgerton, have worked together. Their collaboration started back in 1996 with a short movie called Loaded, in which they alternated acting scenes with stunts scenes. In 2008, The Square was released, directed by Nash and written by Joel. And now, they teamed up once again in the dark comedy Gringo, releasing in theaters on March 9.

Gringo explores the battle of survival for businessman Harold Soyinka, played by David Oyelowo when he finds himself crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to a wanted criminal. Aside from Joel and David, the film stars Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried, Thandie Newton, Paris Jackson (Michael Jackson’s daughter in her first role), and more.

I had the opportunity to talk to Joel and Nash Edgerton over the phone last week while they were promoting the movie in Miami. Let’s see what the Aussie siblings have to say about the script, working together, David Oyelowo, Mexico, and much more.

Nash, what was it about the script that draws you into it?

Nash – I thought that it was very unpredictable, entertaining, felt original and fresh. I liked because I was being surprised by and there were some twists and turns to the story. And I responded very well to unpredictable materials.

This is not the first time you work together. How does this dynamic work – brother-director-actor?

Joel – Yes, Nash and I already worked together before, he already directed me in short and big movies; we read each others’ scripts; he helped on The Gift, which I made. We helped each other in such different ways, which it makes a lot easier for us if we are working together. I can’t explain how but it’s good, and in a good side of it we are promoting the film, and we get to hang out in places like Miami together.

Nash, what was it about David Oyelowo’s work that got your attention to pick him to play Harold?

Nash – I’ve seen a lot of his work, and I think he is extremely talented actor and then, we had dinner together and we talked about the film, and for that moment I knew I found the right actor to play Harold. And I got the essence of the role, and I was very excited to be working with him. And then after I casted him, he had an idea make Harold a Nigerian immigrant. And I thought it was an inspired idea and I was very excited to make that version of the movie with him.

Nash, You also produced this movie. What were the challenges you had?

Nash – There are a lot of living parts of this movie, a lot of cast and a lot of locations that we shot, in multiples cities. We shot in Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Veracruz, Alvarado… we had to move constantly people around, working with various crews. We were shooting in two different languages. So, yes, there were a lot challenges to the film.

Did you guys learn any Spanish at all?

Nash – A little bit.

Joel – Un poquito.

Joel, what is your favorite scene?

Joel – My favorite is the scene that I’m not in. It’s the first when Celerino Sanchez, played by Hernán Mendoza, goes to see the cartel boss. I think there is such great tension and humor on it. Another is when Harold is drunk practicing to talk to my character Richard. It’s an incredible scene. Also, there are so many fantastic scenes in the movie.

Nash – I enjoyed any scenes with Harold and Mitch (Sharlto Copley´s character) together. There is something that happens between those two when they are on screen together. It’s really enjoyable.

Nash, what was the most difficult scene to shoot? Was it the accident in the beginning of the film or the car chase towards the end?

Nash – The car sequence with Harold and the two Mexicans in the car was quite difficult. We were in the mountains in Mexico, and it was really shot in the car. It’s quite difficult.

What’s next for you?

Nash – Joel directed, and now he is editing a film at the moment called Boy Erased. And I just finished making (direct) a TV series called Mr. Inbetween that it’s coming up later in this year. And we are also developing other projects.

Gringo is releasing in theaters on March 9.

Written by
Aside from loving movies and being young at heart, I’m daughter, wife, mom, friend, journalist, producer, programmer, editor, occasional voice-over, etc.. and yes in this order. I’m Brazilian, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, and I moved to the US almost 17 years ago to pursue my master's degree in Broadcast Communication. And the film industry just happened... I've been working within this industry for more than 10 years.

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