Lawless: Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman
Lawless: Guy Pearce
LAWLESS marks the third collaboration between Hillcoat, Cave and their fellow Australian,
Guy Pearce, following THE PROPOSITION and THE ROAD. Pearce was delighted to rejoin his colleagues, particularly with a role as juicy as Charlie Rakes, the corrupt, sadistic Chicago lawman who is determined to break the Bondurant clan.
The actor appreciated Cave’s stylistic flair in creating Rakes. “In typical Nick Cave fashion, Rakes was a character with very specific quirks and details. He’s very particular in his judgment of people, which shows when he first arrives in the town. His disdain for people like the Bondurant boys was a wonderful thing to play. I think he oozes utter contempt for them and their mere existence,” Pearce explains.
Rakes is a fastidious, narcissistic fellow and his very particular look reflects it. It included pristine attire, a massive part separating shiny, slicked-back ebony hair, and a distinct and disturbing lack of eyebrows. This bold appearance also exemplifies the working relationship between Hillcoat and Pearce. “I did have quite a hand in the look of Rakes,” Pearce allows. “Obviously, it was a collaborative process. John is very interested in making characters memorable and he has a wonderful imagination, so it was satisfying working with him on this character. I feel the haircut, the shaved eyebrows and the dying of the hair were all great ways to express the vanity of the man. Rakes also has a disdain for all things grubby and dirty in a physical sense, and yet is so disgusting as a personality.”
Both Hillcoat and Pearce relished the notion of Pearce playing such a nefarious, complicated character. “I loved the idea of Guy playing a villain and I knew he was capable of it – at this stage in his career, he is capable of playing anything.”
Somewhere in the zone between good guy and bad guy lies Chicago gangster Floyd Banner, who is both a foe and a friend to the Bondurants. Given that Floyd Banner is a fleeting presence in the film, Hillcoat required an actor who could convey the charisma and bravado that would impress a young bootlegger like Jack – and he counted himself lucky when Gary Oldman signed on for the role.
“Gary Oldman is one of the great actors of his generation. He’s incredibly precise actor and yet he also has this undeniable power. I was trying to think of a Chicago gangster who would have this as well as have a real pizzazz, which Gary certainly possesses. I hadn’t seen him do a character quite like that before, and I like to try to find people who nail the character but also bring something fresh to it. Gary lived up to every bit and we were all very excited to have him,” Hillcoat says.
Fans of Hillcoat and Cave will notice Floyd’s lieutenant Gummy Walsh, played by Noah Taylor, who last worked with the filmmakers on THE PROPOSITION. Cave himself makes an appearance in LAWLESS as a gangster. Unfortunately his bootlegging days – and scenes in the movie – are numbered to one.
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