Lawless: Jason Clarke
Lawless Opens August 29, 2012
Australian actor Jason Clarke completes the sibling trio as Howard, the eldest Bondurant. Often drunk and woefully unreliable, Howard is outsized in every way, perhaps a reaction to an inner turmoil he is ill-equipped to handle.
“In terms of the violence in him, everything with Howard was projected outward, kind of like a tsunami; whereas with Forrest it was completely controlled and internal. They were polar opposites as a force and Jason completely identified all of that within his character. At one point, the script had changed the eldest brother from Howard to Forrest, and Jason put forward a strong case for Howard as the firstborn. And it had to do with Howard’s sense of guilt and shame. Because in those times and in that world, the eldest brother would become the patriarch of the family after the father passed away. But Howard was kind of a fuck-up, this messed up guy that couldn’t really occupy that position. It’s agonizing for him, the fact that he’s not there for his brothers. And these brothers really love each other and would do anything for each other. We wanted to explore those dynamics and we changed the script for Jason and cast him because of his argument,” Hillcoat explains.
As an Australian, Clarke was deeply familiar with both Hillcoat and Cave’s work, and was eager to work with them. One of several Australians in front of and behind the camera, he did not know Hillcoat or Cave prior to joining the movie but of course was a big fan and student of both.
“It was just a great script. And also being Australian, I am of course a longtime Nick Cave fan and I knew of John’s work – ‘The Proposition’ and ‘Ghosts of the Civil Dead’ – and even his original projects from his film school days. He was always a guy who I thought had a unique, visual voice. After I read the script, I thought, yep, these guys are going to do this well. It’s a dense, fascinating piece of storytelling and these are the right guys to make it. And then when I found out the caliber of the other people involved – it was a no brainer,” Clarke says.
Clarke’s expectation of Hillcoat’s process and style happily proved to be true. And Clarke had a personal connection to the filmmakers and the material.
“His visual sense is really particular and he is a gentle open man who is constantly looking and thinking in a unique way. Plus they shot ‘The Proposition’ in a place called Winton where I was born. Not many people have been there, let alone shot there,” he says. In fact, Clarke drew on his life in Winton to inform his character.
“Jason came from the country. He grew up in the outback and was used to rural violence, which he drew on and worked out in so many ways … like he had leg weights on to help give Howard this heft as he walked. He explored moonshine – as they all did except for Tom. Tom is more controlled than that, true to his character,” Hillcoat notes.
Clarke believes that Howard considers his relationship with his brothers to be the only thing of value in his life; for this haunted man, his love for his brothers is his only redeeming quality. He credits his onscreen ‘brothers” LaBeouf and Hardy, for helping him make the fraternal bonds real.
“Howard has a story and a conflict that can only be answered in the film, not off screen, not by some big event but by what’s going on with him and his brothers,” Clarke explains. “And my relationship with Shia and Tom, on and off-camera, was great from day zip. We are the type of actors who develop character through our interactions. As soon as I was onboard, Shia sent out some texts and pictures and it was just a let’s get stuck in it attitude, which is how I like to work. Tom is a very ferocious actor, in terms of his pursuit of character and truth and the choices that he makes. Both of them give you so much to work with that it makes your job easier.”
Leave a Reply
- Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of Plains Indian)
- Fast & Furious 6: Thrilling Joyride
- Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy–Talk of Cannes Film Fest
- Bling Ring, The
- Before Midnight: Hawke and Delpie at Mid-Age
- Stories We Tell
- Great Gatsby: Luhrmann’s Jazzy Spectacle
- Star Trek into Darkness: Solid Sequel
- Love Is All You Need: From Denmark Via Italy
- Kiss of the Damned: Oversexed Vampires
- Murphy’s Romance (1986): James Garner’s Only Oscar Nomination