There’s More to Life Than Just Surviving in New UK Trailer for #SlowWest w #MichaelFassbender

Slow West, movie, poster, trailer, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn, John Maclean

This new trailer, just released to flog the UK release of first-feature director John Maclean‘s Slow West, is a lot more revealing, despite its short length, than the domestic version we got last month.

This time around we get Michael Fassbender‘s voice-over, as well as a better look at Ben Mendelsohn (always a good thing) and a brief glimpse of Rory McCann.

The story is a sort of Old West Romeo and Juliet/classic western mashup that sees Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Jay Cavendish travel to the American west of the late 19th century from his native Scotland, all to find the girl he loves (Caren Pistorius), whose father (McCann) has spirited her away. Of course, Cavendish is the proverbial fish out of water, stranger in a strange land, take your pick, in need of his own rescue. Enter Silas (Fassbender – who also produced, and developed the script with Maclean), who becomes his mysterious “chaperone”.

Ben Mendelsohn, doing one of the things he does so very well, is the villain of the piece. (Or at least one of them. Maybe the one who fits most squarely into that box.)

Far from giving everything away, the trailer gives us just enough new material to keep not only keep our interest piqued, but makes us eager for more. Fassbender’s performance has been compared to Clint Eastwood (of whom he’s a huge fan) as well as Burt Lancaster, both favorably I might add. Not sure I see either of those two, yet, but I can’t wait to judge for myself. A24 will release Slow West, which premiered in January at Sundance, in the US this coming Friday, May 15 (limited) and on 26th June in the UK.

“The Law Is Shot to Hell” Watch 1st Trailer for #SlowWest with #MichaelFassbender

Slow West, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Mclean, western, Ben Mendelsohn, Rory McCann

Sundance Film Festival poster for Slow West

It has been clear since the days of Jonah Hex, that any western which included Michael Fassbender would not be your typical “oater” or “horse opera” in the vein John Wayne or even Gary Cooper (super duper! C’mon, you know you totally heard Peter Boyle in your head). This would have been true of Jane Got Her Gun, if he’d stayed with the project, and it’s certainly true of Slow West. We’d had hints of its  unconventional nature from the few stills released following the film’s debut at Sundance, but now we have proof with the first trailer.

The film is writer/director John Mclean‘s feature debut after having helmed a few well-received shorts including Man On a Motorcycle and Pitch Black Heist, also starring Fassbender. In Slow West he plays Silas, a “mysterious drifter” who throws in with a 16 year-old Scottish immigrant (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The kid, in true knight errant fashion, is on a quest to find his lady love (Caren Pistorius), whose father (Rory McCann) has spirited her off to the wilds of the American west.

Despite the fact that Fassbender is playing a sort of outlaw Friar Laurence to this 19th century Romeo and Juliet, it would appear that the film is still awash with grubby, saddle-sore villains as well. The always fantastic Ben Mendelsohn (I remember when I saw Animal Kingdom for the first time. Joel Edgerton was already making a name for himself, but everything else I read said that James Frecheville* would be the break-out star. No one predicted it would be Mendelsohn who is suddenly required to be in all the movies. And have you seen “Bloodline” on Netflix?  Do it! Now! As usual I digress.) as Payne, the leader of a gang of money-hungry, cold-blooded bounty hunters, is one such character.  The actor apparently took a shine to Payne’s furry coat. He wore it to the Sundance premiere.

Take a look at this:

trailer via JoBlo

Those lucky enough to have already seen the movie have raved about Mclean’s debut, calling it a fairy tale about doomed romance and unlikely families, defined by its “sharp wit”, and “absurdist violence” remininscent of Tarantino.  When can I buy my ticket!

Produced by the team from The King’s Speech and Shame, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, among others, including Fassbender, Slow West moseys into the Tribeca Film Festival April 18. Its May 15 US opening doesn’t preclude a stop on the French Riviera first, so I wouldn’t be surprised if its included in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival lineup as well. The UK gets it on 26 June.

*last seen in The Drop with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini

What I Missed on My Summer Vacation: Part 3- Michael Fassbender Edition

Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Slow West, movie, western, photo

Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee in a scene from John Maclean’s Slow West

A few years ago, it was announced that Michael Fassbender would appear opposite Natalie Portman in Lynne Ramsey’s western, Jane Got a Gun. Apparently Fassy has “Spidey-sense” as well as that shark-smile, since he bailed on that one rather early, avoiding the stampede for the exits. (For those that don’t know to what I refer, after Fassbender & Portman signed on, they were joined by Joel Edgerton for the 2nd male lead. When Fassbender left, Jude Law took his role. Then Law left and Edgerton stepped in. Then on the day filming was to start, Ramsey quit. That part of the story is still being adjudicated. The movie was eventually made by Gavin O’Connor – Edgerton’s Warrior director – but without Edgerton. The final cast included Portman, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, and Rodrigo Santoro but we’ve seen nary a trailer, and it’s being quietly dumped in the February wilderness of 2015. But I digress)

In any case, for those still desparate to see Michael Fassbender in a western, you’re in luck. He’s made Slow West out in the wilds of Scotland and New Zealand, for director John Mclean, who marks his feature film debut. (Mclean directed Fassbender and his Hunger and Centurion costar Liam Cunningham in the short Pitch Black Heist.) The film also stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road), Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Killing Them Softly) and “The Hound” himself, Rory McCann.

17-year-old Jay Cavendish (Smit-McPhee) treks from the Scottish Highlands to the American West searching for his lady love. He pays a mysterious traveler called Silas, (Fassbender) to protect him.

The above image is the first official look at Fassbender and Smit-McPhee from the film. Look for the movie itself to hit one or many of the fall festivals. Hopefully trailers and release dates will appear as we get closer to Venice and TIFF and Telluride.

 

Frank, poster, movie, Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleason

Domestic poster for Lenny Abramson’s Frank with Michael Fassbender

I’ve been looking out for Frank since way back in November 2012 when filming began in Dublin and Bray before moving to New Mexico in January 2013. It finally premiered at Sundance 2014 (and was a big hit), and has played quite a few festivals since (include SXSW, which features in the film), so there are folks lucky enough to have seen it already, and they all seem to be heels over giant papier-mâché head for it. In addition to Michael Fassbender, the terrific ensemble cast includes Domhnall Gleason (to whom the standard response was “who?” when filming began), Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy.
Frank is the story of a wannabe rocker (Gleason), who talks his way into a band of misfits called the Soronprfbs, led by the titular Frank (Fassbender) who wears a giant fake head on his head, and holes up with them in a remote cabin to record an album.

Despite the fact that his famous face is hidden for the entire movie, Fassbender is winning rave reviews. Being forced to use his body alone to convey expression is apparently liberating rather than constraining. And though it is loosely based on the life of Frank Sidebottom, a giant head-wearing persona created by real English musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other real musicians like Captain Beefheart, everything I’ve seen and heard points to Frank being a most refreshingly weird and original film.

Frank finally opens in the US on August 15th. (And once again, I am hopeful that that means in more cities than just NY and LA.) It’s already got a dvd/blu-ray release date for the UK of September 15, as well. In the meantime, take a look at the new images, trailer and the assembled clips below.

Domestic Trailer:

“How Long…”:

“Idiot Shriek”

“Welcoming Smile”:

“…Go With It”:

“…Punch You in the Face”:

“I Love You All”