Empire Australasia - May 2018

(Kiana) #1
Clockwise from top:
Charley (Charlie
Plummer) with his
best bud Lean On
Pete (Starsky);
Charley tends to his
single-parent father
Ray (Travis Fimmel);
Horse trainer Del
(Steve Buscemi).

Weekenddirector Andrew
Haigh on his most ambitious
film yet: racehorse drama
Lean On Pete

never what you’d call a horsey person.
Before making Lean On Pete, his intensely
emotional coming-of-age story about a
troubled 15-year-old Portland boy and a
knackered racehorse, the Croydon-raised
writer-director hadn’t had any experience
with the beasts. So he was understandably
anxious about directing one — in a
double act with a teenager (Charlie
gonna be h
turns out, h
for a surpri
when you s
he says. “T
mood chan
named Sta
tone of the
name with

British relationship dramasWeekendand
45 Years, it’s tempting to see the Oregon-
rooted Lean On Pete (based on the 2010
novel by Willy Vlautin) as a concerted
effort to ‘go Hollywood’ — especially as
it attracted a quality supporting cast that
includes Steve Buscemi and Chloë Sevigny.
But, says Haigh, it wasn’t the setting or the
horse-racing elements that drove him to
make it. “It was the central character of
Charley, the dificulties he experiences,
and the things he desperately needs in his
life to even be able to move forward with
it. It was the heartbreaking nature of that
that made me want to tell it.”
He couldn’t have hoped for a better
actor to play the role. Plummer, best
Haigh too. With a distinctly
ood budget, he had one
pture his big race sequence,
“It’s not the easiest thing
e admits, “but I like all those
allenges.” Besides, he had
is side, keeping things serene.
he’ll be at the premiere,”
s, “where he’ll be happily
hatever horses eat.” Like we
orsey person. DAN JOLIN


A horse

and his boy

We spoke to Andrew
Haigh on 26 February,
shortly before he packed
for a two-month trip
around North America.

no less. “It sounds likeit’s
horriic,”says Haigh. But,it
having a horse around makes
isingly chilled ilm set.
’r e amazing animals
spend time with them,”
hey reallydo senseyour
nges. Ourhorse,who was
rskyy, would sense the
set. Soit means
has to be calm.”
g made his

knownffor playing John Paul GettyIII in
Ridley Scott’sAll The MoneeyInThe
Worldd, fully encapsulates the
weariness andnaivety.“I just
thought he was perfect,” says
Haigh. “This isn’ta
traditional ‘tough’ teen role.
It’sasensitive teenwho has to
dealwithreallyshitty things.
He’sin every shot of the
ilm.Itwas a tough
sh ootfo rhim.”

ch ance to ca
for example.
technical cha
Starsky onh
“Hopefu llyh
Haigh laugh
eating, er, whr
said, not ah

Free download pdf