HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box
HK and Cult Film News on Facebook
Friday, August 12, 2016
Mel Gibson in BLOOD FATHER
Blood Father stars Mel Gibson as John Link, an ex-convict who fights to protect his estranged daughter from the drug cartel that is hunting her down. In this thrilling action film, John must use his connections from his past life and his skills as an ex-criminal to keep him and his daughter alive. Blood Father also stars Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks, and William H. Macy. Blood Father will be released by Lionsgate Premiere in theaters August 12, 2016.
Lionsgate Premiere presents in association with Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch, a Wild Bunch and Why Not Productions film.
John Link (Mel Gibson) hasn't seen his daughter Lydia in years. He keeps her "MISSING" poster on the wall of his shabby RV, part memento and part talisman. The broken down RV is his home; it’s also his tattoo parlor, where he uses one of his more legal skills to try and make a living. He's two years sober, one year out of prison and, as he tells his AA group and AA Sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy), all he can do about his regrets is not drink. John’s daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty), has been living off-the-radar and off-the-map ever since she ran away from home years ago. These days, she’s girlfriend to cartel member Jonah (Diego Luna), and her life is a blur of feel-good drugs and bad behavior. Jonah operates stash houses where straight-seeming people rent homes and store cash and product in the walls.
While visiting one of his stash houses, Jonah tries to force Lydia to go from accomplice to accessory by making her hold the stash house's occupants at gunpoint and telling her that murdering the residents on his order will prove her obedience. A slip of the trigger finger means that a bad situation becomes worse, forcing Lydia to run from Jonah's lieutenants and employers both.
When Lydia calls John from a pay phone in Santa Monica with fear in her voice and asking for help after years of unexplained absence, he's scared – and desperate to help. Once John picks up Lydia, takes her in, and ransacks her things to find her pack loaded with guns and bullets and drugs, he's even more scared for Lydia – and himself. However, the chance to reunite with his daughter, even in the current circumstances of danger that could destroy them both, is too important for John to not take the risk.
Soon, it becomes apparent that Lydia is in more than just trouble, as Jonah’s underlings find her and riddle John's trailer with bullets. Running for their lives, Lydia and John realize that there's also a Cartel hitman with fearsome skills and dark intent on their tail.
John reaches out to old criminal confederates Arturo Rios (Miguel Sandoval), a Mexican ganglord he knew in jail, as well as a Preacher (Michael Parks) who moonlit as a biker gang leader with a lucrative sideline in selling Nazi memorabilia, for help and guidance against the Cartel. John and Lydia grow closer in the high-stakes context of their flight from danger even as their long-hoped-for reunion seems more and more like a gauntlet of violence with no escape. When Lydia is finally captured by the Cartel chasing her, John will need every bit of the man he is, both past and present, to try and rescue the daughter he barely knows from death.
Blood Father stars Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Signs), Erin Moriarty (Kings of Summer, Captain Fantastic), Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Book of Life), Michael Parks (Kill Bill, Tusk) and William H. Macy (Fargo, Boogie Nights, Shameless). The film is directed by Jean-François Richet (Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), Mesrine Part I: Killer Instinct, Mesrine Part II: Public Enemy #1) and written for the screen by Peter Craig (The Town, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2) and Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, Straight Outta Compton) from Craig's novel. The producers are Chris Briggs (Poseidon, Shark Night 3D), Peter Craig, Pascal Caucheteux (A Prophet, Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)), and Sébastien K. Lemercier (The Purge, White Bird in a Blizzard), with Jennifer Roth (Black Swan, The Wrestler) as executive producer.
The director of photography is Robert Gantz, ASC (Mindhunters, Assault on Precinct 13). Production design is by Robb Wilson King (MacGruber, Rush Hour). Editing is by Steven Rosenblum, ACE (Braveheart, Get the Gringo). Costume design is by Terry Anderson (Inception, A Million Ways to Die in the West). The original music is composed by Sven Faulconer (The Huntsman: Winter's War, Nightcrawler), with music supervision by Bruce Gilbert. Casting by Carmen Cuba, CSA (The Martian, Stranger Things). Lionsgate Premiere presents in association with Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch, a Wild Bunch and Why Not Productions film, Blood Father.
Watch the Trailer
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
CRIME AND FAMILY
For director Jean-François Richet, Blood Father isn't just another crime film. Adapted from Peter Craig's novel, screenwriters Craig and Andrea Berloff write a thriller that takes on deeper meaning and more desperate stakes. Ex-con-in-recovery John Link (Mel Gibson) gets an unexpected reunion with his long-lost daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty) as she runs for her life from the cross-border drug runners and cartel killers her dealer boyfriend works with. Can the father Lydia barely knows protect her? And can John trust a daughter in danger who he hasn’t seen in years?
According to director Richet, the dynamic between John and Lydia – a repentant father trying to atone for his sins and a daughter whose committed crimes she can't conceive of how to put right – is the core of the film: "The dramatic conflict between father and daughter was already in place, because of the different backgrounds to which they belong."
Actress Erin Moriarty, explains the plot as a re-connection between two people who don't really know each other at all but still feel a fierce need to try and protect each other. "Blood Father is about a young woman, Lydia, and her estranged father, Link, coming together under disastrous circumstances. Upon meeting her, Lydia is a strung out, trouble-seeking teenager who is a witness to a brutal murder. Link, an ex-con and former Hell's Angel, is just gaining stability in his life with his newfound sobriety and tattoo parlor business when Lydia enters to shake things up. Lydia's tumultuous relationship with her mother causes her to initially see her father as her only hope – however, I think subconsciously she also knows that her father is the only person who she can connect with, and vice versa. She's whip-smart and extremely curious – both attributes that she gets from her dad. The circumstances of the movie force the two to develop a fierce bond, one that may have otherwise gone unfound."
The gulf between John Link and his daughter – a man who has forsaken drugs and a young woman inescapably tangled up in selling them – is incredibly stark in the film; Richet, for his part, saw it as an important part of accurately filming the novel. "I read the novel before I read the script. I'd found it amazing as it portrayed a shaken America, wealthy kids indulging in drugs and orgies, and the glamorization of gangster rule – as opposed to working-class America, to people who work hard to feed their kids, to immigrant workers picking oranges, to the Link character who finds redemption through work."
WORKING WITH MEL GIBSON
Mel Gibson plays John Link and for Richet, working with Gibson turned out to be a revelation, with hard work in the present moment erasing even Gibson's impressive prior work. As Richet observes, despite Gibson's iconic past playing hard-bitten loners in desert settings fighting to survive, "Mad Max never, ever, crossed my mind during the making of the film. I agree that there must in fact be similarities – the film takes place in the desert, you can see bikes and cars – but had it not been for Mel, no one would have linked the two. What makes you think about it is the fact that most of us have grown up watching Mad Max and Lethal Weapon. I've rarely worked with someone so humble and self-composed."
Richet explains that even though he admires Gibson’s directorial work, that didn’t get in the way of a good working relationship: "To me, Mel is one of the greatest living filmmakers – he's up there on my list of top directors along with Michael Mann. And yet he never interfered with my work. As far as I'm concerned, I always try to be on talking terms with cast members. I would be stupid not to embrace what actors have to say – whenever it's relevant. I hate the idea that a director only has to press a button or that he’s directing traffic."
Richet may have hired Gibson as an actor, but over time he gained a very real sense of appreciation for Gibson's working process in the moment – and the filmmaking insights his star suggested and worked to find. "Mel is only interested in one thing, and in the end it’s the most important thing – what drives the character in each and every scene. That's why he is a great actor and that's why he is a great director. He can't be bothered with trifles – all he thinks about is the character's deep motivations. Mel has such an acute sense of drama. We changed the whole ending an hour before we shot it when Mel got the impression it didn't feel right. We then sat down with Mel and Peter Craig. Mel churned out a hundred ideas a minute; he's like Vincent Cassel (the star of Richet's Mesrine Parts 1 & 2) – he's the same kind of animal. They bring everything down to the character's motivations: That's the key to good drama."
Newcomer Erin Moriarty, for her part, also notes that when Mel Gibson was on-set her own intimidation factor disappeared in the face of her co-star's openness and the desire to play the best possible version of the scene: "One of the most common questions I'm asked regarding my experience with Mel was the level of intimidation I felt throughout the process. The only intimidation I felt was during the time between booking the role and meeting him in New Mexico. As soon as we started working on set together, the intimidation dissipated a lot quicker than I had expected. Mel's combination of having decades of experience as an actor and his tremendous talent for directing lends itself to his ability to sense what an actor needs from him, scene by scene. For example, there were scenes in which he would intentionally surprise me with a new choice in his own performance to garner a more organic response in mine. He would adjust himself according to what I needed without sacrificing his own performance. I felt such a major sense of gratitude for him coming out of the film."
Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief drug use.
U.S. Release Date: August 12, 2016
Run Time: 90 minutes
Cast: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy
Directed by: Jean-François Richet
Screenplay by: Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff
Based on the novel by: Peter Craig
Produced by: Chris Briggs, Peter Craig, Pascal Caucheteux, Sébastien K. Lemercier
Credits not contractual