ALMOST two years after Animal Kingdom won at the Sundance Film Festival, Jacki Weaver is still being flooded with Hollywood movie and TV offers.
”In the past three months I’ve been offered 13 films,” the veteran actor says. ”Of course, I won’t be doing all of them. And in the two years I’ve lost count.”
Playing the malicious ”Smurf” Cody led to Weaver’s first Oscar nomination and landed her roles in the Hollywood comic romance The Five-Year Engagement, the horror-drama Stoker and the poignant comedy Silver Linings Playbook, which has started the Oscar buzz all over again. Other Australian films have launched one or two international careers – Geoffrey Rush in Shine, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths in Muriel’s Wedding, and Eric Bana in Chopper, for example.
But the Animal Kingdom effect has boosted the careers of just about everyone associated with writer-director David Michod’s acclaimed crime drama.
”Hollywood loves smaller independent sleepers, so it had a lot of cachet,” says Weaver.
Ben Mendelsohn, who was the malevolent ”Pope” Cody, has also been in demand for international movies from highly respected directors. As well as the thriller Trespass and The Dark Knight Rises, he landed roles in the crime tale Killing Them Softly and the dramas The Place Beyond the Pines and Two Mothers.
”The Americans respond to heat,” Mendelsohn says. ”A lot of people that are into films and work in the Hollywood system saw Animal Kingdom and consequently, for quite a number of the participants, there was a lot of work generated.”
Sullivan Stapleton, who was little-known when he played edgy Craig Cody, now features in the TV series Strike Back, the crime movie Gangster Squad and the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire.
He credits Animal Kingdom with being ”hands down” the gamechanger for his career.
While Guy Pearce was already a Hollywood name and Joel Edgerton was down to star in Warrior, he has since landed roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s killing Osama bin Laden action movie Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby.
James Frecheville, who was unknown when he played J, has since worked with Naomi Watts and Mendelsohn on Two Mothers, Laura Wheelwright, who was his girlfriend Nicky, is in the Julian Assange drama Underground and Mirrah Foulkes, who was Catherine, is in Jane Campion’s coming TV drama Top of the Lake.
”It’s just been thrilling for me to see all of these guys seemingly launch new chapters in their careers,” says Michod.
He himself was so deluged with offers to direct films that he struggled to make a decision about what to do next.
”It was exciting, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how anxiety-inducing that bombardment of attention was going to be,” he said.
Michod eventually turned down everything and wrote a second film. He will now shoot The Rover, a futuristic Western that will star Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce, in the Australian outback early next year.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.