How Joel and Nash Edgerton Became the Best Aussie Film Talent We’ve Ever Seen
If you’re an aspiring film actor, producer or director, knowing where to start can be difficult. Sure you can jet off to Hollywood and join the audition circuit – but what if you threw out the rule book, banded together with mates and produced arguably the best Australian films ever? Look no further for inspiration.
Brothers Joel and Nash Edgerton may have made it look easy, but the acclaimed actor and director had the most unlikely of beginnings. Joel was a recent drama school graduate and Nash ditched his electrical engineering degree to become a stunt man. Together they would recruit friends Kieran Darcy-Smith, Luke Doolan, Mirrah Foulkes, David Michôd and Spencer Susser to form Australian film collective Blue-Tongue Films.
Founded in 1996 and since renowned for films ‘The Square’, ‘The Rover’, and not to mention Oscar nominated ‘Animal Kingdom’, it’s hard to believe the brothers’ success started with a short film called ‘Loaded’, which was intended as a show reel for Nash’s stunts.
“We didn’t know anyone so trying to get people to help us make it was quite impossible — we had to do it ourselves,” Nash told GQ Australia. “We had to borrow equipment and steal locations. But that’s the point, we didn’t care, we just wanted to do it. We had no responsibilities; we had nothing to lose, so we just made stuff.”
The first screening of ‘Loaded’ was booed – not exactly a fairy-tale result. But the second at a Bathurst film festival was received well and gave the group the momentum to make their second short film ‘Bloodlock’.
During production, Nash entered a film of his own, ‘Deadline’, into Tropfest where it won and moved on to Sundance proving credibility on an international scale. Since, the collective have screened 13 films at the Utah based film festival.
Their films are rarely conventional and by bending the rules, Blue-Tongue has been able to inject new life into classic genres. Take ‘Animal Kingdom’ for example, directed by collective member David Michôd who joined the crew of filmmakers in 2008 after arguing with Nash over a car space. The seemingly typical crime drama is blurred by complex family ties and a twist you would have to be lying to have seen coming.
Although the collective is considered an Australian production company, its members are spread across the globe supporting each endeavour from up close and afar. Films famously produced by the group of directors include Darcy-Smith’s celebrated feature directorial debut ‘Wish You Were Here’, Doolan’s ‘Miracle Fish’, Foulkes’ short ‘Florence Has Left The Building’ and sole US-born representative Susser’s star-studded film, ‘Hesher’.
Since their humble beginnings, Joel has largely pursued acting, starring in some of the biggest films of the last decade including his big break in the 'Star Wars' phenomenom followed by roles in ‘Warrior’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’. Meanwhile Nash has focused on directing for Blue-Tongue and coordinating stunts for films such as ‘Superman Returns’, ‘The Matrix Trilogy’ and ‘The Thin Red Line’.
The brothers are both currently in their forties and have firmly positioned themselves amongst global film talents over the years, paving the way for future trailblazers who don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and have a tendency for bending the rules. Blue-Tongue Films as a collective proves rejection doesn’t define you and with plenty of ambition, you can get by with a little help from your friends.
HP are looking for the next generation of Aussie filmmakers who bend the rules. You can vote for the competition contestants and their films to help them win cash grants! Plus play in the #HPTagiIt competition - get your creative juices flowing to come up with taglines for the finalists’ films and you could score great prizes such as a $5,000 Flight Centre voucher! Visit youtube.com/hpaustralia to get involved and for T&Cs.