Exclusive: Nash Edgerton, director of “The Square” — Hollywood In Ten
Nash Edgerton’s “The Square” is one of those films we’ve been hearing about for some time but couldn’t see until it reached the States.
It initially screened at Australia’s Sydney Film Festival … in 2008! Since then, it has made its way around the festival circuit — playing South By Southwest, Seattle, CineVegas and more — collecting rave reviews as it screened. With an expansion to more theaters in the works, Edgerton — a one-time stunt man making his feature-length directorial debut — called HollywoodNews.com to discuss his riveting thriller and his professional influences.
Hollywood News: “The Square” was released in your native Australia in 2008, but has had a slow, global roll out. Do you feel like you have been talking about the film forever?
Nash Edgerton: Kind of, yeah. But as long as the response is good, it’s always a pleasure to talk to folks about it.
And yet, there’s not a whole lot we can get into without spoiling some really important things away. Without getting too much into detail, can you let me know where the story idea came from, and why you wanted to explore the pressure we put on ourselves to cover up mistakes that we have made?
Well, the idea originally came from my brother. He’s always been fascinated by these little news stories in the newspaper where we have ordinary people getting themselves into extraordinary circumstances. And yeah, when I read it, I was pretty interested in the idea of how far someone would be willing to go to cover something up. Especially something like an obsession over another person.
I saw a mixture of Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma in “The Square.” Would you call either of those directors influences?
Definitely. I’ve loved their work, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers … So many filmmakers are great at creating tension, and I really wanted to see how tense I could make the film.
Some very strange plot twists occur in “The Square.” Did you ever worry about painting yourself into a corner or crossing a point where you audience would stop believing what they were seeing unfold on the screen?
It’s definitely a fine line to tread. We actually shot a lot more material than what you see in the finished film, and it was a matter of shaping it, trimming it, and finding the right amount. I was always test (screening) it for friends to see how far I could push it.
What impressed me most about “The Square” was that it legitimately surprised me with some of its twists. We’ve grown so accustomed to cheap jolts in modern horror films, but you took a different approach.
Well, I agree about modern horror films, who try to scare people in cheap ways by making loud sounds and using quick cuts. I really wanted to instead get a sense of dread that something terrible was going to happen and not music to tell you that you are supposed to be scared. I just wanted to do it with real situations. I thought that the more realistically I could play things out, the more tense it would be. Hopefully that worked.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
My brother and I actually are writing another film. It doesn’t have a title right now. It’s going to be different than “The Square,” but hopefully it will still have that dark kind of sense of humor we both seem to enjoy. We’ll see.