Alexandre Moors (Blue Caprice) returns to Sundance this year with The Yellow Birds, based on the Kevin Powers novel about young soldiers at war, the effect it has on them when they return home, and the questions they face when one of their number doesn’t return. Alden Ehrenreich plays Brandon Bartle, tasked by his Staff Sergeant (Jack Huston) to look after Murph (Tye Sheridan), who is far from ready for the traumas of the front lines.
Ehrenreich couldn’t make it to the festival with other commitments, but Moors stopped by Deadline’s Sundance Studio to discuss the film alongside Tye Sheridan and Jack Huston. It was about, Moors said, the struggles ordinary soldiers face with what they engage with at war. “The whole movie is constructed in flashback, so the film mimics [Bartle’s] own post-traumatic disorder, and we navigate that to find answers about what really happened over there,” he told me.
For the actors, who addressed each other by their character names during the shoot in Morocco, there was a two-week bootcamp to attempt to understand the challenges of conflict. “We had 25 guys on our squad,” Sheridan said. “They’d wake us up in the middle of the night and we’d do night patrols. They did such a good job of making it feel real. You could start to understand and start to tap into someone’s mentality who might be at war, and whose life might be at risk.”
Added Huston: “It gave me a newfound respect for these guys who are deployed and actually fighting. They get quite a hard rap. A lot of people have ideas of whether we should or shouldn’t go to war, but that has nothing to do with these guys who are over there fighting, and that’s brutal.”
Check out more in our exclusive video interview, above.
Actors, directors, filmmakers and special guests visiting the Deadline Studio at Sundance 2017 enjoyed sweet and savory treats, custom cocktails and more at Applegate’s REEL FOOD CAFE. Find out more about Applegate and their mission to change the meat we eat at www.applegate.com.