Returning to Sundance’s Midnight section following the 2014 festival premiere of Cooties, directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott are back with Bushwick, which just sold to RLJ Entertainment in a seven-figure U.S. rights deal after its world premiere in Park City. Starring Brittany Snow and Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Dave Bautista, the film follows 20-year-old Lucy, who comes out of the subway into the streets of Brooklyn to find a war zone as a Texas mercenary group has invaded. With the help of Bautista’s Stupe, Lucy attempts to make it to her grandmother’s house alive.
“The reason this kind of film came to be was there was a quote by [former Texas Gov.] Rick Perry, who kind of joked around that Texas should secede from the United States, and we thought, what would happen if that really came to be?” Murnion says.
Of particular note when it comes to Bushwick is the film’s cinematography—the way in which the directors capture the action in long, sweeping takes, requiring the actors to go through a whole continuous range of emotions from minute to minute. “We say we filmed this movie three times, one time just with Cary and myself and the DP, then with these guys and a little bit of a larger crew, and then we did it again for real with all the other extras and everybody else involved in a normal film crew,” Milott said, visiting Deadline’s Sundance Studio presented by Applegate. “It just took a lot of planning, a lot of amazing performances where they couldn’t rely on editing. They just had to lay it all out on the line, and one of our favorite scenes is when Brittany has to go through a range of emotions, from terrified to sad to drugged, and all without cutting.”
“You’re going through this arc of just a full range of emotions, from action, to being exhausted, to being tired, to being heartbroken, to now you’ve got to be a badass,” Bautista adds. “This is all in one take, and if you have a 12-minute take, and you’re nine minutes in and you mess up that take, and you’ve got to step back and do it, it takes a tremendous amount of just focus.”
Premiering at the festival on Saturday, Bushwick is one of a number of films here at Sundance that have taken on special significance in the Donald Trump era.
“I think that what this film really shows is that this could happen if violence is what’s relied on, as opposed to peaceful understanding and empathy. I think as actors we gravitate towards things where empathy is shown, and like understanding of different communities and ethnicities and things, and this is a look at what happens when you just force violence,” Snow said. “I think with the current climate, it’s shocking to most people because we are so desensitized to look at war outside of the United States, but this is what happens when there is war inside. I think people will look at this and be kind of shocked because it’s not too far from the future, maybe.”
To hear the discussion with the Bushwick team, check out Deadline’s 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
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