The French have a long running history of great film noir with such auteurs as Jean-Pierre Melville, so it becomes all the more intriguing to hear that actress/director Melanie Laurent is putting her Gallic spin on the genre with the feature adaptation of Nic Pizzolatto’s novel Galveston. The pic marks her first English-language speaking directing debut after such titles as Breathe and Plonger.
In the film, Ben Foster plays Roy, a New Orleans ex-con who is intended to go down in a set-up by his kingpin Stan (Beau Bridges), however, he comes up the survivor with some valuable documents in hand alongside call girl Raquel (Elle Fanning). They flee Louisiana and head to Texas. During a pit stop, Raquel looks to secure money she’s owed, but winds up with a trash bag full of clothes and a 3-year old instead. Raquel and Roy wind up in the latter’s hometown of Galveston, where he plots his revenge, and is slowly dying.
At our SXSW studio, Laurent, Fanning and Foster shared their inspirations for taking on the project. For Fanning, a Georgia native, it was a chance for “my southern accent to really come out.”
For Foster, he’s been a fan of Laurent’s cinematic sensibility specifically Breathe in which she handled adolescence “so intimately” while Galveston “is pulpy and poetic and impressionistic”.
But working with Fanning, now that was a big deal.
“In our racket she has one of the most pristine reputations and so much respect,” says Foster, “If you’re going to go down and explore these ideas, you have to do it with your big boy pants on, and everyone talks about her big boy pants — or pants suit! It’s a pants suit.”
For remaining showtimes at SXSW for Galveston click here.
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