Entertainment

Brie Larson didn’t live in the ’70s but likes the throwback

Since winning the coveted best actress Oscar, Brie Larson has had many big-ticket projects to brag about but she's most excited about indie movie Free Fire.

Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson stars in the ’70s comedy-crime-thriller Free Fire, directed by Ben Wheatley.

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Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson stars in the ’70s comedy-crime-thriller Free Fire, directed by Ben Wheatley.

Since winning the coveted best actress Oscar for her role in the 2015 hit drama Room, Brie Larson has had many big-ticket projects to brag about — the most recent King Kong re-boot, being cast as Captain Marvel in a forthcoming comic-book blockbuster. Surprisingly however, she’s most excited to talk about a low-key throwback to the ’70s.

“Some of my favourite movies are from that period,” said the 27-year-old star, “so it was wonderful to try to represent that now.”

Speaking about her latest film, Free Fire, Larson continues: “It’s funny because that’s not a period of time that I lived in; I only know it through film. I’m going off of a reference point and putting it on this new reference point.”

Directed by British indie wunderkind Ben Wheatley (High-Rise), Free Fire casts Larson alongside an ensemble cast in a high-concept dark comedy about a broker attempting to bridge a big arms deal between IRA members and a hothead dealer (Sharlto Copley of District 9).

But when suspicions arise, the warehouse transaction erupts into the kind of violence that seems like, as one reviewer noted, “the last 90 seconds of Reservoir Dogs stretched out to fill 90 minutes.”

“There is the general concept of what it is on the surface and then there’s something beneath it. They’re really smart with what they’re doing,” said Larson of Wheatley and co-writer/wife Amy Jump’s oddball screenplay.

“Ben is incredible in that way because there is so much happening underneath that he doesn’t fully explain to you,” said Larson of Wheatley’s directing style. Larson draws comparisons to John Cassavettes explaining that like the late iconic indie auteur, Wheatley keeps his actors on a “need-to-know basis” when filming.

“If there was a scene where two characters were walking down the street and one was supposed to be in control of the situation and the other was unsure of what was going to happen, he’d give the pages to the actor who was supposed to be in control,” explains Larson.

“Ben really sets up the situation for that — it creates these situations where you’re running off on instinct and adrenalin.”

For Copley, that kind of instinctual acting was particularly thrilling. Not only did it allow him to improvise heavily, but it also added a layer of surprise when he finally watched the final product on-screen.

“He let me run wild with improv. When you have this level of cast to work with, everyone’s choosing an interesting decision,” said Copley.

“You’re not surprised by what happens in the movie. But the moments in the movie between the actors — there’s surprise. There’s all sorts of stuff that wasn’t in the script, that wasn’t on the page.”

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