'Deadfall' Stars Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde on the Film's Twisted Thanksgiving Reunion
When most people think of Thanksgiving, they probably imagine gathering together around the dining room table in a warm and cozy home with their loved ones for a festive meal.
But the upcoming thriller Deadfall serves up its own twisted version of a holiday family reunion.
The story follows two siblings (played by Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) who, after robbing a casino, are forced to split up in the freezing Michigan woods and make their way towards the Canadian border -- and unexpectedly end up finding each other at a family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
“Essentially the stakes are brought together around the family dinner so while it was [a] thriller, there was this sort of psycho family drama that I was really lured towards,” Bana told The Hollywood Reporter at the film's Los Angeles premiere on Thursday, Dec. 29, at Hollywood's Arclight Theatre.
In the thriller, which opens in theaters on Dec. 7, Bana's character Addison is reunited with his sister, Wilde's Liza, at the home of Liza's new love interest, Jay (Charlie Hunnam). Jay and his parents (played by Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson) are held hostage by Addison, and forced to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the whole convoluted "family."
And while the reunion is a suspenseful and strained one on film, it was the highlight of the shoot for Bana because he got to work with all the other actors in the film.
Bana said he was interested in "this notion that we would finally get together around the one table and all have a big scene together which, you know, you don’t always get."
He added: "You can quite often get into a movie with some great actors, but you don’t always get to work with them so it was a lot of fun for all of us to be together and doing it."
Director Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won the foreign film Oscar in 2008 for Austria's The Counterfeiters, told THR that it was the Thanksgiving dinner scene that allowed all the actors to have "their greatest moments."
“In a way, I think they were inspiring one another," he said. "If you’re doing a scene and you know these screen legends like Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson sitting with you on one table, I can imagine from an actor’s [view] that this could be inspiring. You definitely want to show your best.”
Kate Mara, who plays deputy Hanna in the thriller, added that the dinner table scene was also the most "intense" to film.
“We were shooting at this house which was very small and perfect, but it got very intense in there and we were there for a long time so it was difficult doing that, but I think it was a great scene," she said.
While her character deals with a father (Treat Williams) that doesn’t show her much respect for being part of the protective force agency, the Shooter actress revealed to THR that the complex relationship between the two characters was what enticed her to take part in the film.
“I thought the relationship between my character and Treat William’s character was something you don’t normally see," she said. "They work together. He’s her boss, but he’s also her father -- pretty abusive, verbally. And there’s a lot of vulnerability there, but I was playing a cop who has to have a lot of authority so that was interesting to me and you don’t come across that very often.”
As for Wilde’s role as Liza, she had to find a balance with her two relationships, as the timid sister to Bana’s character and a confident lover to ex-con Jay.
The Butter actress told THR, “It really shows what she’s had to deal with her brother Addison and the power he holds over her and he kind of keeps her in this arrested development as a child. Yet when she’s with Jay, this new man, he somehow allows her to be a woman and she really comes into her own when she’s with him so it was kind of an interesting process trying to figure out how she allowed herself to be with each man.”
Although the film’s female characters experience a sense of vulnerability from the men, Ruzowitzky thought otherwise.
“Well, I actually think this is a girl’s movie, in a way, because the women are a lot stronger than the men in the movie like the Kate Mara character -- where all her male chauvinist colleagues sort of perish, run away or another -- she’s the one that finally finds the killer," he said.
The director continued: "Sissy Spacek is in many ways much wiser and stronger than her husband Kris Kristoffersen. And finally, it’s Olivia Wilde who makes the strong decision and has the energy. Of course, the guys fight and kill one another, [so] it’s the women who have the energy and make the important decisions.”
Deadfall opens in theaters on Dec. 7.