'A Most Violent Year' Trailer: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain Chase the American Dream

J.C. Chandor's crime drama is set to open AFI Fest on Nov. 6

The first full-length trailer for J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year has debuted ahead of the film's world premiere at AFI Fest.  

Chandor, the Oscar-nominated writer-director responsible for Margin Call and All Is Lost, is particularly excited about one thing: a Los Angeles film premiere.    

“I have never had a film premiere in Los Angeles before,” Chandor tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I have sort of been in a little bit of denial.”

A Most Violent Year, a crime drama set against the backdrop of a cutthroat New York City in 1981, is set to open AFI Fest in Los Angeles on Nov. 6.

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The film, set in statistically one of the most dangerous years in NYC's history, follows the rise of an oil-heating business run by an immigrant and his wife.   

"A small business, run by a husband and wife that is trying to become something bigger, I just love that idea," says Chandor. "They are characters that are really trying to strive and grab their piece of the American dream."

The tenacious husband-and-wife duo are played by Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, but Chastain was first attached to the project playing opposite Javier Bardem. "Bardem and I had some issues creatively with the direction that I was taking the project," Chandor explained. 

When the director was at Cannes last year promoting All Is Lost, Chastain told him about a young actor who was also at the festival with the new Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. Chastain said she knew Isaac from her time at Juilliard.  

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"I think Jessica was a year or two ahead of Oscar, and they had not actually acted opposite each other but they had been in classes together,” explains Chandor. "That is the way the world works sometimes when you are casting — suddenly all of the answers come right before your eyes."

Much to Chandor's delight Isaac and Chastain had known each other for almost exactly as long as their characters would have known each other.  

"It was an amazing opportunity to have this chemistry of these two actors who have known each other as long as these characters that you are asking them to play," he says. "There was this sort of immediate intimacy there, which is very hard to fake and, luckily, they didn’t need to."  

Acting alongside Isaac and Chastain will be David OyelowoAlbert Brooks and Alessandro Nivola. 

Watch the first trailer for A Most Violent Year, which will hit theaters in the U.S. on Dec. 31, above.