Released in September 2018, Les Frères Sisters is Jacques Audiard’s first American film. This twilight western is the adaptation of the homonymous novel by Patrick DeWitt published in 2011. It is John C. Reilly, holder of the rights to the book with his wife producer Alison Dickey, who introduced it to the French director in 2012, during the 37th Toronto International Film Festival where De rouille et d’os is presented.
Jacques Audiard quickly expresses his interest in reading this story centered on two outlaw brothers, Charlie and Elie Sisters, who move in a wild world. The latter have no qualms to kill. Charlie, the youngest, was born for this, while Elijah aspires to a normal life. This pitch offers the filmmaker the opportunity to once again highlight his actors as he has done so well in the past with Vincent Cassel in On my lips (2001), Romain Duris in De beating my heart has stopped (2005), Tahar Rahim in Un prophète (2009) or Matthias Schoenaerts in Rust and bone.
With The Sisters Brothers, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed will therefore be able to deploy the full extent of their talent. It is also the opportunity to work with such actors, able to offer “a kind of immediate incarnation “, which will definitely grow Jacques Audiard at try this American adventure. And this despite its initial reluctance to export to a country where “the organization of the profession” and the “shooting conditions” are much more restrictive than in France.
Recalling the performance of these actors, he confides: “We don’t ask ourselves any questions, they stand up physically and occupy the image in a different way. That is the viewer’s observation: faces do not appear in the same way, bodies do not appear in the same way. not the same height, the voices the same depth etc. Then when you work with them, well, you understand why: it’s a job. Work. They never stop. “
A PHONETIC SCRIPT
A true example of this American-style professionalism: the preparation of Jake Gyllenhaal before the shoot. We remember his weight loss to star in Jarhead and Night Call as well as the intensive training he put on for the needs of the boxing movie The Rage in the Belly. Well, the French director will also experience this Actors Studio-style perfectionism.
In the film, Jake Gyllenhaal is supposed to play a seasoned detective trained in the first universities of the East Coast in the 19th century. To do this, he did not fail to learn beforehand about the period depicted by this western. Anxious to express himself as his character, he will go as far as working for a month with a linguist and based on a script in phonetics.
“All he needed was the costume”remembers Jacques Audiard, very impressed by this sense of detail. “It was the first time I had experienced this. They come with the character’s gait, they have determined how he sits, how he behaves in society, whether or not he looks at those to whom he is speaking. For decades, they have developed this profession of ‘cinema’ actor. They know where the camera is, what the lens is, how we will see them, whether they are in the frame or not, what detail of their expression will be captured. “
The Sisters Brothers will finally see its filming take place in Spain and Romania and not in North America. And like any good self-respecting Jacques Audiard film, it will be crowned with four Césars in 2019: Best Director, Best Sound, Best Photography and Best Set.