This is the first time you have worked together; how did you both first meet?
Edgerton: “I met Joel on Skype. He was in the middle of shooting ‘Die Hard’ and he came across our radar and talked to us about getting involved. He was perfect for the role, but I wasn’t aware of him yet. I’d heard about him doing good things.”
Courtney: “Joel’s a lovely guy and I’ve always had an enormous amount of respect for him as an actor. I was very excited at the possibility of working with him just based on the script I read that he’d written. We just got on like a house on fire and we’ve become good mates since.”
Joel how did you prepare for the role of Malcolm Toohey?
Edgerton: “I spent a fair amount of time with certain detectives in Sydney where I’d set the movie, and we talked about the old guard vs. the new guard, these younger detectives coming up through the collegiate ranks and sticking to the rulebook. The older guys had matured into what they called more ‘flexible policing’ or ‘fluid policing.’ Not about corruption, but getting the job done in a way that sometimes the rules don’t allow you to. The end justifies the means.
Jai, you’re used to more physical roles in action flicks like Divergent and the upcoming Terminator Genesis, how different was it for you starring in a tense psychological thriller like Felony?
“It was refreshing. When you get a script that’s this well written the clues are all there, you have this wonderful blueprint. With the script Joel constructed it was attractive to me to go in and play this semi-naïve young cop who has a real clear sense of right and wrong. He has a very clear moral compass.
It was great to play something that was a lot more internalized. If I get to do stunts and drive cars and crash things and shoot things in other movies people assume that’s the fun stuff, and it can be. But for me as an actor that’s not where I’m most fulfilled, it’s when you can really explore the drama of something.”
Felony deals in many ways with the notion of guilt and how certain individuals deal with it. What is your personal take on the nature of guilt?
Edgerton – “I really believe guilt finds its way out of a person. Tom’s character kind of nails it when he says, ‘Prison is for pricks who don’t have their punishment here [points to head].’ Where does guilt and punishment lie, and are we not more expressive over remorse or guilt when other people see the badness in us?
Joel, some people may feel that you are suddenly exploding onto the scene but you have in fact been in the industry for 20 years now…
Edgerton – “It’s been kind of a slow stepping stone thing for me over the years, which has been great. ‘Gatsby’ was a big thing for me, but I was just one of the components of that machine. Doing Ridley’s movie [Exodus: Gods and Kings] was like another step up altogether. I’ve been gagging to work with for f*cking years. Ten years ago he made ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and I was in ‘King Arthur’ over in Ireland, and I sent him an audition tape. I remember hearing a rumor that there was a photo of me on his wall in the production office and that he was maybe thinking of putting me in the mix somewhere. To have him call me up ten years later and ask me to take a major part in his movie was really awesome.
I’d be lying to say that I haven’t cast myself in that [movie star] role through my life. I always wanted the challenges of it.”
Felony is released in the UK on Monday 27th October On Demand & Digitally