Cannes 2012: ‘Lawless’ preview

Those of you who have been kept awake at night wondering what had happened to John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s historical novel The Wettest County in the World can finally rest easy, as the film – renamed Lawless (2012) – will receive its World Premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This recent name change has been the cause of more than a little confusion, with Lawless also previously the title of an upcoming Terrence Malick film starring Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling. However, after some legal wrangling from the producing Weinstein Company, Malick’s picture looks set to undergo a name change

Centred around the highly illegal production and distribution of moonshine in Franklin County during and in the years following Prohibition, Lawless tells the tale of bootlegging Bondurant brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy), Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke), whose business is under threat in a town where 99% of the population are essentially involved in the illicit liquor trade.

Whilst featuring an enviable cast of actors including the likes of Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska and Gary Oldman, Hillcoat has also once again teamed up with his friend and former collaborator Nick Cave, who previously wrote the screenplays for his first picture Ghosts… of the Civil Dead (1988) and the critically-acclaimed Australian western The Proposition (2005). With this kind of acting talent on board and Cave back on writing duty, expectations are high that Lawless can make an impression in competition before hitting cinemas in August.

This will be British actor Hardy’s first outing since breaking the Bat as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and with both Chastain and Pearce rumoured for Iron Man 3 (2013), almost everyone involved is currently hot property. The exception to the rule is arguably the much-maligned LaBeouf, who is seemingly beloved by directors but often struggles to garner the same level of admiration from audiences. LaBeouf could certainly do with a career best performance and if he strikes gold in Lawless, perhaps those painful memories of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008) may just begin to fade.

Lawless is due to be released in UK cinemas on 31 August.

The 65th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 16-27 May, 2012. For more of our Cannes 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.

Lee Cassanell