Exclusive: Matt Shakman talks “Cut Bank” & “Heroes Reborn”

Cut Bank - A24 Films
“There’s a mystery to film, there’s a beauty to film, obviously, that I think is very hard to recreate in the digital world,” says Matt Shakman, director of the first rate, small town film noir/Western Cut Bank.

Liam Hemsworth & John Malkovich in "Cut Bank" (A24 Films)
Liam Hemsworth & John Malkovich in “Cut Bank” (A24 Films)

Although it’s inspired by the thematically rich and character driven thrillers of the 1970s, Cut Bank carves out its own unique territory thanks to slam-bang screenplay and terrific ensemble work. The storyline centers on Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth), an opportunistic (yet weak-willed) youth who engineers a fake crime (Bruce Dern is one of the accomplices) that will hopefully land him a huge payday (and a ticket out of Cut Bank, Montana).

Teresa Palmer co-stars as Dwayne’s starry-eyed girlfriend Cassandra, with Billy Bob Thornton checking in as her understandably concerned dad. John Malkovich delivers an understated (yet ultimately powerful) performance as Cut Bank’s sheriff, a terse loner who defines the term “grace under pressure.”

During my chat with Matt Shakman, he talked about his initial forays into the filmmaking business and elaborated on the joys and challenges of getting Cut Bank off the ground. Shakman also discussed his involvement with the highly anticipated NBC event series Heroes Reborn, which premieres this fall.

Below is my full interview with Matt Shakman, with a breakdown of the interview below the Soundcloud clip.

:19 – Shakman talks about the decision to shoot “Cut Bank” on film and what it added to the overall narrative.
2:38 – The theme of “Cut Bank,” plus the advantages of having stellar actors such as John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Stuhlbarg anchoring the film.
4:35 – Matt Shakman on the intentionally methodical pacing and widescreen visual look of “Cut Bank” (he describes his film as a throwback to a 1970s thriller).
5:46 – The challenges of mounting an Independent Film.
7:26 – More on developing the visual language for “Cut Bank” (he talks about shooting in Alberta, blocking his scenes, lighting, etc.).
9:13 – On how he got his start in the Film & TV field. (Film is his first love, even though he’s loving the narrative expansiveness of the TV medium).10:17 – He talks about doing Heroes Reborn and gives a sneak peek about what to expect. (“We’re doing something new and interesting”)
11:05 – On his love for Sergio Leone movies and Westerns.

Cut Bank is playing in select theaters. For more info, please go to: http://cutbank-movie.com/#/theaters