December 03, 2013
From Scott Cooper (H-SC '92), the critically-acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and gritty drama, Out of the Furnace, about family, fate, circumstance, and justice. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has a rough life: he works a dead-end blue collar job at the local steel mill by day, and cares for his terminally ill father by night. When Russell's brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from serving time in Iraq, he gets lured into one of the most ruthless crime rings in the Northeast and mysteriously disappears. The police fail to crack the case, so, with nothing left to lose, Russell takes matters into his own hands, putting his life on the line to seek justice for his brother. The impressive cast of Christian Bale and Casey Affleck are rounded out by Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe.
In an interview with "Engage H-SC," Scott said, "My upbringing has really influenced both of my films. They’re both very personal. With Crazy Heart, I grew up a longtime lover of bluegrass and traditional country music, everybody from Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley to Townes Van Zandt and Waylon Jennings. Coming from a small yet strongly bonded community in Southwest Virginia helped influence Out of the Furnace, which is a searing portrait of family life and crime in the Appalachian Mountain chain."
Scott goes on to say, "At Hampden-Sydney I felt the strong bonds of community, and I felt really free to explore my creativity. It was the great center of my learning that helped to influence everything else going forward. The professors really care about communication with students, and as a director fortunate to work with actors of the highest caliber, it’s important that I have clear and precise ways to communicate. A lot of the skills I learned in the Rhetoric Program, I find myself using today, and I couldn’t be more thankful."
In theatres December 6.