Joel Edgerton on the edge

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN directed by Peter Hedges, written by Hedges from a story by Ahmet Zappa, with Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams and Dianne Wiest. A Disney release. 104 minutes. Now playing. For venues and times, see Movies.

You’re going to want to get used to Joel Edgerton.

Having built a solid resumé of character work over the last few years – including The Waiting City, Animal Kingdom, Warrior and last year’s prequel to The Thing – he’s set to break big with key roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s secret bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

On screens now, though, he’s co-starring with Jennifer Garner in The Odd Life Of Timothy Green, which has brought him and writer-director Peter Hedges to Toronto for a press day. And while Edgerton’s star status may not be as high as Garner’s just yet, Hedges thinks that’s only a matter of time.

“A year or two from now he’s gonna be one of those first actors everybody thinks about,” says Hedges. “I basically went to Disney and said, ‘Look, we can perpetuate a star or we can help make one.’ And they got it.”

In a separate interview, Edgerton – a convivial, huge-handed Australian who still divides his time between American projects and work down under – says he’s not terribly worried about the whole star thing. He just wants to make movies he cares about.

“It means sometimes choosing not to do the bigger productions,” he acknowledges. “I know that fewer people saw Warrior than might have seen other big movies, but one person telling me it really deeply affected them is better than a hundred people just patting me on the back cuz I’m a celebrity.”

Edgerton says he’s drawn to movies like Timothy Green – “movies with an emotional core, that shed light on something, that spark conversation in the foyer afterwards” – for their complexity. “I don’t care to make movies just for the sake of entertainment, although I’m not averse to it.”

Having wrapped those highly anticipated Bigelow and Luhrmann projects, Edgerton is heading back to Australia later this year to make something for himself, a film he’s written called Felony. It’s his second produced script, following 2008’s The Square.

“I’m writing a ton of stuff,” he says. “Some of it’s for other people. Some of it’s to cast myself in the kind of roles I want rather than wait for them to come my way randomly. It keeps me busy, and acting doesn’t always keep you busy. And I get to tell my own stories, which is cool.”

Interview Clips

Joel Edgerton on mixing whimsy and emotion on film:

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Edgerton on developing his character with writer-director Peter Hedges:

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Edgerton on the value of a practical, well-built set:

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Edgerton on his and Hedges’ shared obsession with family:

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