David, Jeff, Kristy and Alan Scherstuhl discuss writer-director Bart Layton’s latest film American Animals starring Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Ann Dowd and Barry Keoghan. Make sure to check out Alan’s review of American Animals at Village Voice as well as Kristy’s review at Riot Material. Lastly, David and Jeff conclude this episode with an ‘After Dark’ segment discussing the fallout of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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American Animals poster

On the June 1, 2018 episode of /Film Daily, /Film senior writer Ben Pearson presents an interview with Bart Layton, the writer/director of a new heist movie called American Animals that’s based on a wild true story.

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American Animals Bart Layton interview

American Animals, the new heist movie from The Orchard, spends a lot of its runtime on the fun aspects of planning a heist: costumes, the getaway car, and generally getting sucked into the idea that these amateur thieves might actually be able to pull it off. But then it delivers a harsh dose of reality, providing a narrative whiplash that makes you stop and reconsider everything you’ve seen up until that point.

What really sets this film apart from its contemporaries, though, is the fact that while they’re played by a bunch of up-and-coming Hollywood actors, we also get to watch the actual thieves themselves in interviews in which they reckon with their actions. It’s a fascinating piece of storytelling, and though it’s based on a true story, the film is the brainchild of writer/director Bart Layton, who directed the compelling 2012 documentary The Imposter. I spoke with Layton about navigating that tricky tonal shift, bridging the gap between documentary and traditional filmmaking, his characters’ sense of entitlement, the fluidity of memory, and more.

Read our full Bart Layton American Animals interview below. Read More »

American Animals review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival. American Animals is in select theaters today.)

Heist movies are all about setting up the illusion of clockwork precision, but every good heist film features at least one scene where the job goes horribly wrong – and the great ones often dive into the bitter consequences of crossing the line.

In that tradition comes American Animals, a compelling new heist drama from writer/director Bart Layton, the filmmaker behind the impressive 2012 documentary The Imposter. Here he conducts an interesting harmony between fiction and non-fiction, intercutting dramatic scenes featuring his primary cast (Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner) with actual interviews of the real-life thieves they’re playing. The result is a mesmerizing blend of narrative and documentary storytelling that would seem too far-fetched to believe if it was just another run-of-the-mill thriller. Read More »

american animals featurette

American Animals tells the true story of one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. When it came time to make the film, director Bart Layton decided to tackle the real story head-on by involving the actual people involved. A new American Animals featurette examines the real individuals and the true story behind the movie.

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American Animals poster

Today we’re debuting an exclusive poster for American Animals, an upcoming movie that tells the amazing true story of one of the most audacious art heists in American history. Check out this slick new American Animals poster below. Read More »

American Animals trailer

After seeing Bart Layton‘s 2012 documentary The Imposter, we were excited to learn what he would be directing next. We had to wait a few years to find out, but it was worth the wait: he’s back with American Animals, a mesmerizing heist film based on the true story of one of the boldest heists in American history. The first American Animals trailer has arrived, and this is one heck of a well-crafted trailer. Check it out below. Read More »

If one of your family members disappeared for almost four years and then came back into your life, would you recognize them? How could you be sure this person, who you once thought you knew so well, was actually who they said they were? You’re probably thinking that you’d just know the person, no questions asked. Bart Layton‘s fascinating documentary The Imposter, however, suggests that might not always be the case.

Nicholas Barclay disappeared at the age of 13. Years later, his family got a call saying that he’d been found in Spain. His sister flew out to see him, and brought him home. All was right with the world. Except for one thing: the person they thought was Nicholas wasn’t Nicholas. It was a Frenchman named Frédéric Bourdin.

The Imposter, which received rave reviews at Sundance and South by Southwest, opens in New York July 13 before expanding to other cities throughout August. We’re lucky enough to have an exclusive clip. In it, you’ll see one of the dozens of incredible feats Bourdin had to overcome to convince the Barclay family he was, in fact, Nicholas. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Year after year, documentaries prove that as the old saying goes, the truth really is wilder than fiction. This year’s Sundance hit The Imposter tells the tale of a Texas family whose 13-year-old child disappeared in 1994. Three years later, their son was found in Spain, telling tales of kidnapping and torture. The family rejoiced at having their son back, but the happiness lasted only a few months before the truth came out: the boy who’d come home wasn’t actually missing child Nicholas Barclay, but a 23-year-old Frenchman and serial imposter named Frédéric Bourdin. Directed by Bart Layton, the documentary uses recreations, home movie footage, and interviews with Bourdin, the family, and others involved to piece together the crazy story. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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