Dragged Across Concrete
September 3, 2018
Vince Vaughn is back at the Venice Film Festival this year with a second-in-a-row starring role in a gritty crime thriller by Bone Tomahawk writer/director S. Craig Zahler. Today they will present Dragged Across Concrete out of competition. The film marks another reteam, this one with Mel Gibson who also stars and who previously directed Vaughn in 2016’s triumphant Hacksaw Ridge, which too made its debut on the Lido.
Dragged Across Concrete was well-received at its press screenings this morning and at an afternoon press conference. It pairs Vaughn and Gibson as cop partners who’ve put away enough criminals to fill two wings of a state penitentiary but don’t play enough politics to be rewarded on the job. When they’re suspended after video of an excessively forceful arrest turns up on the 7 o’clock news, they embark on a dangerous plan to secure their futures.
There are multiple storylines that converge with characters played by an ensemble that includes Michael Jai White, Tory Kittles, Udo Kier, Don Johnson, Laurie Holden and Jennifer Carpenter.
Zahler wanted Gibson for Concrete, and Vaughn encouraged him. Of the reteam, Vaughn said, “Mel is such a terrific filmmaker and Zahler has such a singular voice. He really sets out with a vision and doesn’t compromise on that, in an including wonderful way. With Mel being such a great filmmker, it was great to share the set with these guys.”
Racism is a theme in the film which includes some provocative discussion. Said Zahler, “I write to my taste, and in terms of reactions people will or may have aren’t really what I’m concerned with. I’m not chasing the biggest audience. I’m aware there are lines and moments in my films and books and future movies that will land poorly for some people or get people to hate me. That is your right. I have a right to do my own vision and hope it’s enough to get me to the next one.”
The $15M budget was bigger than any Zahler had worked with before. He joked it allowed him to “suffer,” but added, “It gave me more days so I could dig into the drama.”
Vaughn praised Gibson and Zahler as terrific filmmakers and said that having a history with them as an actor made his job much easier on set.
Vaughn admitted that he did have a small role in convincing Gibson to join the cast, who did not attend the press conference. “I had worked with Mel on Hacksaw [Ridge] and had overlapped doing Brawl [in Cell Block 99] with Zahler. He came and talked about this other movie, and Mel was the name that he recommended for the character of Ridgeman,” Vaughn recalled. “They sent it to Mel, and I mentioned it to him. Thankfully Mel really responded to it. He’s such a terrific filmmaker, and I think Zahler is such a terrific filmmaker."
Continued Vaughn: “He really sets out with a vision and a story and he doesn’t really compromise on that, in just the most inclusive way. He just knows what he wants to do. It was just really nice to share the set with those guys, and having a history with those guys makes the job a little easier.”
Liongate is releasing domestically.