Martin McDonagh Discusses the Fire Behind ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

Martin McDonagh

These days, it’s easy to be angry. Look around you and you’ll see an injustice that will get your blood boiling as you feel helpless because the mechanisms in place to facilitate change have been clogged by special interests invested in preserving the status quo. One film this year channels that anger, and that’s Martin McDongah’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a fiery mix of gallows humor and tragic drama led by a magnificent performance by France McDormand. Recently, I got to sit down and talk with Martin McDonagh about the rage that fuels the film’s lead character and how to find optimism and hope amidst the darkness.

“I saw something similar to what we see on the billboards on a bus trip through the states and it passed me by for a second and stayed in my mind,” the writer-director said of the inspiration for Three Billboards. “The idea of what kind of pain or rage or bravery would cause a person to put of up some kind of signage like that, because it was similarly calling out the cops about a crime. I wanted to write something for a female lead, a strong female lead, for a while; I’d done that in plays but I hadn’t done that in the film’s that I’d made. So once I coupled those two ideas together, once I made that person a mother, it felt like Mildred kind of sprang fully formed onto the page.”

McDonagh wrote the role of Mildred Hayes specifically for Frances McDormand, and the Oscar-winning actress delivers her best performance since Fargo. “Yeah, only choice,” McDonagh said of casting McDormand. “People love her and it’s been 20 years since Fargo. She’s always been good. She says herself she doesn’t get lead roles. Most women don’t get good material. What’s kind of refreshing about both writing this and how people are reacting to it is the joy of having someone so strong, so take no prisoners, so give no shits, just writing it was like, ‘What’s she going to do next? Jesus.’ I think that’s how you feel watching it, too. ‘Shit. There’s a dentist. He’s not going to come out of this well.’ Or the priest. I think the biggest surprise is people loving her so much as an actress and kind of really getting behind the character who you know is not all going to be good.”

Frances McDormand wasn’t the only cast member that McDonagh had in mind when writing Three Billboards. “I wrote this part for Sam [Rockwell] and I wrote the part in Seven Psychopaths for Sam,” McDonagh said of his second collaboration with Rockwell.

“I think I will write for Woody [Harrelson] from now on, because he grabbed me and told me I had to. They’re both a couple of the best actors of their generation, same with Fran,” he continued. “I wrote this for Fran and Sam, and somehow, particularly with Sam’s character, it kind of helps because he’s so good at playing the darker kind of characters. There’s something human and kind of lovable about him as a person through most of his work it allowed me to come up with someone who is a racist and brute and a violent man and still be able to see some kind of goodness deep down. So that helped with the writing and I knew that he wouldn’t need much help convey that in the playing of the film.”

Mildred Hayes takes on a number of people and institutions over the course of her prolonged battle fueled by the rage of the unsolved murder of her daughter. However, McDonagh wants to make it clear that the character isn’t entirely a cipher for his own beliefs.

“It wasn’t that I was commenting on all those people, but she’s going to war with every kind of strand of government or of people who rule us or are above us. So that was part of it. She even says something against the firefighters later on, which is kind of ridiculous. She’s against everybody. There’s something joyful about that,” McDonagh said. “At the same time, I don’t think the tone of the film is anti-, well it probably is anti-priest, but dentist, no, you see that it’s not a great idea to drill a hole in dentists. I don’t think the cops come out of it terribly badly. Woody’s character is a loving, decent man. Sam’s character changes. I think Mildred’s perspective isn’t the film’s perspective. I’m not really against all those institutions but I do think it’s funny to poke holes in them literally and metaphorically.”

But McDonagh does allow his views on the Catholic Church to be expressed by his leading lady. “I’m on her side about that being directed at the Catholic Church, yeah. Generally in terms of gangs or groups, it depends on the specifics of the group and what we’re talking about,” he said. “Yeah, I don’t have much time for Catholic priests or the Church, so they’re going to have to take it on the chin.”

Three Billboards does take on the topic of racism in policing in a manner truly unexpected in modern filmmaking. “I think it’s much more pointed over here,” he said when asked on the topic. “I live in England. We don’t have guns there and the cops don’t have guns there, so whatever issue we have in the police force the result isn’t instant death to the people on the end of it. It’s obviously not as pointed back there. That’s not to say those issues aren’t going on under the surface back there but it’s just not as to the forefront as it is here.”

A line on the topic of racist police officers echoes a similar line in War on Everyone, the film from earlier this year from Martin McDonagh’s brother John Michael McDonagh. “I’m going to say I had it first,” he said with a smile when asked on the similarities between the two lines. “I wrote this eight years ago so I’m going to say he copied me. We never read each other’s scripts. We never really know what’s going on between each other, but still it was me first.” He paused and reflected for a second before uttering, “Now it’s going to look like I did rip him off.”

While he’s an acclaimed playwright, don’t expect to ever seen one of McDonagh’s plays anywhere but the stage. “No, no, no. I don’t believe in that at all,” he said about ever adapting one of his plays for the screen. “I think people do that it’s usually just for money. I think that takes away from the artistry of what a play is supposed to be. As much as I’ve slagged off plays in the past, I think if you do care about them that should be the only place where you can go see them. Because if you have that in mind, you’ll make sure that play is the best possible experience you can have. It shouldn’t be a blueprint for a film later down the line. Just like when someone’s painting a painting, Van Gogh didn’t think, ‘This is really good. I might make a movie about it.’ You should have that attitude towards your art form. So, no, they’ll never get made.”

In the recent comedy show Oh, Hello, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll snuck in a joke about McDonagh’s play The Pillowman. “I was told about that but I didn’t catch it,” he said. “I met Nick like six weeks before he wrote that joke. He seemed like a really funny guy. I gotta watch that.”

What does the future hold for Martin McDonagh aside from the possibility of carrying home Oscar gold? “I wrote a play this year that’ll be on in London next year. A play from a couple years ago will be on in New York in January and February,” he said of his future plans. “And I’m just kind of tinkering around with two or three script ideas. I’ve got one that’s sort of ready to go but I don’t want to follow this anything that’s not in the same sort of ballpark or not as good because I think I kind of did that last time.”

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Invincible
Amazon Studios Greenlights Invincible from The Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman

Amazon Studios greenlights Invincible, from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman,...

The Catcher Was a Spy
‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ Turns an Amazing True Story Into a Mediocre Movie

Being a baseball fan means that you’re keenly aware of the...

Unsane
Is She or Isn’t She? Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Unsane’ Arrives on Blu-ray

All film lovers should be grateful that Steven Soderbergh’s self-imposed retirement...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
LGBTQ Video Game Archives
Temple Professor Helps Launch First Exhibit of LGBTQ Video Game Archives

Temple University’s Dr. Adrienne Shaw is serving as a curator in her role...

Talking Tom Jetski2
Take a Virtual Beach Break with Talking Tom Jetski 2

Outfit7 celebrates 8 billion downloads of its mobile games with the...

PowerA Xbox One
Up Your Game with New Enhanced PowerA Xbox One Controllers

Up your game and get ready for the upcoming Xbox Exclusive...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Wrestling Writer Legends Bill Apter & Gary Morgenstein Announce, ‘The Last Wrestler’

To names that are synonymous with professional wrestling journalism and well...

thousand year beach
The Thousand Year Beach – Viz Media Debuts Acclaimed Sci-Fi Novel

“The Thousand Year Beach presents an idyllic virtual world, still running...

Action Comics No. 1000 gets a Super-Sized Deluxe Edition Release

From DC Comics – Burbank, CA – (April 30, 2018) –...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Solo Lightweight Backpacks
Solo Lightweight Backpacks for the Late Summer Heat

Beat the heat with the new line of Solo lightweight backpacks: Peak,...

Out Of Space on Your Xbox One? Fantom Drives Has Your Back

Fantom Drives will ensure you have enough space on your Xbox...

New Toast Covers
A Toast to New Toast Covers, Now Covering More Than Tech

Raise your glasses for a toast to New Toast Covers for the...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Jeanie Buss & MGM TV Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women of Wrestling Events

Jeanie Buss and MGM Television Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women...

Kevin Belington Faces Martin Nguyen for the ONE FC Interim Bantamweight Title

From ONE FC – 07 June 2018 – Manila, Philippines: The...

Showtime to Air ‘Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller’ Mauro Ranallo Doc on May 25th

From Bellator MMA and Showtime – New York – April 30,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Cultural Junkdrawer – Season’s end: The Flash season 4

CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER   SEASON’S END     THE FLASH Season 4...

Adult Continuity Issue #13 – Avengers XXX – A porn parody

I review AvengersXXX and make masturbation jokes. Be smart with your Fapdollar(tm);...

Comics on the can – Black Panther (Priest run) Issue #46

Comics on the can muses about Black Panther during Priest's legendary...

Event News Event Reviews
Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience
AT&T Audience Network Bringing Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience to SDCC

AT&T AUDIENCE Network to Bring ‘Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience’ and Show...

Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018
Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018 Lineup Has Big Brands and Big Names

Shout! Factory Anime Expo 2018 lineup includes interactive fan activities, exciting...

Flavors of Youth
Netflix Premiering New Original Anime Flavors of Youth at AX2018

Netflix will host the world premiere screening of their new anime...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: