Oliver Stone is the passionate filmmaker behind classics such as Natural Born Killers, JFK, Platoon and Wall Street.
Renowned for the quality of his serious (often satirical) dramas, Stone has taken a detour of sorts with his latest effort, Savages.
A romping, all-action film reeling with blood, guts and guns, Savages tells the tale of a pair of drug dealers, played by Kick Ass‘ Aaron Johnson and Friday Night Lights bad boy, Taylor Kitsch.
The two marijuana merchants produce some of the finest weed ever smoked only to get embroiled in a bitter and dangerous standoff with a murderous Mexican cartel headed by the domineering Salma Hayek and brooding Benicio del Toro.
More concerned with the frills and thrills of typical high-octane action movie fare, Savages still deals with much of Stone’s favourite subjects, including corruption, the law and drugs.
During an interview with Vulture, Stone broached the subjects of his new film, directing, the “slavery” of the prison industry and marijuana legislation.
Condemning the American prison system, the Nixon director said:
“There are ten times more blacks than whites in jail for drugs. It’s the new Jim Crow. On top of that, you’ve got all these fucking prisoners in this prison system, prisons run both publicly and privately, for profit.”
Explaining the casting process for Savages, Stone revealed:
“I didn’t know any of them personally when I started. Aaron was the first to get cast, in London. I liked him in Kick-Ass. I offered him either lead male role. I’d bought the book, but the script hadn’t been written. He committed to me, and he turned down two or three big films to be in this during the six-month interim that it took to get him a script. He stayed loyal to me, and I stayed loyal to him. There were a couple of points where I was tempted to cast somebody else because some bigger bait expressed an interest, but I felt like Aaron was the right guy, so I didn’t waver.
“The moment I found Taylor, he’d just come off of Friday Night Lights and Battleship. To play Chon, I needed a foil for the character of Ben, somebody who was stronger than Ben and could back him up. Aaron and Taylor are both great-looking guys. They look sexy onscreen together. Kind of a Newman-Redford, Butch and Sundance thing. Aaron as the talker, the brains of the operation, Taylor as the quiet killer.”
Savages hits UK theatres on 28 September.