Updated: Jul 22, 2019
LIAM NEESON (Nels Coxman), TOM BATEMAN (Trevor “Viking” Calcote), LAURA DERN (Grace Coxman), TOM JACKSON (White Bull), EMMY ROSSUM (Kim Dash),JULIA JONES (Aya), JOHN DOMAN (John “Gip” Gipsky), MICHEÁL RICHARDSON (Kyle Coxman), GLEN GOULD (War Dog), and RAOUL TRUJILLO (Thorpe).
Welcome to Kehoe, it’s -10 degrees and counting at this glitzy ski resort in the Rocky Mountains. The local police aren’t used to much action until the son of unassuming town snowplow driver, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson), is murdered at the order of Viking (Tom Bateman), a flamboyant drug lord. Fueled by rage and armed with heavy machinery, Nels sets out to dismantle the cartel one man at a time, but his understanding of murder comes mainly from what he read in a crime novel. As the bodies pile up, his actions ignite a turf war between Viking and his long-standing rival White Bull (Tom Jackson), a soulful Native American mafia boss, that will quickly escalate and turn the small town’s bright white slopes blood-red.
Director Hans Petter Mol and and Liam Neeson team up for a dramatic thriller that mixes icy revenge and dark humor
“It’s a whirlwind of vengeance, violence and dark humor.” - Liam Neeson
“A whole can of worms.” That’s how Liam Neeson describes what his character opens in Hans Petter Moland’s blisteringly violent and bitingly hilarious COLD PURSUIT. “My character goes out on a path of vengeance, but doesn’t realize what he’s getting himself into,” says Neeson. “He thinks he’s going after one guy who killed his son. In actual fact, it all escalates into a whirlwind of vengeance and violence. And it all has this grain of dark humor running through it, if you can imagine that!” This twisted revenge story swirls around Neeson’s Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver in the Colorado ski resort of Kehoe. Just named Citizen of the Year for his services in keeping the roads open to the remote town, Coxman’s life swiftly spirals into amateur retribution and an escalating pile of corpses when his son (played by Micheál Richardson) is mistakenly killed by local gangsters over a stash of missing drugs. All he knows about killing people is what he read in a crime novel, but Coxman sets off with a sawn-off hunting rifle, and unwittingly begins a chain of events that will include a snowbound turf war, kidnapping, two rival crime lords and a host of hoodlums with colorful nicknames like Maverick, Mustang, and Smoke.
Comparisons to classic Coen brothers movies – Fargo, in particular – greeted Hans Petter Moland’s original Norwegian film, In Order Of Disappearance, when it came out to rave reviews, stunning global box office and starring Stellan Skarsgard in the lead in 2014. Other fans drew parallels to the depth and wit of dialogue of early Quentin Tarantino. But while Moland is “obviously delighted” to have his work placed in those two ballparks, for him, he has his own unique style with his inspiration going back further to a classic Hollywood great. “I grew up loving Billy Wilder movies,” says the director. “I loved their darkness and their gallows humor, that great balance between the two. So when I was offered the chance to remake In ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE, this time in English [as opposed to his native Norwegian of the original], I took it.”
It’s also a story about multiple other twistedly complex characters, not least the two other fathers that Nels’ journey will slam him into. The first is Viking, the psychotic local drug lord played delightfully
unhinged by Tom Bateman. The second is White Bull, played by Canada’s legendary actor and folk singer Tom Jackson, who brings a soulful gravitas to his rival gang leader, who runs his gang of tough Native Americans – who are as deadpan as they are deadly – with a dignity that will be tested to its very limits. “These are all bad guys. There are no good guys in this movie. So you have to start there, and then decipher, ‘Well, how bad is that guy?’” says Jackson of a conflict that will end with gallons of blood spilled across bright white snow. “Remember THE WILD BUNCH? Remember those movies? I think this is one of those. It’s as entertaining as any other movie I’ve been in.” For his remake, Moland brought along much of his key original crew, but also enlisted a new screenwriter, Frank Baldwin, and a supporting cast including Laura Dern, as Coxman’s wife Grace, Emmy Rossum, as smart small-town cop Kim, and Julia Jones, as the long-suffering wife of Tom Bateman’s ridiculously unhinged cartel chief, Viking. “In the movie, the female characters are the ones who are smart enough to distance themselves from the actions of the men, or their stupidity” laughs Moland. “The men in the movie are domineering, self-important and oblivious to the humor. They are deadly serious. Or dead.”
Baldwin’s screenplay has particular fun with its cast of richly drawn, bickering bad guys – “The stakes are deadly,” says the screenwriter, “but the men are massively self-important, and that’s where the humor comes from” – but Moland’s original inspiration was a serious one. “The original idea came from me thinking, ‘If my son died in this way, would I just sit back and accept that happened? Or would I do something about it? And would it just lead to an endless escalation of violence?’ It’s kind of a heavy theme, well suited for a dark comedy,” Moland says. “There was a desire to not be restrained by genre, to allow different genres to happily live next to each other, to be genuinely horrifying and tragic, but also worth laughing at – like life is.”
The result is something genuinely unique, a movie with incredible action, shot through with an undercurrent of knowing humor and played out by one of the most brilliantly drawn, sprawling supporting casts in recent memory.
“And that’s why this remake had to have Hans Petter directing it,” says Shamberg. “That tone is such a fine balance that I think only he could do it. This isn’t your typical revenge movie. It’s a movie about the futility of vengeance. It’s an anti-violence, violent film. Which is a little bit of an oxymoron, because you get to have your cake, and eat it too!”
In a story filled with complexity, the inclusion of Native American characters was essential— even as COLD PURSUIT puts absolutely everybody in the cross-hairs
“I liked the idea that those who some view as ‘strangers’ are, in fact, on their own land.” — Hans Petter Moland
Liam Neeson stars as (Nels Coxman)
Liam Neeson is an internationally recognized actor. He has appeared in over 70 films, including SCHINDLER’S LIST, MICHAEL COLLINS, THE GREY, KINSEY, the blockbuster TAKEN trilogy, STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 THE PHANTOM MENACE, BATMAN BEGINS, LOVE ACTUALLY and GANGS OF NEW YORK. Over the course of his career, Neeson’s films have grossed over $7 billion worldwide. He a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a proud father of two sons.
(Grace) Laura Dern has received two Academy Award nominations, four Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award in addition to six nominations proving herself to be a power woman in entertainment. In addition, out of appreciation and respect for the extraordinary gift the Dern family has brought to the big and small screen, The Hollywood Entertainment Museum honored Bruce, Diane and Laura with the Hollywood Legacy Award. In 2016, she was also selected to serve on The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors. Dern recently wrapped production on the second season of “Big Little Lies,” and is currently working on Greta Gerwig’s production of “Little Women.” for Sony. It was recently announced that Dern will star in and produce “The Dolls,” a limited series for HBO, alongside Issa Rae. Upcoming, Dern will star opposite Allison Janney in Tate Taylor’s comedy “Breaking News in Yuba County.” In 2018, Dern completed “JT LeRoy” and Ed Zwick’s “Trial by Fire.” Additional film credits include the upcoming "Cold Pursuit", Star Wars: Episode VIII”“Wilson” “The Founder,”“Certain Woman,” “Wild” for which she earned her second Academy Award nomination for. “99 Homes,” “The Fault in our Stars.” , "The Master" “Everything Must Go” “Little Fockers,” “Year of the Dog” "Inland Empire.” Lonely Hearts,” "Happy Endings," “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” “I Am Sam,” “Novocaine,” “Focus” ,"Citizen Ruth," "Jurassic Park," "A Perfect World," I "Rambling Rose," (Academy Award Nomination) "Smooth Talk" and “Mask.” "Blue Velvet" "Wild at Heart," w “Dr. T and the Women,” “October Sky,” "Mask," "Fat Man and Little Boy," "Haunted Summer," "Teachers," “Foxes” and "Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains."
On the small screen, she was most recently seen starring in HBO’s “The Tale,” which earned Dern a Golden Globe nomination and her seventh Emmy nomination, and on “Big Little Lies” which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe award for her role as Renata. Additional television credits include: “Enlightened.” , “Recount.” , “Damaged Care”, “Within These Walls,” "Daddy andThem" In 1997 Dern was nominated for an Emmy Award and won an American Comedy Award for her guest-starring role in the controversial Puppy Episode of the ABC comedy, "Ellen."; "The Baby Dance," "Afterburn." “Fallen Angels, Down Came a Blackbird".
In addition to her extensive film and television credits, Dern has been prolific in her producing career. In 2017 she established Jaywalker Pictures, a Los Angeles-based production company founded with partner Jayme Lemons with emphasis on great storytelling in film and television. They have a first look TV Deal with Platform One Media which they have an hour long series “Mr. and Mrs American Pie” in development. Among the projects in development are the films “Candy & Mel,” which they are producing alongside Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger. “Candy & Mel” is based on the true story of an outrageous and sensational murder trial that gripped the nation. “The Dog of the South,” written by Graham Gordy and Jay Jennings, based on the novel by Charles Portis; and a half hour comedy from writers Arabella Anderson and Wendy West, based on Anderson’s life growing up homeless, producing alongside Sarah Condon and Alon Aranya. Jaywalker Pictures is represented by CAA.
Laura Dern Q and A
How did you find working with Liam?
“He’s a nightmare. It’s not easy, but somebody’s got to do it. Somebody’s got to sit there and kiss Liam Neeson. I said, ‘Really? If I must, I’ll show up.’ It’s like the greatest thing in the world. I adore him as a human, and he’s the greatest storyteller. And he makes me laugh so hard that we barely got through our last scene. We started telling each other stories, then we just kept the stories going and kind of in turn got them into the scene somehow. I was laughing out loud, and it wasn’t supposed to be funny! I had the best time with him.”
Michael Eklund and Liam Neeson
Was he the draw for you, or the script?
“Well, first and foremost, I’ve always wanted to work with Liam Neeson, who’s a dear friend, and the gift of us working together came to me via text, with Liam seeing if it could work out if that we could be together on this. I was thrilled because I have dreamt of that for many, many years. And he introduced me, really, to Hans Petter [Moland]. Before, I just knew his work a little bit, and have a great kinship toward it because I’m of Norwegian descent, my grandmother’s family. So I’ve always dreamt of being in Norway and I love his films, and his actors, so it was a dream to come together with this Norwegian crew and work with this filmmaker, who’s beautifully irreverent and, you know, a great visionary. So both things were really intriguing to me.”
Had you seen the original when Liam’s text came in?
“I hadn’t until I was asked by Liam about doing it. And what really struck me about that film, that I feel like he’s [Hans Petter] held true to – which is so important – is that the film feels so dark and desolate, and the loneliness of this man you feel so completely, and perhaps his inability to communicate what he’s walking through. And you’re immersed in that, and then suddenly this really black, irreverent comedy takes over, amidst all the mayhem. And I love the theme of what can go wrong when revenge is your destiny. Or the path you choose. And in reinventing this, Hans gave room to the new actors to make it their own. For Liam and I, and Hans, we wanted to develop further the relationship between this husband and wife, to deepen what was at stake.”
What happens to your relationship in the movie?
“There’s a chemistry and intimacy and friendship between two people, but when a tragedy occurs, and two people handle it so completely differently, they can lose each other, not only themselves, in it. Grace needs to process it, and Nels needs to completely shut off. So there’s no conversation, no healing, no dialogue – and the intimacy is lost. And he has a way that he’s going to manage his 22 agony. And not only is it entirely opposed to how I’m dealing with it, but also I’m left removed from it because he’s on this mission. He’s lost himself in this drive for revenge.”
How would you describe Grace?
“Grace is, I think, a rebel, but in a very different way than Nels. She’s probably into punk and deeply invested in music, and was a hippy of sorts. And as she was taking off towards what she was expecting to be, to live this sort of wild, free life, she fell in love, and ended up choosing to stay for this man. And then they had a family. So, as has happened for many women, you have this very driven passion, but make a choice. So there’s a longing she may have always had. And somewhere in the back of her head it was like, ‘Well, maybe when my son’s grown I’ll continue that.’ So it gives a seed to some place for her to go in her pain. She wanted to travel the world, and maybe, for her, [smoking] pot sort of takes the edge off the fact that she’s stuck – literally – in the middle of the wilderness, without many people to talk to, even her own husband, because he’s out all day.”
Beneath the surface narrative, what’s this movie actually about?
“It’s about what happens when you don’t consider what you’re feeling, and you take, oddly, what you think is the path of least resistance, which is revenge. As a way to deal with your feelings, you’re just going to create hell, and end up far worse off than when you started. I find that heart-breaking, terrifying and ultimately kind of hilarious, in its brokenness, because so many people get into so much trouble with that agenda. I think through grief – which we all understand and have experienced in some area of our life – we all want revenge. We play it out in a daydream, many of us, or seek it in subtler forms, emotional revenge on people who have hurt us, which is still potentially damaging. So any character taking on our wildest contempt and acting it out is delicious and can be quite funny, and horrifying. Perhaps it’ll make us see the mess we could make, if we actually stayed true to the shadow of what we’re feeling. It’s a cautionary tale, but a very irreverent one.” - Laura Dern
Tom Jackson (White Bull) Jackson completed shooting Season 3 of the highly acclaimed CTV series Cardinal, opposite Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse. Previously he played one of the leads opposite Louis Gossett Jr in Sidney Furie’s feature THE DEPENDABLES, Lionsgate’s action feature SKINWALKERS and John Henderson’s MEE-SHEE: THE WATER GIANT. Jackson is best known to Canadian audiences for 6 seasons as ‘Chief Peter Kenidi’ in CBC’s inspired view into the lives of a First Nation community, North of 60, for which he still receives fan accolades, his guest star turn on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and “Billy Twofeathers” in PBS series Shining Time Station. Upcoming is Season 2 of APTN’s Red Earth Uncovered. Whether one links Jackson to ‘The Huron Carole’ – the song or the national concert tour – ‘Singing for Supper’ or ‘Swinging for Supper’, the evidence of his earning and staying power in the fundraising circle is without question and one of infamy for this country’s food banks. When there’s trouble or trauma, he steps up with ideas to alleviate and compensate those devastated by floods, typhoons, fires, drought, terrorism, youth suicide, homelessness, environmental disaster and economic disadvantage, earning him some of Canada’s highest honors. Among Jackson’s many awards are the Officer of the Order of Canada, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canadian Red Cross Ambassador, two Queen’s Jubilee Medals 2002 & 2012 and an Honorary Degree recipient at 10 universities – 1998 to 20.
Emmy Rossum plays Kim
Meet the female cop rising to the surface in a sea of male stupidity “Everyone feels like a secret weirdo”
After your acclaimed run on SHAMELESS, you could have picked anything for your first feature in four years. What made COLD PURSUIT the one? “What intrigued me was seeing a young woman fight for herself and what she believes in in a male dominated world. Not just within a criminal world but within her own workplace in the police force, too. That’s just a really interesting picture to draw. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if she solves the case or gets the bad guys. It’s really that she sticks to her ideals and to her guns – no pun intended – throughout her journey. And I was really impressed by the tone [of the script], the 23 bizarre, slightly surreal dark comedy set against really intense violence. That’s not something which I’m usually too keen on, but this was handled in a very kind of comic and strange way that really got my attention. I’d heard that the characters were drawn in unique ways that I hadn’t seen before: bad guys that weren’t all bad, good guys that weren’t all good. And then I read the script, and wasn’t quite sure that I was reading it correctly because I found myself laughing at things that I wasn’t sure I was supposed to be thinking were funny. And that had me sold. It’s a movie about how strange life is, and how bizarre people can be.”
Emmy Rossum Q and A
What can you tell us about Kim?
“She’s an eager young rookie cop, idealistic and highly moral but shaded too, being shown the ropes by an older officer – played by John Doman, who I loved in THE WIRE – who’s a little bit jaded, and she’s very idealistic about right and wrong. And the town she’s in is one where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of crime. And when all these dead bodies start piling up, it’s kind of exciting for her because suddenly she has something to do. She’s living in a slightly misogynistic world where her partner, who’s kind of like your stereotypical white male, is very interested in her dating life. And not that interested in doing the right thing. So it’s a great role. I felt that I had kind of a weird, bold take on the character that they were either going to like or not, and I guess they did!”
You’ve worked with Liam Neeson before. How did he compare on this?
“Well, l love Liam. He is tall and handsome and kind and funny. And annoyingly professional. He cares about the little people on set. He’s really just everything that you could imagine him to be. He can go in and out of character completely seamlessly. He’s not the kind of person that needs 30 seconds before the camera rolls to get into character. Working with him is very organic. And obviously I’ve been such an admirer of his work for so long that I was really looking forward to doing scenes with him. My character is initially intrigued by, and very empathetic to, his struggle and the loss of his child, so they have some kind of connection, until the bodies start piling up. And that’s interesting, because we’re all the heroes in our story. He is a hero in his story. Kim is the hero in her story. Nothing is black and white.”
Did you do any preparation to play a cop?
“I did get a ride along in Brooklyn with NYPD and that was really, really fun. It was really surprising to me because I always think of the police force as being older than me because they’re authority figures and what I found was that the people I did the ride along with were younger than me. It was so incredible to be with people who were armed and arresting people and in their quest for justice and right and wrong who were 27 and 24 years old. It was fascinating because I think we naturally have kind of like a fear of the police, you know, just in terms of getting in trouble or being on the wrong side of things or in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so getting to see the other side of that was really fascinating. The woman [police officer] reminded me a lot of Kim. She was 27, and had just taken the Sergeant’s test as she wanted to move up the ranks. She was a fierce driver. I’m a terrible driver which was definitely one of my challenges because I actually have to drive a vehicle in this picture, which is never advisable. And just getting to see how powerful she was behind the wheel, it was just very inspiring and eye-opening.”
COLD PURSUIT is such a unique movie when it comes to tone. How do you describe it to people?
“I think all of these characters are strange in their own way. I don’t think they’re normal, everyday people. They’re surprising and bizarre. They’re weird, and I think everyone feels like a secret weirdo. In this movie there’s a gangster who only wants his kid to be macrobiotic and super-healthy, and a family man who becomes a murderer, and a young cop who’s eager to see a dead body because that means something to do. These are all strange things that we wouldn’t necessarily admit about ourselves. It has something really tangibly bizarre that feels weirdly familiar in its specificity.”
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Tom Jackson is White Bull the cartel leader going – literally, sometimes – head to head with the evil Viking “This is as entertaining as any other movie I’ve been in. It’s no Walt Disney…”
This movie is tonally unique. What was your reaction when you first read the script?
“Well, I have an agent, Alicia. She reads everything before it gets to [my wife] Alison, and Alison reads everything before it gets to me. And I was sitting one night, at my wonderful little habitat, and Alison was reading this script, and kept breaking into belly-laughs. I said, ‘What are you reading?’ She said, ‘A script Alicia sent, called COLD PURSUIT.’ And I said, ‘Well, am I supposed to read it?’ She said, ‘No. It’s very funny...’”
That seems a little harsh! What did you both respond to about it?
“That it was a satirical piece, a dark piece. It was really interesting to me to play a character who is in fact ‘Indian’, who by and large doesn’t get represented that way in the movie. It was also different, for me, to play a villain. I don’t very often play bad guys in my life. Because I often think that art imitates life. So I had to consider all of that, and at the end of the day, I just thought this was a really nice challenge for me.”
How did you find working with Hans?
“He’s brilliant. He’s a very sensitive man, and I like that. We shook hands once. Since then, we hug. We only had one handshake.”
Tell us about the cartel White Bull
“My comrades, they aren’t a tribe, they’re a collective group of Native American men who come from all parts. And I once said to them [on set], ‘Do I look like a homeless guy to you? Do I look like an addict to you? Well, 30 years ago, I lived in a hole in the ground, and the guy who dealt me drugs lived in the house above the hole that I lived in. And that man came to me one day and he stuck out his hand and he made me a deal. And it was a good deal. Not a great deal, but a good deal.’ That’s a conversation I had with my fellow actors, we shared stories about our backgrounds. You should have been in that room. That built the character of the group. You know, we’re actors, but we still believe in each other as a group, and I think that’s what you’ll sense when you’ll watch this movie, that there’s something different about this group of people.”
You have a fascinating relationship with your rival, Viking. What was that built on?
“In the movie, the guy my character shook hands with was Viking’s dad. So, I made a deal with his dad [establishing which cartel had control of what]. And White Bull doesn’t know much about Viking, 20 other than he’s maintained the flow. But he’s not like his dad. So, I don’t really have any affinity for him until he takes something from me, and I want something in return.”
Even though you’re not on screen much together, your character and Liam’s share an understanding. How was that process, building that rapport?
“I only have one scene with Mr. Neeson, but I dare say it’s the best scene in the movie. We didn’t spend much time together, but one night we worked together until 2:30 am. And the conversations that we had outside the scene, you would like very much to have been in that room. I was going on, as I have a tendency to do, about certain journeys I’ve had in my life, and he shared some of his, and talked a little about fly fishing – that I knew nothing about but know a lot more about now. We talked a lot about this inherent ability for Native American people to live closer to the land than others, and to understand what that actually is. And how do you find all that out if somebody doesn’t tell you? You have to go looking for it, but where do you start, right? How do you find out that the planet is alive? So, we explored that together. You know, you wonder if people sit around, drink coffee, and Martinis or whatever… or if they change the world. Well, I can say we changed each other’s. And I wish I had more time. Maybe we will one day.”
Do you see similarities between White Bull and Nels?
“I don’t know that the characters are similar… It’s like, my cat had a stand-off with a coyote [recently]. Now, if that coyote that my cat had a stand-off with had got my cat, I’d be feeling different about my cat and that coyote. I think when there’s a gap created in your world, a gap that is founded in love that is removed from you, vengeance is maybe not the proper instinct to go and find, but it may be the only instinct that brings comfort.”
This movie also has some great action. How did you feel about shooting that?
“I like the shoot-em-up part! I mean, I always wanted to be The Lone Ranger. Okay, maybe the other guy… So, as much as I philosophies about this, the reality is that this is as entertaining a movie as any other I’ve been in.”
Couresty of Taro PR, Visual Hollywood and Photography by Doane Gregory