Scott Cooper's stark, compelling Rust Belt drama, "Out of the Furnace," which premiered earlier this month at AFI Fest, turns on the relationship between two brothers: Straight-arrow steel mill worker Russell Baze (
The film opens with an intense scene at a drive-in movie that introduces
It's a funny way to open because really the movie is about Christian — Woody's character doesn't come until a little bit later. And I always assumed that they would just cut it. But the extreme violence of it — he's the threat to Christian, so when Woody does come back you need to know that he is a real threat and that he's actually capable of doing very bad stuff. Otherwise, it just seems like Woody Harrelson.
Talk about the relationship between the brothers, which is the real heart of the movie.
Yeah, I've been gone in Iraq. I've been doing, you know, three tours of duty there. And when I get back, our father dies and I have to go and tell Christian, who is in jail for accidentally killing somebody in a car accident. And from that point on it's just the two of us — mother's not in the picture and there are no other siblings. I've arrived home from being at war and can't find a job and sort of am suffering from some mild
The first time we see you guys meet in the movie, you're heading to an off-track betting site where you've got a "hot tip," which sets in motion your character's journey.
He's not in a good place when you first find him. Getting tips on horses and spending your savings on them at off-track betting sites is not a way to make a living. And I'm also sort of hiding it from my brother because I'm a little bit embarrassed about it. It's a kind of silly thing to do, and he knows the people that I'm involved with, with
So Rodney goes into kind of a bare-knuckle fighting situation. That involved some training, right? They're just not throwing you out there in the dirt and saying go at it?
This is not like championship boxing or even like
You had some intense scenes with Harrelson. There's one scene where you guys are just completely in each other's face. What was that like?
It was great. I think I just scared him so much. You know, I was being very — trying to be conscious of not sort of overpowering him with my energy in the scene. [laughs]