MUST SEE: Orlando Bloom’s Outstanding Dedication on Display, Struggling To Survive in RED RIGHT HAND from the Nelms Brothers (Interview)

MUST SEE: Orlando Bloom’s Outstanding Dedication on Display, Struggling To Survive in RED RIGHT HAND from the Nelms Brothers (Interview)

“God. Family. Survival.”

This weekend, don’t miss the new crime-thriller RED RIGHT HAND from brothers Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms, that tells a story about a small family struggling to survive in the unforgiving wilds of Kentucky. This gritty tale about family and survival is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as Orlando Bloom’s Cash takes you to hell and back.

SynopsisCash (Orlando Bloom) is trying to live an honest and quiet life while taking care of his recently windowed brother-in-law and niece, Savannah (Chapel Oaks). Nestled in the rural mountains of Odim county, this tight nit family tends to their family farm while trying to move on from their troubled pasts. Unfortunately, the region’s sadistic kingpin, Big Cat (Andie MacDowell) has other plans and forces Cash back into her services. In order, to protect his family, Cash is forced to complete three jobs which push him and his morality to the very brink. As the journey gets harder, Cash is drawn into a nightmare that blurs the lines between good and evil. RED RIGHT HAND has the kinds of characters who leave an unforgettable imprint on you. (Photos Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

I was struck by the impossible position that Orlando Bloom’s, Cash was in – not sure how it would turn out – I was desperate to see how anyone could get out of this mess alive.

Orlando Bloom gives an award-winning almost unrecognizable physical performance. Andie MacDowell strikes fear in the heart of every low-life, suit, and badge in her criminal underworld. I was struck by how easy she makes it look as fire rages behind her eyes. Garret Dillahunt blows me away with his vulnerable and surprising performance, the only hope for a drowning town. Mo McRae is an audience favorite, sweeping the floor out from under us. His work is chilling, heartbreaking, and awards worthy.

The Nelms brothers transport you to a dangerous place, it feels like there is no way out. Luckily, I got to talk to them about it! 

From my discussion with the Nelms Brothers in February 2024:

Jennica Schwartzman: I haven’t seen your faces since the test screening. Did you guys do more than one test screening?

Eshom Nelms: Oh, so many.

Ian Nelms: We do a bunch just because we’re trying to hone it. You definitely saw quite a bit of improvement.

Jennica Schwartzman: What is your favorite part of the test audience screening process?

Ian Nelms: Definitely all the feedback. And I mean, it’s double-edged sword. Your ego takes some hits, but the film gets better. So, it’s well worth it in the end.

Jennica Schwartzman: This was the fifth feature of yours that I’ve seen, what new skill or challenge did you hope to accomplish as directors in this project?

Ian Nelms: We really wanted to push a different look that we hadn’t really played with before – and I would say – even had a distaste for before this film. And that would be the use of handheld. And it was mainly because we had seen a few movies that we really enjoyed and loved and thought it was really effective.

Eshom Nelms: A bit more voyeuristic.

Ian Nelms: There was something about it that drew you in more to those moments. And we really tried to pick and choose when we were using that handheld strategically in a moment to draw you in a little bit more to the characters, in the moment, rather than just trying to come up with a beautiful cinematic shot because handheld is beautiful, but it’s messy at times. And that is what’s beautiful about it is it’s kind of messy-beautiful.

Eshom Nelms: There’s an organic quality to it. It sort of breaks away from the sterility of some of the more locked off shots.

Ian Nelms: Not to say we didn’t want to miss the cinematic moments. And we were really trying to have our cake and eat it too. On the camera front, of course, our DP Johnny Derango was a massive part of every one of those discussions. And we watched a lot of movies together. And we found moments that we all loved and found moments that we all hated. “And how do we stay away from this and lean into this?” And then, “How do we get a quality cinematic film all at the same time?”

Jennica Schwartzman: Working with Johnny Derango, your longtime cinematographer partner, did he have any say in this? Or did you assign this new strategy?

Ian Nelms: Always a conversation with Johnny. Because he’s literally the third Nelms Brother. It was a conversation we brought, we had an idea – which he was pumped about. I think he had a similar approach to it as we did, there were times when he liked it. But there were times when he disliked it as well. So, it was a fun challenge.

Jennica Schwartzman: What do you think that he brought artistically to this feature that was surprising or new?

Eshom Nelms: Johnny always brings beautiful lighting. That’s without a doubt what he brings. Wonderful compositions, movement. I think in this one, there were some truly hair-raising miracles that he had to pull off. There was always a road through it and a path to success that I really have to comend him on.

Ian Nelms: …We really have to lean on him. Because, I mean, he’s really got his nose to the ground. He’s on track – the whole time. And thank goodness, he’s such a quality control freak, that there are times when he’s shooting it, that he’s like, “This isn’t gonna work, you’re not going to be able to bring this back from the dead.” Even though he’s giving us 110%. Trying to make it work. He’s like, “I’ve done everything I can, I’ve pulled every filter, this is not gonna work, we got to try to find a time to reshoot it.” And then Johnny will come over, we’ll start playing with the color, saturation, lighting, and everything – and, thank God, bring it back to life. Or in this case, one of the shots we shot off to Cody Baker, who was our colorist, and has been on the last few films, He’ll bring it back to life. Because there was one shot that was beyond our capabilities and he brought it back to life in such an amazing way.

Eshom Nelms: 99 out of 100 times, it’s already there and Johnny says we’re reshooting this and then we’ll go home and we’ll edit it together and show it to him. And he’s like, “It works perfectly. Of course it does!” But I feel that it’s his superpower. He’s so attentive, that he pushes it all the way and then some… It’s wonderful working with Johnny, I’ve never seen a man chase down so many road cones or oddly colored signs in the background in my life, he’ll get them out of there.

Jennica Schwartzman: What have you learned about yourselves as artists and as partners during this feature in particular?

Ian Nelms: I think there were a lot of trials by fire on this one – as there are in every film. When you get to the end of some sequence or moment or the whole film – all the hard work pays off. And that goes to Michelle, one of our producers, who’s baptized in the fire with us every time, joined by Johnny the DP, and my partner, Esh – we’re constantly trying to make it the best it can be.

Eshom Nelms: We had this really lovely stunt coordinator, Tim, and he was really helpful in getting some of those action set pieces put together. He did a great job with that.

Ian Nelms: In the church parking lot scene, which is a little bit of a chasing melee in the in the church parking lot, we were supposed to have a half a day to shoot that. And it got whittled down to two hours. And rushing through that in two hours – our asses were on fire, it was really out of control.

Eshom Nelms: Tim planned out the knife fight with Kenny and Orlando –

Ian Nelms: – that was amazing. That’s one of the action sequences in the film they worked on for quite a while with the actors, Orlando and Kenny had a lot of input on as well. They spent a lot of extra time putting that together with Tim …We didn’t have enough time to sit there and and walk through that whole action sequence for a day and a half with them. So thank God Tim was there. …We’ve had action sequences before, but I think we were really pushing ourselves as far as time constraint and budget. We were really trying to push that as far as we could and to get as much on the screen as possible. And of course that took a very active stunt team.

Eshom Nelms: I also learned that if you want a really competent man on a motorcycle, hire Orlando Bloom.

Ian Nelms: Oh my god. He spent quite a few years on a bike, apparently, and man, it showed.

Eshom Nelms: He loves bikes and he was he was ripping roaring on that thing. He was great. Fantastic. That was arguably his favorite day on set, it was hard to get him off the bike.

Jennica Schwartzman: What was it like shooting in Kentucky for you guys?

Eshom Nelms: Dude, it’s really incredible in Kentucky – the landscape, the scope, those mountains, the trees, and the green rippling forests.

Ian Nelms: The one thing we will take out of there – and know to do better next time – is to pick the scheduling, because we shot during the most tumultuous time of the year: tornadoes, rainstorms, lightning storms, and you get shut down consistently with those things happening. …And then a lot of the crew members who were locals were like, “Why did you guys shoot here in the springtime anyway? Didn’t you know this was the worst time to shoot. That’s why no other productions are here right now. Everything starts in about a month.” …We’re like, “Good to know, good to know.”

Eshom Nelms: I will say it made for some spectacular skies.

Ian Nelms: I will say that as well.

Eshom Nelms: This movie wanted to be shot in Kentucky – at this time – in chaos. The more naturalistic handheld, the volatile weather – It just all felt like a perfect ecosystem for the movie.

Jennica Schwartzman: How did you decide on Andie MacDowell as your “Big Cat?”

Ian Nelms: The script got to her agent. And her agent came to us and said, “What do you think of Andie MacDowell for this? I’ve actually given it to her. She’s read it. She loves it. She wants to talk to you guys.” And we were like, ” Andie MacDowell wants to do this?”

Eshom Nelms: She came up in our in our casting list, and we were like, “She’ll never do it, it’s so against type for her….”

Ian Nelms: …”It’d be cool to see her do something like this, but there’s no way she’s ever going to want to do something like this.” And then, of course, she reads it and loves it. … And she was talking to us as Andie MacDowell , … but she definitely had an edge to her. And we knew she could totally do this. When we cast her, she had a sparkle in her eye, ready to attack the role and she came swinging every day.

Jennica Schwartzman: And what was your favorite scene with her character?

Ian Nelms: My favorite scene with her is the one where she and Orlando talk for the first time by the fire. …It was such a wonderful dance. They were so great at playing off of each other. We had a really fun time shooting that scene. And they were marvelous in it.

Jennica Schwartzman: What do you feel that Orlando Bloom he brought to this role?

Ian Nelms: His dedication. We went to him for the role. We’d met him a couple of years previous, he really enjoyed “Small Town Crime,” which is one of our previous films, and we had a little breakfast meeting. He said he wanted to do something like this. “I want to do something dark and something I’ve never done before.” This role is so unlike anything I’ve ever seen him do. He read it, called within a day or two, and was like, “Boys this is gonna be a ride, I’m so in, this is gonna be a blast.” And he got a dialect coach, spent two months on his own getting the dialect down. We would get really excited for him because he was crushing it.

Eshom Nelms: He was running around recording locals and taking that to the dialect coach and working on that with him. And then the physical transformation that he went through for the role, I think he really had a vision for “Cash” and what his facial hair looked like, the stature of that guy,…

Ian Nelms: …how he carried himself. It’s unlike anything I think you’ve seen Orlando do, even down to the way his character moves.

Eshom Nelms: … I remember he picked these boots and they were kind of heavy. And we agreed – what an interesting stride that gives “Cash.” And he’s like, “I love it. Love how I have to like clump around in these things.” I remember when he and Scott Hayes were picking the tattoos and the stuff they would have together and stuff they would have apart. Watching him build that character was really fun and really impressive.

Ian Nelms: Before he got on set, he had been living with that facial hair and that hair for four months. He really gave 110%. And I think it shows on screen. It is one hell of a performance. And he really brought everything he could to it.

Eshom Nelms: And he was so honest. And he was like, if you see anything that’s bullshit, just tell me. That was another fun thing, right off the bat. I think we all set each other at ease that we trusted each other. We had a blast working with the man.

Red Right Hand will be in select theaters and on digital February 23rd

Click HERE to watch the movie

The Nelms Brothers: THE NELMS BROTHERS, filmmakers Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms, grew up in central California waging two-hundred-man G.I. Joe wars and dreaming in John Ford landscapes. Though their evolving passions temporarily took them in different directions – Ian first went to college on a wrestling scholarship, along the way discovering an interest for English Literature, and Eshom pursued an education in fine art, but then found the illustration of comic books better suited his tastes – the two would always find themselves returning to their love of film. 

The Nelms Brothers have written and directed numerous award-winning and critically acclaimed films. With each of their endeavors exuding a unique look and feel, the Nelms Brothers are known for their ability to traverse from one genre to another, seamlessly, from drama to comedy to thrillers. Their film, LOST ON PURPOSE (2013), was a heartfelt coming-of-age love letter to their small hometown. From there, the siblings wrote and directed WAFFLE STREET (2015), a comedic turn based on an autobiographical memoir about a billion-dollar hedge-fund manager turned waffle house server starring James Lafferty and Danny Glover. Their film, SMALL TOWN CRIME (2018) is a crime thriller that premiered at SXSW and BFI London Film Festival and received positive reviews by top critics upon its theatrical release. It featured a stellar ensemble cast that included John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Robert Forster, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Vartan, and Caity Lotz. Their next film, FATMAN (2020), starred Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, and Marianne Jean- Baptiste, and centers on a neglected and precocious 12-year-old who hires an unorthodox hitman to kill Santa Claus after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. 

In January 2021,” Everyone is Doing Great,” a comedy television series created by actors/producers James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti and executive produced by the Nelms Brothers, was acquired and released by Hulu (U.S.) and Paramount+ (international territories). In 2022, in addition to executive producing season two of “Everyone is Doing Great”, the Nelms Brothers directed the feature RED RIGHT HAND, starring Orlando Bloom, Andie
MacDowell and Garret Dillahunt. 

@nelmsbros @magnoliapics #RedRightHand

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