John Tsiavis/Sony Pictures Classics
Jackie Weaver (right, with Sullivan Stapleton) plays the matriarch of a Melbourne-based crime family who has an inappropriate relationship with her sons.
Jackie Weaver (right, with Sullivan Stapleton) plays the matriarch of a Melbourne-based crime family who has an inappropriate relationship with her sons. John Tsiavis/Sony Pictures Classics
This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 18, 2011. Jacki Weaver is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Animal Kingdom.
Writer and director David Michod spent nearly eight years working on the screenplay for his debut film, Animal Kingdom. The feature is an inside look at a Melbourne-based family of bank robbers and drug dealers struggling to stay afloat as the police close in on them.
Both Michod and Jacki Weaver, who plays cold-blooded matriarch Janine "Smurf" Cody, join Dave Davies for a discussion about the film — which won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival — and has been praised for its unglamorous portrayal of the daily lives of criminals.
"Animal Kingdom is like ... the third act of Goodfellas," explains Michod. "All of the crime that you see in the film is defensive, backed-into-a-corner retaliatory crime. It's a film about a gang of armed robbers in which you don't see them committing armed robbery. What you see is them backed into a corner and committing the crime of paranoid retaliation."
Weaver's performance — praised by critic Bob Mondello for being one "you shouldn't — and can't — take your eyes off of" — has also earned critical praise from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Australian Film Institute, and the National Board of Review Awards. She has also appeared in The Two-Wheeled Time Machine and Caddie.