The Skinny is chatting with American director Jeremy Saulnier in a crowded dining area of London’s Mayfair Hotel. His newest film, Green Room, is having its UK premiere later that night as part of the London Film Festival. It’s his follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed thriller Blue Ruin and the comparatively underseen Murder Party, from 2007. The three films share actor Macon Blair (Blue Ruin’s hangdog protagonist) and acts of violence instigating considerable turmoil, but Green Room sees some more recognisable stars join Saulnier’s talisman on the cast list.
The leads include Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat, as well as rising Brit stars Joe Cole and Callum Turner. The most well-known player, however, is Patrick Stewart as Green Room’s antagonistic authority figure, the owner of a far-right club in a secluded part of the Pacific Northwest. Most of those younger actors play the members of a punk band hired to play the venue, only to become witnesses to a crime that subsequently sees them holed up in the club’s green room at the mercy of figures who want to eliminate all loose ends.
“I think it was certainly a nice shift for him to show a different side to his craft,” Saulnier says of Stewart. “I consider [his character] Darcy to be very practical. He’s never sinister in his intentions, he’s just brutally indifferent when it comes to his own interests. He suddenly loses his cool once in awhile, but it’s through language or little tics. It’s not through a big monologue, but I think it’s more powerful. And Patrick definitely remarked on set that this is the quietest he’s ever worked in his life. So that was fun.”