[WATCH] David Mackenzie dishes directing ‘Hell or High Water’ and how he ’embedded’ himself into Texas culture

When asked during our recent interview (watch above) about the success of “Hell or High Water,” director David Mackenzie humbly states, “I guess I went about it in the right way.” This CBS Films release centers on a divorced father (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother (Ben Foster) who resort to robbing banks in order to save their family’s ranch, with two Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) hot on their trail. Mackenzie, a Brit best known for such films as “Young Adam” (2003) and “Starred Up” (2013), reveals that he, “embedded myself as much as I possibly could into the landscape and culture of the world we were trying to describe,” before shooting began.

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The director says that he was immediately struck by Taylor Sheridan‘s original screenplay: “It felt like it was a beautiful chance to have a film that had all the obvious kind of audience excitement of bank robberies, and cops and robbers, and justice, and all those sorts of things. But underneath that, was able to be a movie that was obviously about something… a lot of the themes that are resonant to this country.”

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Since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard competition, “Hell or High Water” has been a major player this awards season, snagging Golden Globe nominations on Monday for Best Film Drama, Best Supporting Actor (Bridges), and Best Film Screenplay (Sheridan). The film contended for those three prizes at Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards, snagging additional citations for Mackenzie as Best Director, Foster as Best Supporting Actor, and for the cast as Best Ensemble. At this rate, are Oscar nominations next?

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