Debra Granik (‘Leave No Trace’ director) on her story of a traumatized soldier living ‘against the grain’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Leave No Trace” director Debra Granik is always “curious about … ordinary people in our country who live against the grain,” she tells Gold Derby, so the Oscar-nominated filmmaker was drawn immediately to Peter Rock‘s book “My Abandonment,” which focuses on an Army vet (Ben Foster) raising his daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) in the woods of Portland, OR.

“It starts with a mystery about why a family is living undetected in a municipal park and how they managed to do that,” she adds. In approaching that mystery, Granik hoped to discover “the why and how.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Ben Foster (‘Leave No Trace’): ‘I was very tenderized to the idea of parenthood’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“He was living in a way that he could function pretty highly,” she explains about her central character’s struggle with PTSD. “I felt like he was in a hurry, almost, to teach everything that he could teach to his daughter, everything that he had that was worthy and rich and good.” The director had spent time with veterans while shooting her documentary “Stray Dog” (2014), which gave her “a three-year dialogue” from which she could craft Foster‘s character. “I understood a huge amount from traveling with them because they did have stories to tell.”

WATCH many interviews with 2019 contenders

Granik’s last scripted film, “Winter’s Bone” (2010), earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay with co-writer Anne Rosellini, and it also contended for Best Picture. The film additionally brought Granik Independent Spirit Award bids for writing and directing. She also contended at the Spirits for her feature debut, “Down to the Bone” (John Cassavetes Award in 2004), and “Stray Dog” (Best Documentary in 2014).

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.

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