Actor Logan Marshall-Green is coming to this year’s SXSW Film Festival — but not for the reason you think. He’ll be attending the festival for the first time as a director and screenwriter of a feature film, “Adopt A Highway.” The film stars Ethan Hawke as an ex-con trying to get back on his feet while caring for a baby he found in a dumpster. Based on that plot, there’s no doubt the film will be wrought with emotion.
We thought it might be interesting to take a look back at Marshall-Green’s experience as an actor, and possibly see what he might’ve learned from some of the great directors he’s worked with. If you’re unfamiliar with his body of work, consider this a primer.
“Across the Universe”
Marshall-Green’s role in this 2007 film isn’t huge, but it does have a big impact on the plot. In it, he plays Paco, a Vietnam War protester who eventually decides that explosives might be better at getting their message across than peaceful protest. The movie was directed by Julie Taymor, a celebrated theatre and film director. She made the stage version of “The Lion King” and directed the movie “Frida” in 2002. If Marshall-Green took anything away from this experience, it would probably be an air of artistry, something at which Taymore excels.
This film was written, but not directed by, M. Night Shyamalan and features a great cast. In “Devil,” a group of people get stuck in a skyscraper’s elevator…and then they start dying, one by one. It seems like someone on the elevator is truly evil, but which one? Because the group is made up of six strangers, Marshall-Green is known only as Mechanic, but he is one of the film’s main characters. The 2010 film was directed by John Erick Dowdle, who has directed “Quarantine” (the American remake of Spain’s “REC”) and “As Above, So Below.” What could Marshall-Green learn from Dowdle? Most likely tension, as it’s a well-used tool in his playbook. And it seems like something that Marshall-Green’s directorial debut might have.
This “Alien” prequel may not have been very popular upon release, but many fans have come around to it. In this 2012 film, Logan Marshall-Green plays Charlie Holloway, an archaeologist and crew member on the titular spacecraft. Between the horror found on the moon LV-223 and Holloway’s intimate relationship with his colleague Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), Marshall-Green gets a lot to do in this role. It’s also where he worked with director Ridley Scott, who is practically a living legend. Scott has done so many different types of films during his career, but his strong point may be making large-scale films that contain grounded characters and scenes — something Marshall-Green also could have picked up on.
Here’s where Marshall-Green gets a really meaty role. He plays Will, a man who is visiting his ex-wife and her new husband for a dinner party at the house that used to belong to he and his aforementioned ex-wife. And his new girlfriend is along for the ride. But Will gets paranoid, thinking this dinner party may be more than everyone bargained for. It’s a mystery as to whether or not he’s right. “The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, who is known for genre films. What could she have taught Marshall-Green? Well, she’s great at dialogue and interpersonal relationships, whether between a couple of high school best friends in “Jennifer’s Body” or a group of adults at an enigmatic dinner party. That could translate really well in “Adopt A Highway.”
This 2018 movie gave Marshall-Green yet another starring role, this time as Grey Trace. When he loses his wife and becomes paralyzed in the same attack, he’s hell-bent on revenge at any cost. He gets an AI implant that helps him to move again, and does so much more. This is part action movie, part thriller and all fun. It’s directed by Leigh Whannell, who is no stranger to horror but has only directed two films (including “Upgrade”). Maybe what he taught Marshall-Green was simply the confidence to become a writer and director in the first place. Working with someone who’s new to a job but creates something so skillful could be inspiring.
“Adopt A Highway” can be seen at the following times and locations:
Sunday, March 10, at 8:30 PM at the Stateside Theatre
Monday, March 11, at 6 PM at AFS Cinema (Satellite Venue)
Wednesday, March 13, at 5:30 PM at the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center
Which Logan Marshall-Green movie is your favorite? Are you planning to catch “Adopt A Highway” at SXSW? Let us know in the comments!
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dogs, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia.