Joel Edgerton 'grilled' filmmaker over age-gap romance in new movie

Fortunately, Paul Schrader softened his concerns.

Joel Edgerton lors du 79e festival du film de Venise le 3 septembre 2022. (Photo by Laurent Koffel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Joel Edgerton pictured in September 2022. (Laurent Koffel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) (Laurent KOFFEL via Getty Images)

Joel Edgerton challenged Master Gardener writer-director Paul Schrader over the movie's romantic twist.

In this new crime thriller, the Obi-Wan Kenobi star portrays a reformed neo-Nazi, Narvel Roth, who works as the head horticulturalist at a large estate. Here, he eventually strikes up a relationship with his apprentice Maya, played by Quintessa Swindell (an actress 23 years Edgerton's junior).

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According to Edgerton, he immediately "grilled" Schrader about this upon reading the script.

"I said, 'Do you see this relationship as something you want the audience to be thrilled by in a way that's titillating or pleasurable?' And he said, 'No, I want people to be confronted by it,'" the actor told NME.

USA. Joel Edgerton and Quintessa Swindell  in a scene from the (C)Magnolia Pictures new film : Master Gardener (2023).  Plot: A meticulous horticulturist who is devoted to tending the grounds of a beautiful estate and pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager. Ref: LMK110-J8899-310323 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
In Master Gardener, Edgerton's meticulous horticulturalist takes on an apprentice in Quintessa Swindell's Maya. (Landmark Media/Magnolia Pictures). (Landmark Media, LANDMARK MEDIA)

His initial reservations stemmed from an experience he once had with a different movie.

Apparently, Edgerton managed to miss the beginning, walking in just as an unnamed older actor was chatting to a younger woman in a bar scene.

"I'm trying to work out what I've missed in the film," he recalled. "And then he leans in to kiss her, and I'm like, 'No!' It was the age difference!

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"I had assumed it was a father-daughter relationship. But this actor had cast a girl as his love interest, and I was straightaway really angry about it. So I was very cautious about this relationship in [Master Gardener]."

Next up for the Australian is a lead role in trippy Apple TV+ series Dark Matter, where he'll play physicist Jason Dessen opposite Jennifer Connelly, Jimmi Simpson, Alice Braga and Dayo Okeniyi.

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