In 1985, Martin Campbell directed an award-winning mini-series for the BBC called Edge of Darkness. Over twenty years later he was approached about doing it again, this time for the big screen.
Interested in the idea, he brought the project to producer Graham King, and they went to Mel Gibson, who has been absent from motion pictures since his movie, Signs, which opened in 2002.
Now set in Boston, Mel Gibson portrays Thomas Craven, an experienced homicide detective and a single father, whose 24-year-old daughter Emma has been murdered. Initially Craven believes that the bullet was meant for him, and he thought he knew his daughter, but discovers there was a lot about her life he knew nothing about.
Producer Graham King and director Martin Campbell talk about this new re-imagining of Edge of Darkness.
Was it hard to convince you to do this project again?
Martin Campbell: Someone suggested the possibility of making it into a film about five years ago. I thought it was a great idea. I’ve always felt it was a very powerful story: a father loses his daughter and goes on a journey of discovery not only to find out who killed her and why, but also who she really was. He’s someone who loved his daughter, and thought he understood her, but what he discovers in that she was involved in a whole way of life that he knew nothing about.
Just as it did years ago, I thought that the heartfelt story of a man losing his daughter, and going off after revenge, could just really capture an audience today.
How did you get Mel Gibson to come back to the screen in this?
Martin Campbell: Mel was our first and only choice for Craven. The part called for someone of his caliber; there aren’t a lot of actors who have the kind of gravitas that he has.
I think the part of a bereaved father consumed by grief, who gradually sets out to find and avenge those who killed his daughter, was attractive to Mel. He gives a terrific performance in a very demanding role that had him in front of the camera every day. He didn’t get a day off from filing; his character is in almost every scene. He worked very hard and it shows in his performance.
Graham King: We really wanted Mel, and we were so lucky to get him back in front of the camera and in a role he’s perfect for.
A cop is going to have a lot of enemies, so most people are going to think the bullet was meant for him and that she just got in the way. On top of that, one can only imagine what it would be like dealing with that whole guilt and that emotion in a situation such a Craven’s, where he’s got no family left. He’s really done. He’s finished. He wants to find out who did it and then move on, but people are getting in his way.
Can you talk about casting Ray Winstone for the role of Darius Jedburgh, who joins with Craven to find out who killed his daughter?
Martin Campbell: Ray brings a very powerful, underlyingly threatening quality to the character of Darius Jedburgh, who at the same time is a total enigma. Jedburg is a very powerful man who clearly has been involved with government work for many years. You don’t really know what agency, if any, he works for, or why he is endowed with the power he has. He is brought in to assess situations and clean up the mess.
What you think audiences will take away from Edge of Darkness?
Graham King: For me, Edge of Darkness is not about politics today. It’s about a reckoning, a man out for justice, and it’s a great ride on the crest of the unknown, not knowing how things are going to pan out but going along for that ride.