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Martin McDonagh Talks ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Inspiration at L.A. Premiere

Members of the cast of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” kicked off the film’s supporting tour Friday night with its Los Angeles premiere at the Neuehouse Hollywood. 

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is the story of a woman (Frances McDormand) who, desperate for the police to solve the case of her daughter’s rape and murder, rents three billboards along a main road in order to draw the police chief’s (Woody Harrelson) attention back to the case. The film, which also stars Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won an award for best screenplay and was nominated for best film. It also won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, making its main players strong Oscar contenders.

“I wanted to write a really strong female lead for for the film, and I saw something similar to what we see on the billboards in the film about 17 years ago when I was traveling through the southern states,” McDonagh explained on the red carpet. “I wondered what kind of person had that kind of rage to put those billboards up, and once I decided it was a woman and a mother, the part of Mildred wrote itself.”

The film blends drama and dark comedy while dealing with many prominent social issues like racial inequality, police brutality, and discontent with law enforcement. “It’s just a mirror of what the world is,” said actor Clarke Peters, who plays police officer Abercrombie. “It’s a comment and it’s the same voice you’re hearing outside, except it’s contained within the frame. Sometimes life is reflected in art and sometimes art is reflecting life.”

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” opens in limited theaters on Nov. 10 and nationwide on Nov. 22.

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