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David Michod on Going Back to His Roots, Working With Netflix, the Appeal of ‘Joker’

David Michôd, who sits on the jury of the Marrakech Film Festival alongside Tilda Swinton and Andrea Arnold, among others, told Variety that he’s yearning to “go back to his roots” and make another film in Australia.

Michôd, whose latest film “The King,” starring Timothée Chalamet as young Henry V, world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and bowed on Netflix last month, said he was looking forward to making another film taking place in Australia, which already served as a backdrop for his critically-acclaimed feature debut, “Animal Kingdom.”

“I don’t know what my next film will be but I was just thinking this week that I would like it to be an Australian movie. I want to go back to my roots,” said Michôd, who previously directed “War Machine” with Brad Pitt, and “The Rover” with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.

Although the common thread among Michôd’s wide-ranging film credits may seem difficult to decipher, he says they’re all “on a broad level about the things that frighten (him), the machinations of people.”

“I’m positive that it will be the case for all my movies,” said the Australian filmmaker. He also said his films were also all “personal” and about “lost characters.”

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“That’s how I experience the world, I feel lost most of the time. I manage to work it out in some way or another but my experience of the world is not understanding it,” said Michôd, who added that he identified with the characters played by James Frecheville in “Animal Kingdom,” Pearce in “The Rover,” Pitt in “War Machine” and Chalamet in “The King.”

“I don’t know why the wrong people are in the position of power everywhere. Why is this happening?” asked the helmer.

Although he’s open to working with other streamers, Michôd spoke highly of Netflix, which he said “came to (him) as a blessing” when he and Brad Pitt were trying to find a way to get “War Machine” made.

“We knew that none of the traditional studios were going to make it because it was too politically contentious, too dense with information, tonely schizophrenic. It was a strange movie and it felt to us like radical and we loved the idea of taking it to Netflix,” said Michôd.

“I was very grateful for the existence of Netflix because they were the first people who were willing to make the kinds of movies that I loved, the ones that studios used to make, in the $30 million to $40 million range that don’t automatically appeal to the kids,” said the director.

Michôd, who lives most of the time in Australia and has a house in L.A., pointed out however that “The Joker” could be a game-changer for studios and encourage them to take more risks. “It’s so dark, I can’t believe it got made, let alone that it is the highest grossing comicbook film of all times. It makes me wonder if the studios will be more willing to take more risks” on daring movies going forward. He said “Joker” also opened his mind to the idea of working on projects he hasn’t written.

While he’s enjoying the Marrakech film festival, Michôd said he’s taking his jury duty very seriously. “Especially at a festival like this where it’s first- and second-time filmmakers, these prizes are important and have a significant effect on a filmmaker’s career,” said the helmer whose “Animal Kingdom” world premiered at Sundance and won the Grand Jury Prize in 2010.

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