It’s been a couple years since Woody Harrelson had a chance to bring a really complex, interesting character to the screen in a starring role. Harrelson of course has been busy with supporting turns in The Hunger Games, and he’s signed-on to play Han Solo’s mentor in the upcoming Star Wars Anthology Movie focused on everyone’s favorite smuggler and scoundrel. Still, (arguably) not since True Detective season 1 in 2014, has Harrelson really gotten to show off his A-game in a main role.
Harrelson does have quite a few projects lined up for the coming year (including Live in London, described as the world’s first live-streamed film, set to play in select cities on Jan. 19th, 2017), and one role in particular looks like it could join the short list of classic Harrelson performances along with his turns in White Men Can’t Jump, Zombieland, the aforementioned True Detective and a handful of others. In it, Harrelson gets a chance to play the kind of cranky loser that would be right up Bill Murray’s alley, or perhaps Billy Bob Thornton’s.
Fox Searchlight Pictures has now released the second trailer for the Harrelson-led Wilson, a comedy based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, with a screenplay by Clowes himself. Harrelson plays the title character, a middle-aged guy who unfortunately for him (but fortunately for us) has a lot of anger and not much of a filter. Wilson is looking for love but instead finds out that his ex-wife, played by Laura Dern, once gave birth to a child of his whom she then gave up for adoption. Wilson enlists his ex-wife to join him on a search for the long-lost child and craziness ensues. The red band trailer that dropped last November is of course, a tad racier than this preview.
Writer Daniel Clowes has gone down this sort of darkly-comic-character-study road before in his previous graphic novels Ghost World and Art School Confidential, both of which were made into very well-received films. Those previous movies were directed by Terry Zwigoff, but this time around Clowes is working with Craig Johnson, a director familiar to the indie crowd thanks to his comedy The Skeleton Twins (starring SNL alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader).
Woody Harrelson is a guy well-known for his real-life eccentricities, and certainly on-screen he has created some memorably quirky characters, so he seems perfectly suited to the role of a frustrated, neurotic middle-aged guy on some kind of bizarre quest to find a family (in his Clark Griswold family truckster). Wilson seems reminiscent of Bill Murray’s character in St. Vincent, though the tone of Wilson appears to be more broadly comic than that film’s.
Besides Harrelson’s clearly juicy leading role, the other main appeal of Wilson has to be its thoroughly loaded supporting cast, which features such wonderful performers as Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale and Cheryl Hines. It’s hard to remember the last movie that assembled such a formidable array of amazingly, funny female actors. If Harrelson does shine as the crusty, foul-mouthed Wilson, it might be largely because of his supporting cast here.
Wilson is set to be released in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.
Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures