The Assistant, Kitty Green‘s harrowing account of one day in the office of a Harvey Weinstein-like showbiz tyrant, cast too harsh a light on the industry to get the traction it deserved come awards season in 2020. But critics did all in their power to spread the good word about Green’s searing depiction of structural power abuses — a topic that rears its ugly head once again with the announcement of the director’s much-anticipated follow-up.
This morning, The Hollywood Reporter ran a bulletin that Green is moving forward in casting on The Royal Hotel with plans to shoot this summer in the Australian Outback. In that respect, new addition and Aussie native Hugo Weaving will be right at home, joined by Matrix: Resurrections breakout Jessica Henwick and the already-signed Julia Garner, reuniting with Green after starring in The Assistant.
The Royal Hotel is the name of a secluded mining town’s lone bar, where a pair of backpacking best friends (Garner and Henwick) find some temporary employment on their cross-country journey. The bar’s owner (Weaving) seems friendly enough as he and his mates initiate the girls in the hard-drinking ways of Australians, but “things turn nasty when their jokes and behavior cross the line” and the girls soon find themselves in danger’s way.
The predation of men places this project right in line with the rest of Green’s accomplished oeuvre, which tends to inspect noxious gender dynamics from unexpected angles, whether that’s the procedural workplace hostility of The Assistant or the unsettling primping of her docu-fiction hybrid Casting JonBenet. Judging from the rugged terrain of The Royal Hotel’s setting, this new recapitulation of her chosen theme could include more of an element of action than we’ve seen in past work.
With principal photography set for the summer, we can safely expect a debut at next year’s Sundance, where Green and her work have been warmly received in the past. And with her focus shifting away from the world of entertainment, maybe the rest of the industry will give her more of the recognition she’s sorely overdue.
Published 12 Apr 2022
By Beth Webb
The American filmmaker’s debut narrative feature is the perfect drama for the post #MeToo era.
Director Kitty Green highlights the systemic abuse women suffer in the workplace in this powerful drama.