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From Down Under, a 'Hard' caper

June 16, 2003|Robert W. Welkos

The heist has long been a staple of Hollywood films, whether it's Robert Mitchum in "The Big Steal," Cary Grant in "To Catch a Thief" or Robert De Niro in "The Score."

This year, three more heist films illustrate the durability of the genre. First came "The Good Thief" with Nick Nolte, followed by Mark Wahlberg in "The Italian Job." Now comes an Australian caper entry called "The Hard Word."

Written and directed by Scott Roberts, "The Hard Word" revolves around three Australian brothers (played by Guy Pearce, Damien Richardson and Joel Edgerton) who, with the help of their crooked attorney (Robert Taylor), are sprung from prison to steal millions from the Melbourne Cup racing sweepstakes. Rachel Griffiths plays the wife of Pearce's character.

The film marks Roberts' feature directing debut.

"Scott Roberts is somebody I've known for quite a while as a writer and occasionally, over the years, he's shown me some scripts," said producer Al Clark ("The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"). "Then he showed me this script back in early 2000 and it was a complete knockout for me. I called him back and said, 'I want to do it!' Then he dropped the big one: 'I've written it for myself to direct.' "

"The Hard Word" opened Friday in New York, makes its L.A. debut this Friday and goes wide a week later.

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