Every STX Entertainment employee filled Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live the other night for their prem of The Gift, the entertainment company’s first feature and Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut (he also wrote and starred in the film). “I’m very privileged to be your first movie and I somehow didn’t feel the pressure of that,” Edgerton said, addressing the employees of the 11-month-old corporation before the lights went down. “I just saw this as a group effort.” Then Edgerton turned his attention to one of his other co-stars. “Jason Bateman probably wouldn’t have even been brought in for an interview for this crime [film], but you’re going to see why he’s the perfect person to play slightly outside the box you’re used to seeing him in.”
I ran into the film’s two composers, Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, before they went into the theater to catch the psychological thriller. “It’s haunting but beautiful music,” Bensi promised. “Joel, he’s like, ‘Guys just do your thing and go over the top and make me tell you that you’ve gone too far,’” Jurriaans added. The result will have you feeling uneasy; at this screening, the audience jumped more than once.
STX then pulled out all the stops for a big bash next door at L.A. Live. You could get your yearbook photo taken (the film is about the past tracking you down and…um…giving you gifts) before walking in, and the resulting photo included Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton’s yearbook photos. Industrial lights twinkled everywhere and Wolfgang Puck provided ample eats (sweet summer corn tortellini – yum!). There were fun touches throughout with bottles of wine and presents with notes from Edgerton’s Gordo character placed throughout the party. When you got to your car there was even a creepy Gordo note under the windshield wiper.
It was a solid, grown-up, twisty first film from Edgerton and STX. The entertainment company’s next offering is director Billy Ray’s Secret in Their Eyes starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts, which hits theaters in November.
The Gift hits theaters on Friday.