Directed and co-written by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, The Mustang centers on Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a convict who takes part in a state-mandated social rehabilitation program. With the help of a veteran trainer (Bruce Dern) and a fellow inmate (Jason Mitchell), Roman gradually becomes adept at training his seemingly unbreakable mustang.
Schoenaerts’ diverse and acclaimed career (Rust and Bone, Far from the Madding Crowd) leads one to assume he would deliver a first rate performance in The Mustang, so the film’s biggest surprise is Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, whose self-assured direction anchors the narrative.
“It was a passion project,” said Schoenaerts. “(Laure) had been working on it for six years. She was very personally involved and engaged. She was fighting for it for many years. That was a trigger for sure. Then I read the script and I wasn’t aware of the existence of this very program so that was already fascinating because it had such a poetic but also synergistic quality to it.”
Click on the media bar to hear Schoenaerts talk about finding the right balance of horsemanship in The Mustang:
Executive produced by Robert Redford, The Mustang opens nationwide March 15.