Garrett Hedlund’s Moment
He stars in the disquieting drama, Mudbound
2004’s hit film, Friday Night Lights, about a small Texas town’s love for a high school football team, launched a hugely popular TV series and the career of its young star, Garrett Hedlund. The Minnesota native spent the next 13 years flexing his acting muscles in films such as 2010’s Tron: Legacy (a sequel of the 1984 sci-fi thriller, Tron), 2010’s Country Strong, in which he plays a country singer and shows off his excellent singing skills, 2013’s Jack Kerouac biopic On the Road, and this year’s moving period drama, Mudbound.
Set in rural Mississippi post-WWll, it tells the deeply disturbing story of two veterans, one white, Jamie (Hedlund), one black, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), returning home to their racist small town with full-blown PTSD and only each other to turn to for sympathy and friendship. A lot happens in the two families the young men come home to. Jamie turns to the bottle and his brother’s wife (Cary Mulligan) to forget the war, while Ronsel tries fruitlessly to retain any of the freedom he felt as a soldier in Europe, while stuck in the Jim Crow south.
Directed by Dee Rees, who helmed the fabulous Bessie Smith biopic, Bessie, Mudbound is getting just the right amount of attention to secure at least a few spots in the Oscar race come February, especially for the surprisingly talented singer-turned actor, Mary J. Blige, as Ronsel’s understanding mother.
Next up for Hedlund is the experimental storytelling series, Mosaic. Created by Stephen Soderbergh, who seems unstoppable these days, it’s about Olivia Lake (Sharon Stone) a children’s book writer and the two men in her life: Joel, played by Hedlund, a handyman and artist, and Eric (Frederick Weller), her suspicious romantic interest. How the story proceeds is up to those who download the free Mosaic app on their phones and build their own storylines. Fascinating!
Mosaic begins on January 22nd on HBO.