Never say never is a motto Paul Gross says he now stands by. The veteran writer, producer, director and actor promised himslef after making the hard hitting Passchendaele he'd take it easier for his next film, but that wasn't exactly meant to be.
Gross's latest film is Hyena Road, a war drama about Canadian troops in Afghanistan weathering Taliban attacks while struggling to complete construction on a crucial highway link which he wrote, directs and co-stars.
Hyena Road brings us up close and personal with the men and women at work in a dangerous and often confounding conflict zone. We meet a sniper played by Rossif Sutherland, who becomes precariously implicated in the life of one of his targets — as well as the life of an alluring colleague (Christine Horne). There's an intelligence officer played by Gross, whose customary world-weary wisecracks — "Even the dirt is hostile" — veil a fundamental belief in the ethics of war. And the film introduces us to a legendary former mujahid known as The Ghost (Neamat Arghandabi) who, for mysterious reasons, is lured back into the battle zone to assist the Canadian forces. Also starring is Republic of Doyle veteran Allan Hawko as a soldier in the unit.
The performances are strong and take you right into the heart of what these soldiers are experiencing and feeling.
The film alternates between base life and the heat of the battle which successfully engages the audience making it an intense and thrilling experience. Gross shot the exteriors in Jordan substituting for Afghanistan, giving the film a realistic and more intense setting.
Paul Gross, and co-stars Rossif Sutherland, Alan Hawko and Christine Horne discussed working on the film during the Toronto International Film Festival.
Please click the link below for their interviews.
Hyena Road opens across Canada on October 9th.