Pine, Mackenzie reunite for historical epic ‘Outlaw King’

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Pine, Mackenzie reunite for historical epic ‘Outlaw King’

If you want to see an exhausted Chris Pine, meet him after he’s spent a day answering questions about his penis.’

Following the September premiere of David Mackenzie’s “Outlaw King,” in which Pine stars as the Scottish hero Robert the Bruce, conversation at the Toronto International Film Festival focused largely on Pine’s moment of full-frontal nudity in the film. That such a brief moment should arouse such curiosity was for Pine a sad but telling commentary.

“The fact that visions of nudity, genitalia, making love are somehow the main attraction,” said an exasperated Pine in an interview alongside Mackenzie. “All of us go ‘Oo oo!’ like fifth graders. Literally, it’s like talking to a bunch of 14 year-olds, whereas beheadings and all that kind of violence we’re so inured to that we don’t even question it.”

The irony is that Pine’s Bruce is a negotiation with traditional gender roles, even amid all the blood and guts. Pine plays the 14th century King of Scots who won Scottish independence from England, not as a one-dimensional warrior, but a man riven with internal conflict. Scenes with his wife (played by Florence Pugh) are sensitive and tender.

When it’s pointed out that his performance seems intended to deconstruct traditional masculine archetypes, Pine immediately brightens.

“I’ve been dying to talk about this stuff all day and we’ve gotten just myriad, mind-numbing questions about nonsense,” Pine replies. “I do think there needs to be a rebalancing of the world. The underlying bass note that we should be hearing is: That is precisely what we’re all used to and isn’t it kind of interesting that it’s so skewed that way, that any notions of tenderness or lovemaking on screen becomes uncomfortable? I think that’s probably the masculine and the feminine out of whack in this big, wide universe.”

“Outlaw King,” which debuts on Netflix and in select theaters Friday, is the streaming service’s first big swing at that classic big-screen thing: the historical epic.

It reunites Pine with Mackenzie two years after “Hell or High Water,” a high-water mark for both the Scottish filmmaker and for Pine, who calls the Oscar-nominated neo-Western “one of my most cherished experiences making anything.”


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