‘Warrior’ More Than Just A ‘Fighting Movie’

Co-stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and director Gavin O'Connor talk about the mixed martial arts film, in our Fall Movie Preview.

Film fans have never had it so good, given the increasingly massive number of movies released each year. The only problem with that enormous haul is that not all of them are great or memorable, no matter their box-office success. And while 2011 has already brought some great features, we here at MTV News are looking forward to the fall movie season with great anticipation, mostly because studios typically release some of their best projects between the months of September and December.

One of the finest of the fall slate is “Warrior,” a gritty and moving action flick about two brothers who face the fight of their lives in a mixed martial arts tournament. How do we know it’s great? Because we’ve seen it, and during the promotional run for the Friday release, the response among the other usually cynical reporters in attendance was extremely positive.

We caught up with stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and director Gavin O’Connor and asked whether they can feel that positive vibe as well.

“Yes, I can actually,” Hardy agreed. “And that’s a testament to Gavin O’Connor and Antony Tambakis for writing a great movie.”

“Absolutely,” Edgerton chimed in about the early critical response. “[You get it] from both men and women and all age groups, you definitely feel that. And to me, all good filmmaking comes down to taste,” he said. “If there’s a good taste put into every decision in terms of music and costume and the way something is shot and the words that are put on the page. There are so many decisions that go into making a movie and any bad decision can steer the ship in the wrong direction,” he explained. “It’s really rare when all of the decisions amount to a really good journey that works, and we’re very lucky to be a part of it.”

Director O’Connor (“Miracle,” “Pride and Glory”) said he felt lucky to have had the mixed martial arts (MMA) community open up to him, which allowed him to better capture the heart and soul of the sport. But he also expressed his hope that the fighting elements won’t lead moviegoers to believe the film is merely about blood sport.

“The preconceptions of this movie are, ‘Oh, it’s mixed martial arts; I don’t want to see it,’ because on paper [it may seem like one thing], but there’s a real artistry to the sport,” O’Connor explained. “There’s an athleticism to the sport that is at the highest level, and there is a spirituality to the sport that I hope I captured because I recognized it, I felt it. … In a way, the movie is not a fighting movie. It’s not a MMA movie but for that part of the film, for me, it’s a love letter to those guys and the sport.”

From “Abduction” to “Muppets, “Moneyball” to “Breaking Dawn,” the MTV Movies team is delving into the hottest upcoming flicks in our 2011 Fall Movie Preview. Check back daily for exclusive clips, photos and interviews with the films’ biggest stars.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Warrior.”

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