MOSUL Producers Joe And Anthony Russo On Using AGBO To Tell The Stories That Matter - EXCLUSIVE

MOSUL Producers Joe And Anthony Russo On Using AGBO To Tell The Stories That Matter - <font color=red>EXCLUSIVE</font>

Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo talk to us about using their AGBO production label to tell stories and highlight actors the commercial Hollywood system might otherwise overlook...

Written and directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mosul tells the story of inexperienced Iraqi cop Kawa (Adam Bessa) who is rescued from a harrowing firefight by the elite Nineveh SWAT team. Quickly inducted into the rogue squadron led by the wise Major Jasem (Suhail Dabbach), the unit is under constant threat of attack, but determined to wipe out the remaining ISIS forces in their home. 

As we explained in our review, it's a hard-hitting movie which is a definite must-see when it arrives on Netflix this Thursday, November 26th. Recently, we had the opportunity to talk to producers Joe and Anthony Russo (Avengers: Endgame) about the role they played in bringing this story - based on the New Yorker article, "The Avengers of Mosul" - to the big screen. 

As the first movie developed through their AGBO production label (others include Extraction, Relic, and the upcoming Cherry), it's clear that Mosul means a lot to the filmmakers. With that in mind, we asked them to elaborate on using AGBO to tell stories like this and how it gives them the chance to highlight ideas and actors who might otherwise be overlooked by Hollywood studios.

Needless to say, we want to extend a huge thank you to both Joe and Anthony for discussing the movie with us, and you can find another conversation we had with them earlier this year right here.

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You've both had such huge success with the Marvel movies that your names being attached to a project like this is going to help it massively. Do you feel that using AGBO to highlight these unsung heroes in the SWAT team is almost your way of being able to give back and make sure a story as important as this gets the attention it deserves?

Anthony Russo: You know, it’s incredibly important to us. This goes back to our origins as filmmakers, to be honest with you. Joe and I started as no budget filmmakers in Cleveland where we’re from. We made a small film, that not a lot of people responded to. One of the few people that did respond to it was Steven Soderbergh. He encouraged us to make another movie and helped produce that, so we always have this feeling about ourselves that we may not have found our way into the filmmaking world had Steven not seen something in us he recognised as valuable, and supported that.

Ever since that moment, Joe and I feel we owe a Karmic debt to the universe to do that for other filmmakers, other voices, other stories that may not find their way through the system any other way. We think that’s really important. There’s something that artists can do or see in other artists and stories that sometimes the commercial filmmaking system doesn’t see or recognise as special. When we set up our new company, AGBO, while we were completing our run with Marvel, this was literally the first film we made and financed with our company. We couldn’t have been more proud to do something like that with this company. I don’t know that a movie like this would have been made any other way or in this way. We looked at that as our special privilege, opportunity, and even responsibility to bring a movie like this to the screen because we could.

I should mention that we could have never done that without partners like [executive producer] Mohamed [Al-Daradji]. It was very important to us to make sure that this movie came from the Iraqi point of view as much as possible, so our entire creative process included reaching out to partners like Mohamed to help us tell, fashion, and shape this story, helping keep it grounded, authentic, and specific, and Mohamed has been involved in that process every step of the way.

Between Extraction and now Mosul, a big part of AGBO seems to be finding and highlighting some incredible, diverse talents who can now go on to do so much more in Hollywood; is that a priority for you, and what would you say about what made Suhail [Dabbach] and Adam [Bessa] the right people to have so much of this story revolve around? 

Joe Russo: We grew up on international cinema. We lived down from a Cinema Tex and it was a very important part of our inspiration as storytellers. Having worked on the Marvel films, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world many times to promote them. We’re always fascinated by regional storytelling and the regional stories that we find. We do think that there’s a cyclical nature to Hollywood stories that can become incredibly redundant, and finding and celebrating other artists who have different points of view, inclusive of actors like Suhail who is literally as good of an actor as you could possibly find. Giving him an opportunity to shine in a part is not only gratifying for us, but necessary because of our fortunate position in the business. I think those are the kinds of things that get us out of bed everyday now: finding and celebrating different voices in storytelling and voices that excite us. 

Mosul arrives on Netflix this Thursday, November 26th. Check out the trailer for the movie below:

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