Like a lot of movies, this film had a better title during production: Animal Rescue. It had to do with a sub-plot about the rescue of a pit bull, and the movie’s central theme of rescue and redemption. But like a lot of movies, I guess the suits thought it wasn’t on-the-nose enough, and so instead we get the very generically retitled The Drop.
First of all, this is the last performance of James Gandolfini, shot in the spring of 2013, before his death later that summer. Secondly, its the first screenplay written by crime novelist Dennis Lehane, arguably the best crime novelist working today. Previous novels of his that have been turned into films are Gone, Baby, Gone, Shutter Island, and Mystic River. And as good as those films are, his books are better. They’re so well-written that something is often lost in the translation to screen. But with The Drop, this is the first time Lehane himself is penning the screenplay. Yet the origins of the story behind The Drop are a little more complex than just an original screenplay. Many, many years ago, Lehane tried to start a novel based on the idea, and he couldn’t complete it. A decade later he turned it into a short story called Animal Rescue. That eventually became the basis for this film, and Lehane agreed to adapt it himself into a feature length screenplay, and that begat the full-length novel version that’s releasing this September alongside the film. Lehane also wrote several episodes of The Wire, and serves as a writer and creative consultant on Boardwalk Empire.
Thirdly, the film is directed by Michael R. Roskam in his English-feature debut. Roskam previously directed 2011’s excellent Oscar-nominated Belgian crime film Bullhead, which featured a career-making lead performance from Matthias Schoenaerts. Schoenaerts has a supporting role in The Drop, and the film stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace in the male and female leads.