If you haven't been watching HBO's Girls, and one can hardly be blamed for not wanting to, then you've seen Chris O'Dowd doing some of the strongest work of his career. Proving that he can exist just as well in the world of drama as in comedy, he's also making in-roads to show he can be a bankable leading man if given the opportunity. The Sapphires, a rather unique musical comedy hailing from Australia, had a lot of people talking about O'Dowd as a possible Best Actor nominee for awhile.
A new trailer for the film has been released as its March 22nd release date nears, giving us another look at an unexplored chapter in the histories of Motown and civil rights. Directed by Wayne Blair and based on Tony Briggs' stageplay about his mother, the film is set in 1968 at the height of the Motown era, and following four Australian Aborigines who form their own all-girl group in the mold of The Supremes. O'Dowd plays their shady but kind-hearted manager who takes them on the road to entertain the U.S. troops, while facing prejudice and violence around every turn.
I saw The Sapphires a few months ago(review to come at some point!), and while it's unabashedly a feel-good picture, it wastes a golden opportunity to do something new with a familiar premise. The prejudice the women face is consistently undersold in favor of cheap laughs. O'Dowd is strong, though, and the soundtrack is top notch, of course. It'll be interesting to see if American audiences can connect with a story like this surrounding an Indigenous people.