”I don’t normally go for hyperviolent things,” Keira Knightley says. But when the actress came upon this drama based on the adventures of model-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey, who died of undetermined causes on June 27, whatever reservations she might have had quickly toppled like so many…well, you know. ”The only thing I knew bounty hunters from was Star Wars. But I thought, ‘I fancy this! I fancy having a shotgun!”’
Director Tony Scott had been trying for more than a decade to develop a film about Harvey, the U.K.-born, Beverly Hills-raised daughter of Manchurian Candidate star Laurence Harvey, who traded her silver-spoon upbringing for a career running down fugitives. But he couldn’t get the project to fly until he brought in Donnie Darko writer-director Richard Kelly. ”I concocted this elaborate take on Domino’s story,” Kelly says. ”I wanted to do it as this punk-rock fever dream, in a very nonlinear, Rashomon style, and Tony sparked to that.”
Scott’s film had already shifted release dates from summer to fall when news broke that the real-life Harvey had died at age 35. New Line initially shifted the film back to August, then settled on October and confirmed there would be no reshoots or change in the marketing plan. For Scott, the film had always been only loosely inspired by Harvey’s life: He describes it as a cross between Taxi Driver and The Royal Tenenbaums — if you can imagine that. ”There’s no category, no box for it,” he says. It’s certainly tough to think of a box that would hold such an all-over-the-map cast, including Jacqueline Bisset (as Domino’s mother), Mickey Rourke (as her boss), and Christopher Walken (as a sleazy TV producer). ”It’s very funny, it’s very dark, and it’s very touching,” Scott says. ”It’s sex, drugs, rock & roll, and a little bit of violence.” Or hyperviolence, as the case may be.