American Animals American Animals
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Meet the man behind your new favourite heist movie

You couldn’t make up the real life story behind American Animals - director Bart Layton gives us the low-down.

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American Animals

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Imagine the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done. Can you think of anything worse than someone recording it and putting it up on social media? How about someone turning it into a feature length film?

Bart Layton is behind two of the most intriguing films of the last few years. He was shortlisted for an Oscar and won a BAFTA for 2012’s The Imposter, the thrillingly told docu-drama about a man who impersonated a missing child. Now he’s back with a film that’s based on the unbelievable real life story of a bunch of college students who planned a heist.

We caught up with Bart about his new film and why true stories make such compelling films.
Bet you want to know more about American Animals after that - grab your old man disguise and let’s go!

Everything you need to know about American Animals

What’s the story?
In 2004, four bored college students decided to shake things up by... planning and executing an elaborate rare books heist.
American Animals
It took a lot of time to convince the real people to participate. There was a lot about the story that they were deeply ashamed of.
What is it?
A thrilling drama that incorporates a little bit of real life - slick editing sees the real guys weaved into some scenes, even talking to the actors playing their younger selves. The cast includes some exciting young stars, including American Horror Story’s Evan Peters and Dunkirk’s Barry Keoghan.
This is the closest representation of what it might look and feel like if you were to attempt to pull off a heist.
Does anyone dress up as an old man?
Yes! How did you know? Their cunning disguises involve fake moustaches and grey wigs. They are... not super convincing.
Being average is almost tantamount to being a loser these days. I think that was a big factor that was driving them to do what they did.
What are the critics saying?
American Animals is currently 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s being called one of the year’s smartest, most captivating films - fascinating, funny and #deep.

See for yourself; American Animals is out on 7 September. Book tickets to see your new favourite heist movie at Vue now.