DON’T LET THE film’s title fool you. In The Bikeriders, the bikes in question are not the measly man-powered variety, they’re gritty choppers, and the ‘Bikeriders’ are not a social cycling group, but a wild, leather-clad motorbike club known as the ‘Vandals’, led by Austin Butler and Tom Hardy.
After working his way up the Hollywood ranks, Austin Butler surprised us all with his portrayal of the king of rock ‘n’ roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic. Butler’s performance elevated him from a niche actor in teen sitcoms to a veritable A-lister and brought him agonisingly close to capturing the Oscar for best actor. Details surrounding Butler’s next role have been elusive, but now we’ve been gifted with our first look at his next film.
The Bikeriders premiered at the Telluride Film Festival this week and its first trailer just dropped. Here’s everything you need to know about the film.
What is The Bikeriders about?
Inspired by Danny Lyon’s 1968 black-and-white photo and interview book, The Bikeriders reimagines the world of a Midwestern motorcycle club—this time in full colour. Jeff Nichols helms the film as director, writer and producer, in what is the most anticipated project of the acclaimed filmmaker’s career.
The book on which The Bikeriders is based is credited as one of the best documentations of 1960s biker culture and we can absolutely expect the upcoming film to immerse us in the high-octane, grease coated, untamed streets of Chicago in 1965, at the height of the city’s troubles with warring motorbike gangs.
The Bikeriders recounts the life and times of members of a fictional motorbike club, the Vandals, from the club’s establishment by a band of outsiders to its transition into a more sinister gang under the guidance of influential leader, Johnny. It’s Sons of Anarchy before the anarchy. The story will largely be told retrospectively through the eyes of Kathy, a “strong-willed” member of the club, and wife of the “wild and reckless” Benny.
As per the film’s synopsis, The Bikeriders will follow the Vandals’ leading members at a pivotal point in the club’s journey. “As life in the Vandals gets more dangerous, and the club threatens to become a more sinister gang, Kathy, Benny and Johnny are forced to make choices about their loyalty to the club and to each other.”
Who stars in The Bikeriders?
Leading The Bikeriders’ star-studded cast is Austin Butler, who will be keen to prove to audiences that his Oscars near-miss as Elvis was no fluke. Butler plays the erratic Benny, as the character grapples between allegiances to his wife and the leader of his club.
Jodie Comer, who won an Emmy for her work in Killing Eve, plays Butler’s wife and will be the primary voice of the Vandals’ story as Kathy. Comer’s character has been described as “strong-willed” and finds herself competing with the club’s leader for her own husband’s loyalty.
It would be nearly impossible to upstage Austin Butler as the biggest name in The Bikeriders, but Tom Hardy certainly comes close. The Venom, Mad Max: Fury Road and Peaky Blinders actor has expanded his range in recent years and will be taking on a role akin to Marlon Brando’s iconic portrayal of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Similar to Corleone, Hardy’s character, Johnny, leads a close-knit family in an unsavoury situation. But unlike the Corleone family, the Vandals haven’t yet resorted to crime, and are presently teetering on the edge of it. Johnny must either redirect his flock back towards the right side of the law, or lead their descent into mayhem.
The Bikeriders was met with widespread acclaim at its premiere in Telluride, so keep an eye on its main cast come awards season, as a slew of incoming high-profile nominations are a good shout.
When does The Bikeriders come out in Australia?
Having already premiered at the Telluride Film festival, The Bikeriders will be released in the US on December 1st, 2023. An Australian release date has not yet been set, but expect it to be in early 2024. Until then, a rewatch of Sons of Anarchy could be in order to ensure your excitement for anything biker-related is at fever-pitch.