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Posts Tagged ‘Paddy Considine’

Submarine – First pic from Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut

Posted by LiveFor on January 6, 2010


Richard Ayoade is the great comedy actor from The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. Now he has turned his eye to directing (after doing some music videos for the likes of The Arctic Monkeys) – I posted him chatting about this way back in October 2008.

It stars Paddy Considine and Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate and here is what that character has to say:

I have been waiting too long for the film of my life. My name is Oliver Tate. This film will capture my particular idiosyncrasies, for example, the way I seduce my classmate Jordana Bevan using only my mind. Also, since my parents’ marriage is being threatened by a man who runs courses on Mental and Physical Wellbeing, the film will probably feature some elaborate set-pieces of me taking him down. There will be helicopter shots. There will be slow-mo, but also transcendent moments, like when I cure my father’s depression. Knowing me as I do, I will be surprised if this film runs to less than three hours. Note to the press: appropriate adjectives to describe this film include “breath-taking” and “irresistible” as well the phrase: “a monumental achievement”.

Source: Twitch

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Red Riding to be made into a Ridley Scott film

Posted by LiveFor on October 15, 2009

red_riding_400Columbia Pictures has acquired rights to remake the U.K. miniseries Red Riding, and is negotiating with Steve Zaillian to write the script and Ridley Scott to direct according to Variety.

The miniseries was written by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and be sure to check out my interview with him about Red Riding. It was a great series – very dark and bleak – that starred Andrew Garfield, Sean Bean, Paddy Considine, David Morrisey, Rebecca Hall, Mark Addy and many more great actors.

The project, based on four David Peace novels, will be distributed in the U.S. this Autumn by IFC. Studio bought rights to the mini and the novel series.

Scott will produce through his Scott Free banner, along with Zaillian, through his Film Rites banner, and Andrew Eaton of Revolutionary Films, which produced the mini. Garrett Bosch of Film Rites will be executive producer.

The miniseries is a study of power and police corruption framed around the investigation of the disappearance of several young girls. For the pic, the setting will be transferred from Britain to the U.S. The mini clocked in at more than five hours, so Zaillian and Scott have their work cut out for them to compress it into one film.

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Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee – Shane Meadows Music Mockumentary

Posted by LiveFor on August 27, 2009

donk

Shane Meadows heads into Spinal Tap territory with this slight but entertaining mock rockumentary, obviously developed improvisationally with his most successful muse, Paddy Considine. Donk, a roadie and wannabe music mogul, is one of a gallery of east Midlands chancers Meadows has massaged into existence over the years; Donk first surfaced in a bunch of short films some time ago. It has taken them several years to convert the character to feature-length format, courtesy of an initiative Meadows is promoting to get films shot in five days.

Donk’s big hope is a chunky rapper going under the moniker of Scor-zay-zee (geddit?), who raps about vital topics such as sweating and Richard Bacon. Meadows himself takes a big slice of screen time, as Donk is forever breaking the fourth wall asking his director for advice – Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

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Paddy Considine – Red Riding, toys and rage.

Posted by LiveFor on March 3, 2009

After 10 years portraying loners, oddballs and psychopaths, Paddy Considine has decided it’s time to lighten up a bit. So why on earth is he playing a cop on the trail of the Yorkshire Ripper? He talked to Patrick Barkham of The Guardian.

The star of some of the most disturbing films made in England in recent years is mooching through the Toys of Yesteryear museum at a marina near his home in Burton-on-Trent. “Look at that little castle!” Paddy Considine exclaims with childlike wonder. “Look at that retro garage! It’s amazing!” He had a vast Star Wars collection, now passed on to his son, and still treasures his Happy Days figurines. “I’ve got Fonzie and I’ve got Richie and I’ve got Potsie. All of them in their boxes. Except for Fonzie.”

It feels unnervingly out of character for a working-class boxing fan renowned for his brutal turn as a grief-stricken soldier in Shane Meadows’ cult 2004 film, Dead Man’s Shoes, and perhaps best known for mainstream roles in Hot Fuzz and The Bourne Ultimatum. Reassuringly, Considine, who plays a detective investigating the Yorkshire Ripper in the pick of Channel 4’s superlative Red Riding Trilogy, is soon on more familiar territory. “That’s a really good toy machine gun,” he points. “And here’s Action Man. The business. The business,” he mutters, more to himself than anyone.

Considine no longer wants to portray action men, “guys who rely on their physical aggression. All you’ve got to do is turn up and have a few facial tics and be a lunatic and throw someone around the room or blow their brains out and people think it’s good acting,” he says. Considine is not a big man but, in the flesh, he is as intense as many of his characters. When he talks, he peppers his speech with “mate”, “man” and “brother”, unfolding his arms and lunging forward to emphasise a point. We sit outside a cafe close to the toy museum; he usually comes here with his three kids and feeds the ducks.

If Considine was in danger of being typecast as a man of violence, he did his best to allay it by portraying a panicky, man-bag toting Guardian journalist opposite Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum. He continues this middle-class career direction in 1980, the second of the Red Riding trilogy adapted from David Peace’s noirish novels about corruption in northern England. In the first, 1974, Andrew Garfield plays a Yorkshire Post journalist drawn into a nightmarish web of police corruption. In 1980, Considine is the hero as Peter Hunter, a (fictional) senior policeman parachuted in to probe West Yorkshire police’s shoddy attempts to find the Yorkshire Ripper. It is hard to do justice to the horror and suffocating sense of foreboding in the trilogy. It wasn’t just the sewing of the wings of a mutilated swan onto a murdered child, the torture of suspects with rats or the graphic explanations of how the Ripper killed his victims that made me feel physically sick, but a lurching realisation that, as 1980 neared its climax, Hunter was surrounded by evil. And almost every other character in the film was complicit in the conspiracy.

From his 1999 debut in Shane Meadows’ A Room for Romeo Brass to his comic turn as one of the local coppers in Hot Fuzz in 2007, Considine’s characters often start out calmly enough before erupting with suppressed rage. This explosive violence is present in his writing, too: he co-wrote Dead Man’s Shoes and, last year, won a Bafta for Dog Altogether, a short film he wrote and directed about a violent man’s relationship with his pet. Hunter, in contrast, is clean-shaven and wholesome, with a loving wife and a mild demeanour, and no hidden demons – apart from guilt. Considine seems good at conveying guilt. “Yeah. What does that say about me? What am I guilty of?”

Like Hunter, Considine believes that in real life he nearly fell victim to a conspiracy: a secret whispering campaign to stop him starring in 1980. “There was a very strong campaign, people who didn’t want me cast in this film,” he says. Why? “Just bullshit, really. And insecurity.” In the past, he says, “some people have even been frightened to direct me”. Is that because of your reputation? “I don’t know what my reputation was, I’ve no idea.” Was that part of this conspiracy against you? “I’m pretty sure it was,” he says, unwilling to explain precisely who was against him, or why.

It is all frustratingly opaque and, according to a senior member of the production, everyone loved Considine. Whatever went on, Considine’s contempt for those he felt were casting aspersions on his professional reputation does not extend to the director of 1980, James Marsh, who “fought to have me in this film, as his man”. And once Considine got started, he says, working with Marsh – who last month won both an Oscar and a Bafta for his documentary Man on Wire – was an “incredible” experience. “Good directors don’t bullshit you. They make you feel creative. That’s not blowing up your ego or filling you with lies – it’s when you go home at the end of the day and feel like you’ve contributed.”

Like Hunter, Considine feels like an outsider. He did not set out to be an actor and has no time for Hollywood. He still lives close to the council estate where he was raised in Burton-on-Trent. He was 18 when he met his wife, a graphic designer who is now full-time mother to their three young children, and met his friend and collaborator Shane Meadows a year earlier at Burton College. Considine got a first-class degree in photography from Brighton University and his portraits of boxers had been pub lished in the Guardian when Meadows, who also still lives nearby, invited him to play a role in A Room for Romeo Brass.

His “ordinary” lifestyle is not some kind of statement. He is as ambivalent as anyone about living in his home town: it can get a bit claustrophobic, he says, but it is handy for his eldest child’s school and their relatives nearby. “I wanted to be married, wanted to be a father. I’ve met some great people through [acting] but I don’t quite understand what living the life of an actor is. Does that mean poncing around Soho, falling out of the Groucho?” He gets stopped on the street, usually by men, who like to re-enact violent scenes from Dead Man’s Shoes. “If you’re in the mood it’s fine. I do take exception when I’m eating a pizza with my wife and children and someone knocks on the window and says ‘You, you cunt!’ and all that.”

In the past, Considine has talked of a “black hole” of childhood experiences from which he dredges his characters’ scary levels of anger. Is this where his understanding of violence comes from? He sighs. “Now I’m a little bit older – I’m 35 – I don’t want to trivialise my experiences and the people around me who I’ve got a massive amount of love and affection for. I didn’t grow up in hell. But there’s certain things that did shape the way that I am and my outlook on the world.”

In Dead Man’s Shoes, he played Richard, a soldier who returns from duty to find thugs have bullied his little brother and acts out a shocking retribution. Richard’s anger, he says, is drawn from how everyone feels at times. “Isn’t he how you feel? I dunno, I feel that way when kids are being broken in half by adults and having chocolate smeared on their faces. Don’t you feel that sometimes you want to lock yourself in a room with these people and spend half an hour giving them a good hiding? Doesn’t anybody in the dark recesses of their mind think, ‘You bastards, you deserve your back breaking, you deserve chocolate smeared over your face?’ That’s what Richard is – that frustration.”

It may be that in Red Riding’s blend of fiction and fact, the presence of the Yorkshire Ripper attracts the most publicity but, as Con sidine points out, the true story of Peter Sutcliffe is actually the backdrop to a much wider tale of corruption and evil. Nevertheless, the malevolent appearance of the Ripper, played by Joseph Mawle (Jesus in the BBC drama The Passion), at the physical and immoral heart of the trilogy, was an event for everyone. “That was one of the days on set when it was like there had been a snowfall. Everywhere was dampened and quiet. I remember just looking through the glass and just watching him. Joseph played him so beautifully and gently and humanely.”

Considine hopes “people don’t feel it’s propaganda for the Ripper”. The filmmakers spoke to Andrew Laptew, the real detective who interviewed Sutcliffe 15 months before he was caught and reported he could be the Ripper, but was ignored. “He said Sutcliffe was like a little frightened rabbit.” Currently serving life in Broadmoor for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven more, Sutcliffe could, it has been reported, be reclassified as a lower risk prisoner. Some have suggested he could then, in theory, be eligible for release. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” says Considine. “People are still reeling from what he did today. The scars are still there, the wounds are massively deep, and I think people would be happy if he never saw the light of day again.”

Considine describes his job as a “constant struggle”. He is currently out of work. “It’s a monster you’ve never got a grasp on; you’ve never got it cornered where you want it.” This is probably because he has taken the unusual step of refusing to audition for any role. “They want you to walk in and have your lines learned and be there pretending to thrash an imaginary sword around your head in some office in Soho. It’s like no, man, I find it disrespectful and impersonal,” he says. Only working with directors who approach him is “a trust thing, do you understand? I need trust. Now Hollywood hasn’t got time to set up trust. It hasn’t got time to nurture. You’re in and out.”

This attitude could be confused for grandiosity but it seems instead to come from self doubt. “As an actor it’s just not comfortable for me to watch [the film 1980]. All I see is a big fat head and the things I didn’t do in a scene or the things that I should’ve done. In some respects, mate, I don’t want this to sound stupid but I’m a bit of an anti-actor.” When he is asked to “act” in an orthodox way, he closes up. “Then I think I can’t act, I obviously can’t act. I say that to people and they go mad and I say, ‘You don’t understand, I can’t act.'”

Considine has turned his Bafta-winning short into a full-length script, Tyrannosaur, and is trying to raise funds to make it with Peter Mullan, a friend and co-star in the Red Riding Trilogy, in the lead role. A second project close to his heart is King of the Gypsies, a film he co-wrote with Meadows about Bartley Gorman, a legendary bare-knuckle fighter, who was befriended by Considine when he was a photographer. After taking his photograph, Considine joined him in visiting Reggie Kray (“It was like he was holding court still”) in prison. “I’ve been sent scripts, and these people love and enjoy violence, and get a buzz out of hurting others; think it’s gee-whizz. Bartley Gorman wasn’t that man. He’d seen violence and he’d inflicted it in his arena but he was so humane and brilliant and funny. He was the Muhammad Ali of the Gypsies.” Considine would have to turn red-headed and put on at least three stone for the role. “It’s possible.” He sounds defiant. “Stallone’s smaller than me, man. I’m ready to do it.”

The only time Considine veers into luvvie territory is when he talks about his band, Riding the Low. This, I say, sounds a bit like Russell Crowe, or any of those actors who dabble in hobby bands and vanity projects. He says he warned his band. “I said, ‘Actors in bands does not equal good stuff,’ but I can assure you, man, we are good and we’ve got some great songs. I’m more excited about that. I can talk about it and get animated whereas I look at my acting work and I just think,” he sighs, “I dunno – you decide.”

I wonder at the similarities between Considine and Crowe: both express contempt for celebrity, are studiedly anti-metropolitan, form bands with dodgy names and love boxing. The pair worked with each other on boxing flick Cinderella Man but Considine does not think much of the comparison. “He [Crowe] was telling me about how he went to LA and had no money and he got paid nothing to do his first few jobs, and he grinded it out. That’s the difference. I’m not doing that. I don’t want the world and everything in it. I really don’t. My only problem is the pressure I put on myself.”

Considine wonders whether I am going to write about the “conspiracy” against him. Extras, he almost spits, give filmmakers a harder time than he does. “The people who know, know, and they would work with me any day of the week.” He strides ahead with a new urgency, dragging the toes of his shoes into the footpath. “I just want to do a good job. What’s wrong with that?” He is almost speaking to himself now. “I just don’t want to be bull-shitted. What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that, son?”

Red Riding starts on Thursday, 9pm, Channel 4.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Red Riding Trailer
Interview with Tony Grisoni – Screenwriter
Interview with Sean Bean

HOMEDiscuss in the Forum

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Red Riding – Teaser Trailer

Posted by LiveFor on February 26, 2009

I interviewed Tony Grisoni recently. He is the screenwriter for this trilogy of films based on David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet.

Mark Addy (The Full Monty), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), Jim Carter (Cranford), Warren Clarke (Dalziel and Pascoe), Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum), Andrew Garfield (Boy A), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Sean Harris (24 Hour Party People), John Henshaw (Early Doors), Gerard Kearns (Shameless), Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake), David Morrissey (Sense and Sensibility), Daniel Mays (White Girl) Peter Mullan (Boy A), Maxine Peake (See No Evil), Saskia Reeves (The Fixer) and Lesley Sharp (Afterlife) are amongst the amazing cast that are set to star.

Here’s the teaser trailer and the first film is shown in Channel 4 in the UK on 5th March.

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Red Riding – Interview with screenwriter Tony Grisoni at Channel 4 HQ on adapting David Peace’s novels (also some Don Quixote news).

Posted by LiveFor on February 18, 2009

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Channel 4 HQ in London for a screening of the 3 part film adaption of David Peace’s Red Riding series of books. Channel 4 wanted to try and experiment and see how bloggers could help them spread the word about new films. Happy to take them up on their offer I headed on down to the big smoke and the impressive Channel 4 building.

David Peace’s other novel, The Damned United, about Brian Clough is also due out in cinema’s next month (Check out the trailer).

However, I was there to look at Red Riding (check out the official Channel 4 site for it). It is made up of three films, Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty-Three. They start on Channel 4 on 5th March and should hopefully have a cinema release around the world at some point.

Each of the three films had a different director – Julian Jarrold (White Teeth, Kinky Boots, Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire), and Anand Tucker (Shopgirl)- and have some big name actors attached (Sean Bean, Paddy Considine and Warren Clarke amongst others).

Arriving at Channel 4 I was greeted by Murray Cox who had arranged it all and then ushered into a screening room on the 3rd floor where I was introduced to the screenwriter Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). A jolly, nice chap who you could tell loved the films and the whole process of making them. Also present were Niall from Screen Rant and Matt and Ambrose from FILMdetail.

Sitting down with a cup of tea and a choccy biscuit we were then shown a selection of clips from the three films before a Q & A session with Tony. We would discuss these films and also touch on his work with Terry Gilliam on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

The three films look great. It opens with a dead woman with swan wings stitched to her back and then heads full pelt through a series of murders, police corruption, investigations, affairs, fights, Sean Bean’s accent being used in the correct environment, arson, Austin Allegros and redemption. All against the back drop of the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (funnily enough it was announced today that Peter Sutcliffe is supposedly fit to be released according to some specialists).

It has loads of actors and actresses who you have seen in film and television. The bloke who was the Next Doctor in the recent Dr Who special, the young woman from dinnerladies, the chubby bloke from The Full Monty and the guy who played Deja Vu in Top Secret! (Respectively David Morrissey, Maxine Peake, Mark Addy and Jim Carter). All of the acting appears to be top notch. Sean Bean is particularly good from what I saw. He is suitably sleazy and very menacing for his role as property developer, John Dawson.

This is the press release on the films.

Andrew Garfield returns to Channel 4 following his Bafta-winning performance in Boy A, joining an ensemble cast of celebrated actors in Red Riding, an ambitious, dark, and thrilling trilogy of interlinking films adapted by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) from David Peace’s cult noir novels.

The crime trilogy boasts an all-star cast including; Mark Addy (The Full Monty), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings), Jim Carter (Cranford), Warren Clarke (Dalziel & Pascoe), Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Sean Harris (24 Hour Party People), John Henshaw (Early Doors), Gerard Kearns (Shameless), Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake), David Morrissey (The Deal), Daniel Mays (White Girl), Peter Mullan (Boy A), Maxine Peake (Shameless), Saskia Reeves (The Fixer) and Lesley Sharp (Afterlife).

The three x 120 minute films, airing as part of C4’s winter 2009 schedule, are set in Yorkshire in the 1970s and 80s. Produced by Michael Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton’s production company, Revolution Films, each film in the trilogy will be directed by a separate big name director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

1974, Yorkshire – a time of paranoia, mistrust and institutionalised police corruption. Rookie journalist Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) is determined to search for the truth in an increasingly complex maze of lies and deceit that characterises a police investigation into a series of child abductions.

In the second episode, directed by Marsh and set in 1980, The “Ripper” has tyrannised Yorkshire for six long years, and with the local police failing to make any progress, the Home Office sends in Manchester officer Peter Hunter (Considine) to review the investigation. Having previously made enemies in the Yorkshire force while investigating a shooting incident in 1974, Hunter finds himself increasingly isolated when his version of events challenges their official line on the “Ripper”.

In the final instalment, directed by Tucker and set in 1983, another young girl has disappeared and Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson (Morrissey) recognises some alarming similarities to the abductions in 1974, forcing him to come to terms with the fact that he may have helped convict the wrong man. When local solicitor John Piggott (Addy) is persuaded to fight this miscarriage of justice he finds himself slowly uncovering a catalogue of cover ups.

Head of Channel 4 Drama, Liza Marshall said: “I am thrilled to be able to bring a project with such outstanding acting, writing and directing talent to Channel 4. The three films are bold and ambitious and together will form an epic television event.”

Red Riding has resulted from Channel 4’s first look deal with Revolution Films (The Road to Guantanamo). Red Riding is written by Tony Grisoni; produced by Anita Overland and Wendy Brazington; and executive produced by Andrew Eaton.

“This is the North. We do what we want.”

Once we had taken all that in it was over to Tony. The questions are a mix of those asked by the other two bloggers and myself.

How do the 3 films tie together?

3 full length films, they work so that 1983 revisits 1974 and you see things from a slightly different perspective and then the middle one, 1980 is against the background of the Yorkshire Ripper but the characters roll all the way through the 3 of them.

The original idea of the novels, it’s basically fiction around a true event?

The novels where a quartet, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983, and what David Peace talks about, he says it’s fiction torn out of the facts.

There are 4 books and 3 films. Was that your decision?

No, it started out that we’d make all four and I wrote all four, but filmmaking is capital intensive and we didn’t have enough money to do all four and we then had a choice. We could have made all four but made them shorter and I’m so glad it didn’t go that way. These tales are not just about cops and robbers. Making them shorter would have forced us into a vagueness of narrative and you wouldn’t have had chance to have these incredible atmospheric moments that David Peace wrote in the books that we tried to mirror in the films. It seemed to make more sense to make three. It was then a question of how do you do it? Do you take a couple to pieces and feed them into the others, but in the end I decided to just drop 1977 out cleanly. This was for a number of reasons. One is that the others seemed to work really well as a trilogy and the other thing is it leaves 1977 untouched and I hope we can possibly go back and make that at some point.

Another thing I noticed from watching it was the films seem to be police vs journalists, then police vs police and then police vs people. Is that something you planned or was it in the original books?

This is an adaption. I trusted those books and I trusted David’s writing and so I treated those as the truth. What was there I took and then had to turn it into a screenplay. What happens in 1974 is that what you’ve got is very complex. You’re with a young journalist and it’s not quite journalists against cops. It’s a particular journalist. A young guy. He’s a typical film noir hero. He’s libidinous, he’s lazy, he’s selfish, self obsessed young man. What happens with him, he starts off by just being out for himself, but then he’s got this thing in that he has to know what happened. He wants to find the truth and so he goes further and further down that path and eventually he gets to a point where he needs to know the truth more than anything, more than his own safety or anything. He kind of changes as it goes along.

The second one is very much the police against their own. Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine)is on a Home Office investigation that he has to keep to keep to himself and he has to investigate corrupt police and as it said in that clip how deep does the rot go?

The third one is a two hander. You’ve got two main characters. You’ve got Morris Jobson, a policeman, who has gone along with corruption all the way through and has finally reached a point where he is going to do what he should have done a long time ago, like nine years before so it’s quite redemptive in many ways. Then you’ve got John Piggot (Mark Addy?). I really like his character, he is wonderfully disgusting. He’s a damaged man. A lousy solicitor, but again, he wants to know what really happened. Although he doesn’t feel quite up to being a champion that is what he becomes.

The thing about David’s fiction and these films we made is that they are quite complex pieces. There isn’t good and bad. It is more like what it is like out there. It’s all these different levels of good and bad. They are not comic book heroes. They are fractured people. They are a bit like you and me.

How do you think it will go down in the North and South of England?

(Laughing) Where are you drawing the line? I think West Yorkshire will enjoy it. As you can hear I’m not a Yorkshire man. Just to misquote David Peace again, he was Yorkshire born and bred although he wrote these in Tokyo. He’s got a very complex relationship with that area but he believes, and I agree with him that particular crimes happen in particular places to particular people. It’s for a reason and in the 70s and 80s Yorkshire was a hostile place. The UK was a pretty hostile place and he would say that that area in that period was hostile particularly to women. That’s a Yorkshire man talking but I agree with him. I say that about Yorkshire but I could do that for London or anywhere else.

Do you think Life on Mars fans will get into it? As the look in the 1974 one had that feel to it.

Well it is the period, but there are a few more teeth in this one! I think one of the interesting things when I see lots of cuts of these is that I forget about the period. I follow the drama and I’m following the characters. One of the exciting things for me is that you’ve got three full length films, three different directors, three different styles, so what are you following? You are following the characters and it is a real joy I’ve found to see how the characters change. There is a young man called BJ who starts off as a silly little rent boy and who ends up a son of Yorkshire and a hero. That’s a beautiful path for him. So you follow these people and the way we structured the films was the way the novels were structured. Your main character bows out but the more minor characters that you’ve got to know a little bit then come to the fore in the next one and so it is like baton passing. I think that is why you are going to watch to find out what happens to these people and why things happen to them. I hope that is so interesting and so involving that you won’t look at how big the lapels are.

Did the directors have much to do with each other or did they look after their own thing?

The whole thing was very much a team effort right from the beginning in that everyone spoke to everyone else. You were always aware of two more of these films going on at the same time. Having said that the idea was always that they should have the freedom to make the film they wanted to make. You have them on very different formats. You have 1974 which is on 16mm. 1980 is shot on 35mm and 1983 shot digitally, but beautiful digital. They all have very different tones. They all feel different films and again what goes through though are those characters. That’s what is leading you through and it is an interesting experience. Again, I think the more involved you become in the characters everything else falls back.

What was the hardest thing when you got the novels about changing them into a workable screenplay?

What to leave out. The novels are so full and they are such full on experiments. David uses all kinds of different styles of writing. You’ll feel like you are reading American detective fiction where all the action is pushed through on dialogue without any stage direction and then he’ll go to stream of consciousness where there is no punctuation for blocks of text. It is very full on. I was spoilt. These novels were gifts. The other thing was, that was quite amazing, I was getting total freedom. I wasn’t having someone saying “Oh can you do all the outlines and treatments” and all that kind of stuff which when you do, makes you kind of bored and it’s like homework then. I just ploughed in.

Fortunately, because I got a main character leading the first one, a main character leading the second one and then two characters, what’s great is that you tell the story from their perspective so you only know what they know. You cannot know anything outside and that gave me a really solid framework. That was like the sheet anchor that helped me stay on course. Then I just waded in and started writing a very long first draft of it that I then pared down. The main difficulty was that.

The other thing was the books are written where they ask more questions than are ever answered. Part of the darkness of the books is that some narrative strands kind of disappear off into the darkness and you can never know everything. We employed a woman whose job it was to take those novels to pieces and she gave me cross referenced charts. We had to uncover all those strands so we knew what we were dealing with. The screenplays had to be a little more tied down than the novels but I didn’t want to do it too much otherwise you destroy the feeling of them. That was pretty tricky.

There were lots of emails between me and David Peace in the lead up to me writing it and then he came over. We had a six hour meeting and I just grilled him, “Why did they do that? Why did that character go there?” Of course this was all in David’s past so he had to start digging again, but he was really generous and always very helpful. If he knew the answers he’d tell me. If he didn’t he’d try and find out and if it didn’t quite add up then we’d have conversations about what might be the story.

How happy where you with the cast as there are some big names in there?

How could I not be happy with that cast! I was just knocked out by them.

Did you picture any of them when you were writing the screenplay?

No. When I am writing they are just characters in my head, but when the casting starts to come together it adds another level to it. I don’t want to mention any particular names as they are all so good.

At what point where the directors brought in? Was that before you’d finished the scripts?

They came in after we had locked off the scripts. They weren’t completely locked off because that would have been kind of daft. I started in early 2006. By the beginning of 2007 we had three scripts. We went through about 2 or 3 drafts. Then the directors came in. Having said that I met James Marsh at the Edinburgh Festival and we started talking. He became attached to these projects way before anyone was officially approached. He knew the material and because we were in touch he stuck his flag in 1980.

Most people will know David Peace from The Damned United becoming an unlikely bestseller. Was this all green lit before that success?

Oh yeah. I wouldn’t say green lit but I was working on it before Damned United.

How long where you on the project?

3 years. It started in early 2006 Andrew Eaton from Revolution Films made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. The thing is I knew Andrew because I’d worked with Michael Winterbottom on In This World. That film about those 2 Afghanistan boys being smuggled and working on that film was one of the best filming experiences I’ve had. The whole thing about Revolution Films is that if they make that call you know it is going to be a challenge. The chances are you are going to be asked to do something you don’t think you can really do or you are scared of doing. Go to Afghanistan. Adapt 4 novels into films inside a year and a half.

Are these 3 films going to be released in cinemas around the World?

There are plans. Things are being looked into. I’d be really interested to see how the States take them. I think they could really do well in the States. They’ve got a feel to them. They owe a lot to film noir and American detective movies of the 40s and 50s.

It reminded me a lot of Zodiac. The density of it.

Yeah. I agree. It will be very interesting to see how it does.

What are you going to be doing next?

I’ve just finished worked on an extraordinary film that is a First Film directed by Sam Mortimer in Nottingham that concerns a little girl who is in care. That was quite an experience. We wrapped that film just before Christmas. Also last year I directed a film I wrote. It was a 20 minute short which is set in the Kurdish community in North London where I live and so right now I’m writing the feature version of that called Kingsland.

I’m helping Terry Gilliam put Don Quixote back in the saddle.

What are they going to do with the film that never was (as seen in Lost in La Mancha)?

There was only 5 days shooting.

Is it really looking like a go this time?

Absolutely. 100% (this said with a smile on his face)

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