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Interview with Rupert Jones

Interview with Rupert Jones

Posted on 08 November 2017 by Chris Ford

 

Kaleidoscope a new film  written and directed by Rupert Jones opens in UK cinemas on 10th November.  The film a drama inspired by the work of Hitchcock and Polanski. At the heart of this modern day Psycho are some unsettling questions: Can we ever escape the role in which we are cast by our early circumstances? Must a perpetrator first be a victim?

Staring  some amazing British talent in the form of Toby Jones, Anne Reid and Sinéad Matthews Kaleidoscope immerses us in the world of middle-aged Carl (Jones), recently released from prison, who is trying to adjust to life on the outside. His bleak life is challenged by the arrival of his controlling mother (Reid) just as he embarks on his first date in 15 years. The film is a twisted and tangled delve into one man’s psyche, as influences of past and present collide in his tortured mind. 

We recently spoke to Director Rupert Jones about the film:

Kaleidoscope film written directed by Rupert Jones starring Toby Jones photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography

 

Where did the idea of KALEIDOSCOPE come from?

I’m never sure where ideas come from. This began with the notion of a man who wakes to find a dead body in his bathroom and with no memory of how it got there. Everything came from that, really. How did the body get there? And what to do now? The next big idea, I suppose, was the notion that the man’s mother would be the quasi detective of the piece.

How did you go about setting the tone – what did your DoP help bring for the aesthetic?

I guess the two biggest aesthetic choices were that we were going to imagine that the previous tenants of the flat had lived there for decades without changing anything; and that we were going to light the film with hard shadows and pretty severe contrast. Philipp Blaubach, the DP, was absolutely tireless. Some of the more challenging shots are in the film because of his dedication. Even though we were working six day weeks, Philipp built a large scale kaleidoscope at home which enabled us to get the interior shots of the kaleidoscope. He was also, along with the grip Chris Rusby, instrumental in making the stair shots attainable.

What has it been like working with your brother, Toby?
I’ve worked with Toby a couple of times before, so I knew we’d function okay. We see a fair amount of each other, so we’re quite used to communicating. Given that it was such a quick shoot, there isn’t much time for anything outside the work and I think we’re both professionally minded, which is to say there for the same reason – to realise the script.

How did you get Anne Reid and Sinead Matthews involved?
I met Sinead through a casting director. Given her character’s nefarious motives in the film, it was important to cast someone we instantly liked. Sinead is very alive and charismatic and sexy, so it was fairly easy to see her in the part straight away. There were various issues that complicated the casting along the way, so it was not until we were well into pre-production that we cast her. Thankfully she said yes. Casting Anne was actually quite straight forward. She’s a fantastic and intuitive actor with great authority, which is the bottom line for me. When we approached her, she asked to meet and we did and she agreed. I think she was intrigued and challenged by the script and rather relished the prospect of playing against type.

Is there a specific reason that London felt right for the setting?
Not really. I guess it was the most convenient and realistic.

The film has been noted as a modern-day Hitchcockian and Polanksi-esque drama; what inspired you in the writing and final directing stage?
Any mention of Hitchcock or Polanski in relation to the film feels very flattering. The challenge of holding the audience in a state of suspense was something I was really interested in from a craft point of view. As a writer, I wanted to engineer a story that worked in that way, I was interested in the demands of that kind of structure. I watched a number of Hitchcock films, as I was writing, but I couldn’t point to any specific aspect. I was interested in he Tenant which is a film that rather haunted me when I was a child – it’s strange atmosphere, and that somehow i was dealing with things beyond my field of experience.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?
Yes, a few things in various states of completion. But I’d rather not say what these are. Superstition.

 

 

KALEIDOSCOPE – RELEASED IN UK CINEMAS 10TH NOVEMBER

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Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Posted on 17 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Churchill‘ the new film starring Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson covers the story of Winston Churchill around the time leading upto D-day and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort. To celebrate the release we were recently invited to a cigar masterclass with Edgar Zavoronkovs , cigar sommelier for ‘The Den’ a soho cocktail bar with ajoining Cuban cigar humidor and sampling lounge.  After the event we took the oppertunity to pick Edgars brain on a few cigar basics.

Edgar Zavoronkovs – humidor sommelier at The Den, Wardour Street.

If I were new to cigars what would be a good first introduction?

All depends on your personal taste. If you not smoker at all (like cigarettes, pipe, etc) there would be good to start with something light, like R&J or something very classic, like Partagas D4 or any Cohiba Siglo expressions

What difference do the different types of cutter make to cigars?

There is 3 main types of cigar cuts. Straight Cut/ V-cut/ Punch. Depends on the cut there is the way how smoke will build and concentrate on the pallet. Straight cut will be smoother, V cut will be in the in the middle and punch will concentrate all the smoke in one point.

New world (or non Cuban) cigars often come in cellophane wrappers, when I’m storing them should the wrapper stay on or be removed?

It’s absolutely  no difference, how you store them(in cellophane or not) as long as humidor is kept in the right condition and maintained regularly.

What is the best drink to accompany a Cuban cigar to complement the flavour?

Depends on timing. Champagne will help to clean the pallet during the smoke. Sweet juices, like pineapple will smother the strong cigar taste, sour cocktails will refresh the taste and whiskey or brandy can definitely compliment the cigar.

Enjoying a Old Fashioned and Cuban Cigar at The Den, 100 Wardour Street

What is the best way to light my cigar?

There is no best way. As long as the foot of the cigar is lighted correctly and evenly, it will guarantee the smooth smoke. Just don’t use petrol lighters, just neutral gas/ fire.

How long do cigars improve for as they age and do they ever get to a point where they deteriorate?

Cigar age very well and can develop in different way, not always the best, but it’s always beneficial to age cigars. Also, mould can build up, but it’s just indicator, how humidor is maintained and it’s absolutely ok.  It can be removed with old shaving brush.

Why do some cigars age better than others?

Cigar taste is very personal. But’s in general it’s all about quality of Tabaco leaves.

What do I need to do to store my cigars correctly why do they need to be humidified?

Basic humidor (around £75) will do the trick for 15-25 cigars. As long as the right humidity level is there.

How is it that different cigar brands can taste so different when they are all made of tobacco grown in the same area?

It’s all about strength of the leaves and age of cigar leaves.

Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

What is your favourite cigar and why?

I’m the big fan of Vegas Robaina. It’s the only independent Cuban brand and they are more light-medium body and guarantee creamy, chocolate-vanilla smoke.

What is your favourite vitola?

I will go for COhiba esplenditos.

Apart from Cuba, what country grows the best tobacco in your opinion?

Davidoff is pretty good, because they use Wrapper/ Binder and Filler from different regions.

Where have all the skinny cigars gone?

They all still there on the market. Basicaly Cohiba Lanceros is a skinny one and this is how the Cohiba brand starts.

The film ‘Churchill’ is about to be released, Churchill was a famous cigar smoker what brand of cigars did Churchill smoke?

Churchill used to smoke a lot of cigars, but all of them were very properly hand-rolled cigars. He liked large Maduros cigars particularly, but he never used to smoke them more than halfway down for some reason! Romeo y Julieta, La Aroma de Cuba and Camacho (pre-revolution brands) were also his favourites. He would receive cigars direct from the President of Cuba.

CHURCHILL IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD NOW COURTESY OF LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT

COMPETITION – Win one of three sets of Signed Churchill Poster and DVD by Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson

just shoot us a email to enterthecomp@gmail.com and tell us Churchills surname.

Three winners will be picked at random from all entries recieved by Monday 30th October 2017 at 9am.

The Den – modern Soho meets old school drinking den with a classic grassroots soundtrack and stay all night vibe. Sample laid back cocktails, live music sessions and for cigar aficionados, a straight out of Havana hideaway with hand rolled cigar selection and humidor.

http://www.thedenwardour.com/

The Den, 100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TN

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Interview – Film Weapons Master Tim Wildgoose

Interview – Film Weapons Master Tim Wildgoose

Posted on 15 May 2017 by Chris Ford

Tim Wildgoose (left)  photo from @AccessTheAnimus

Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Tim Wildgoose who has built a career as  Weapons Master for a number of amazing film and tv shows including Band of Brothers , Transformers, Edge of Tomorrow and now the new Assassin’s Creed movie which is out on DVD and Bluray today, here’s what he had to say

 

How did you get into the weaponry side of movie making in the first place?

I am a huge film-fanatic and wanted to work on films from as early as I can remember – I always wanted to work for Industrial Light and Magic and make props on a Star Wars movie.  I ended up doing a degree in sculpting and model making at the university of Hertfordshire aimed towards prop making.  I landed some work experience in my second year on a HBO/Dreamworks TV show that was shooting nearby called Band of Brothers and ended up doing the entire shoot of the series with the Armoury department dealing with the weapons and firearms on set and it turned into a career making weapons for movies that has lasted around 20 years so far.

Band of Brothers prop gun, photo from Prop Store .com

Do the actors ever have input into the weapons you use in production? I have read for example Daniel Craig likes to be involved in the watches, weapons etc used in a film.

Occasionally actors will have input into the weapons but these will usually be in the form of the practicality of a particular weapon’s use when on set. For example, extending a sword handle so it is easier for them to use in a fight scene.  Sometimes an actor will request a certain weapon to use but generally it is down to myself, the director and production designer as to what they will carry and to design the look of them.

In films where the weaponry is from the future or a different world it seems the guns at least tend to have a base of an existing weapon what’s the reasoning generally for this?

Very often a weapon will be required to fire blank rounds on set in order to get a flash on the actors face and surrounding scenery/set as they fire to help the VFX department add and tie-in the actual projectile/laser/whatever that should be coming out of the end of the weapon later in post-production.  Also some actors like the feedback/noise etc that firing an actual firing gun gives them when acting.

The regular way to do this is to build the futuristic weapon around an existing blank firing gun or mechanism as this saves time and money as you already have a fully working mechanism ready-made and engineered to reliably fire blank rounds.

This then has a knock on effect of having the outer-shell of the weapon resembling in some way the blank firing gun inside it.

There are other methods to achieve this and more so now with the help of better VFX, so the requirement for a blank firing gun inside is not always necessary anymore.  I have worked on movies recently where the usual blank firing mechanism has been replaced with a super-bright LED in the barrel and a recoil mechanism – meaning the design/shape of the weapon does not have to stick to any particular design constraints.

Assassins Creed

You worked on things like Band of Brothers, is it hard to source period accurate weapons for something like that?

I worked for a well-known and long established armourer called Simon Atherton on that job who sourced all the weapons for Band of Brothers.  There are many armoury companies based all over the world that keep a stock of a selection of all period weapons so it is not too much of a problem for movies to get hold of what they require. Any particular items that do not exist or are difficult to source can also be built/reproduced.

Band of Brothers

You have just worked on Assassins Creed, how close to the video game did the characters weaponry have to be or were you given freedom to come up with something new for the movie?

It was a good mix of both. We knew we wanted to keep the fans happy so we tried to cram as many of the games weapons into the movie as possible. So many of the scenes and some minor characters have weapons faithfully reproduced from the games hidden in the background.  We considered these the ‘Easter Egg’ weapons.  As a fan myself it was a pleasure to reproduce some of these iconic weapons that I myself had played with in the game over the years.  We also had some of our actors playing actual characters out of the games so again we faithfully reproduced these as closely as possible.

Then we had our new characters and Assassins – Aguilar, Maria and so on – unique to this movie which made up the rest.  We spent a long time with director Justin Kertzel designing and making our own versions of the wristblades, mechanisms and other Assassin weapons and tried to come up with weapons that were interesting and new while still keeping within the realms of the established Ubisoft/AC universe.

Assassin’s Creed

 

Filming in the UK where the gun restrictions are a lot stricter than places like the US how does that affect the weapons you would like to use / source for a Particular film?

This has little/no effect, it is very hard to get a section 5 licence required by the government to hold certain firearms but licence holding armourers have no problem sourcing what they require when they do.

 

I’ve seen in the past actors use a combination of real guns and rubber prop guns, when we are watching at home when does the gun tend to be the rubber kind and what’s the purpose of them?

Generally rubber guns are used as a safety element to protect an actor doing a stunt, for example if an actor is jumping or falling we will use a rubber weapon in case they were to fall on it to prevent injury. The rubber weapon bends and in most cases is indistinguishable from the real thing unless close up. Real guns are heavy and there is a lot of weight behind them that could cause a lot of damage if it was to hit you.  We also use rubber weapons in a situation where a person might get hit/struck with a weapon as part of the story, for example clubbed round the back of the head with a pistol – A very soft rubber pistol might be used here.

How much training does an actor get with a weapon on say something like Assassins Creed?

This depends on the weapon. Generally, actors will do weeks if not months of training with the stunt teams/fight coordinator in most case using the weapons, or as close as possible, the weapon that they will be using in the movie. We want the actor to look like the sword or whatever they are carrying as a character is second nature to them.  In the case of firearms, actors will usually go through a safety training/profficiency course with the firearms they will be using beforehand.

 

Assassins Creed

Brandon Lee famously died due to live rounds being placed in a gun instead of blanks, since then has safety been stepped up a lot to ensure things like that never happen again?

Arrghhh this question! sorry but I get asked this a lot.

In the Brandon Lee case my understanding was a series of unfortunate and avoidable events that occurred due to negligence and was not the case of having a live round making its way into a blank firing gun.  Any professional movie armourer would never have live rounds on a movie set for obvious reasons. Many checks are made to make sure this kind of thing cannot happen and blank firing guns cannot generally fire a live round due to the way they have to be altered to enable them to fire a blank round.

Other safety checks are in place as well, for example barrels are checked regularly/religiously for anything lodged inside. Where possible weapons will not be fired directly at an actor, as more often than not this can be achieved by ‘cheating’ the weapon a little to the side, so from the cameras perspective it looks like an actor is being shot when in reality the weapon is pointed elsewhere

What’s the most exciting project you have personally worked on and why?

Assassins Creed has been my favourite project to date, firstly because I am a gamer and was already a huge fan of the games before I even got on board the film. Assassins Creed as a universe and by the nature of its story spans many time periods in history. Usually on a movie you might get to make weapons from one or two time periods at the most. On this movie we must have made weapons from around fifteen different periods of history right up to modern day/futuristic and got to design weapons to suit

We also got to make many cool gadgets.  The AC universe is full of intricately designed ‘Da Vinci’ style mechanisms such as wristblades, wrist crossbows, dart-launchers, wrist grapples, smoke bombs and all sorts of other interesting contraptions and interesting weaponry.  The brief I worked to with my department of talented modelmakers, sculptors, painters and leatherworkers was that everything we created had to be beautiful, any mechanisms/gadgets had to work for real and it all needed to be museum-worthy. I think we achieved this and it was a pleasure to go through the whole process from start to finish. I honestly believe we created some of the most beautiful weaponry ever put on film.

 

Assassins Creed is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.

 

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Benedict  Cumberbatch The Interview

Benedict Cumberbatch The Interview

Posted on 15 June 2016 by Chris Ford

To coincide with the DVD and Blu-Ray release of his new Shakespeare adaption The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses we bring you this exclusive interview with actor Benedict Cumberbatch

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses HENRY VI (PART II) Photographer: Robert Viglasky © 2015 Carnival Film & Television Ltd Benedict Cumberbatch (as RICHARD III)

It was discovered last year that you are a second cousin 16 times removed of Richard III, whose remains were discovered three years ago in a car park in Leicester. Does that mean you sympathise with the modern-day supporters of the King, who feel Shakespeare has unfairly portrayed him as a villain?

I understand very much that for those people he’s a much loved King who they feel has been maligned. I get it. After all, I’m a very close relative of his! Although now his body has been found, I might suddenly discover they made a bit of a DNA mistake with me!

 

Is it reasonable to say that Richard III is not necessarily the remorseless baddie he is often viewed as?

Yes. There’s all this mythology surrounding Richard. He provokes a polarity of opinion. Is he a bad guy who killed the Princes in the Tower or a good guy who has been much maligned by the play? We don’t really know. A lot of what we have left is still PR. We could have had a disclaimer at the beginning of the play saying, ‘Written by William Shakespeare, who was a playwright in the Elizabethan era, about the last Plantagenet King. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII, a Tudor, hence its slant’.

 

 So he was not unrelentingly evil?

No. We know certain facts. For instance, we know about the bereavement that he and Anne, who were apparently a loving couple, suffered with their son. Being a father of only a few months, I can only imagine how utterly devastating that must have been. So those accounts are very touching. But of course, in the play that’s not what he’s about.

 

At what moment does Richard morph into something more malevolent?

The point that really tips him beyond an inclusive enjoyment of his plans and his ability to seduce us into his world of mad, ultimately very destructive, power-hungry megalomania is infanticide. When he has the two young Princes killed in the Tower of London, that marks a full stop for any sympathy – till right at the very end when he makes another direct appeal to us, asking, ‘How can anyone love me? I don’t even love myself!’

 

What makes Richard so embittered?

A: The important thing to remember is that from the very beginning, Richard is born into this family of Adonises, of athletes of Kennedy proportions. He is the black sheep of the family. He is ostracised and left at home looking after the kids – which is no place for a man in the medieval world, where it is your duty to go out to fight. When he is not allowed to prove himself physically, he becomes politicised and starts to think of smart things to say at the table. When he is finally allowed to go to war, he becomes a vicious warrior in order to prove himself in battle. That is very important to him. He becomes weaponised.

 

So his development makes dramatic sense?

Yes. There is a real trajectory to Richard’s journey. He is not just the medieval trope of a villain that a lot of critics have said he is. There is great subtlety and lots of back story to this character. Our vision was to humanise him and see his whole story. He loses himself in order to come back in a final moment of stark, cold realisation. He’s lost everything and all he has got left is anger and rage. So to play that whole journey is an absolute treat. And to be able to do it with a camera investigating when you break the fourth wall – what a gift for any actor!

 

Why is Richard alluring to us even as he is plotting to murder his way to the crown?

He is a compelling because he seduces us to be complicit with his direct addresses to the audience. That tarnishes us because we’re fascinated by the car crash. It’s so seductive because he shows us the fallibility of human nature around the magnetism of power. And all of it is done with such open, naked aplomb. He explains everything. He shows you behind the curtain and says, ‘Watch these people being fooled by this trick!’ It’s like Dynamo showing you how it’s done. We revel in the way he is playing people and asking us to enjoy that.

 

Does The Hollow Crown ever run the risk of being gratuitously violent?

A: No. It’s not just trying to shock people. It’s saying, ‘Look at what we’re capable of’. It’s always in context, and it’s always a morality test.

 

Why is Shakespeare so timeless?

I’d hate to piggyback off what’s currently going on in politics, but of course Shakespeare is always relevant – anyone can see that. But what’s magical about these plays is that you could do them in five or 10 years’ time and they’d still have the same effect because they’re timeless studies of the very human condition of power. Macbeth works in Swahili or German or any culture because it’s about tribalism and power and desperate, overarching, corrupting ambition. These plays show the frailties, the ego, the susceptibility and all the machinations of what power does to people. That’s why Shakespeare is still so potent 400 years on.

 

Tell us more.

It’s not about who is the goodie and who is the baddie – there’s enough human edge to all of these characters for you to be able to identify with them. You could place them in any political paradigm and they would still work. It could happen in an office environment or in the jungle or in a metropolis. It’s about humans at any time, not just in that one moment. Ian McKellen can do a version of Richard III set in 1930s and Martin Freeman can do it set in the 1970s. I saw a wonderful version of the Scottish play with Ray Winstone set on a council estate. It all works. Wherever humans are trying to stand on top of one another to take control, these plays will strike a chord. Shakespeare’s work can take any interpretation.

 

Do you think The Hollow Crown can help widen the audience for Shakespeare?

Yes. It’s like when I did Hamlet at the Barbican in London last summer. To play Hamlet live to a rapt audience every night was amazing. I was very keen to see how many could be fitted into the theatre – that was really important when choosing a venue. I felt it would be unfair to the people who might want to see it if we did it in a small venue. I thought we should be a bit more generous than that and perform it in a big theatre. If you can broaden the audience and show them how brilliant Shakespeare is, that’s fantastic.

 

How do you feel about the end of Richard III?

I feel very lucky to be almost the last one standing in this play. And no, that’s not a spoiler. The play has been out more than 400 years. You can definitely print that – Richard doesn’t make it. Or maybe he comes back at the end and says, ‘Did you miss me?’ Or perhaps he could reappear in a car park!

 

 You are currently filming a new series of Sherlock. What can you tell us about it?

It’s great, great fun to be back. There are lots of things happening in the new series. But I can say nothing about them! [Laughs].

 

 

The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 20 June

 

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Will Poulter – The Interview

Will Poulter – The Interview

Posted on 03 June 2016 by Chris Ford

Young English actor Will Poulter came to prominence with his very first film, playing Lee Carter in Son of Rambow (2007). He subsequently played the role of Gally in the film adaptation of the young-adult dystopian science fiction novel The Maze Runner in 2014 and won the BAFTA Rising Star Award. He has also played the roles of Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) and Kenny Rossmore in We’re the Millers (2013), among others. In The Revenant (2015) from director Alejandro Iñárritu, he starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio (who played Hugh Glass), featuring as Jim Bridger. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actor (DiCaprio) and Best Cinematography.

rev23

Has making this film changed your relationship with the outdoors? Have you become something of a survivalist, for example?
It’s turned me against the outdoors entirely [laughs]. I haven’t left my house since. No, seriously, I think it did make me appreciate the power of nature a little bit more and made me more mindful of my environment, certainly. It made me reflect on how I interact with nature as a human being, and how we treat it as a society. It broadened my understanding of it rather than turning me against it or limiting me in any way. This movie opened doors in terms of my knowledge of my own limits. It was a sensory awakening, for sure.

How intense was the shoot?
Some of the most intense scenes for me, emotionally, were when I was one-on-one with Tom [Hardy] or one-on-one with Leo [DiCaprio]. For me, the two scenes that stick out were leaving [Hugh] Glass behind and then the scenes that follow with Tom [playing John Fitzgerald], where I confront him about what happened and he let slip that he invented the attack in order to get me out of there under false pretences.

Were any actors hurt during the shoot?
No animals were hurt! I think we all certainly experienced discomfort. We were tired and cold and physically at our personal limits. I think that we were probably taken above and beyond what we thought we could endure. That was 100 per cent intended in order to create a realistic experience for the audience. We needed to do that. There was no other way around it. But, no, no one was injured or seriously harmed to the best of my knowledge. But I couldn’t speak for anyone outside of our group of trappers because I wouldn’t know.

Leonardo and Tom are two really celebrated actors, but what are the differences and similarities between them?
The parallel that exists between them is that they are both hugely professional, very focused and they both have an intensity about them when they are on set. They both work very, very, hard. Their work ethic is clear to see; they are industrious actors. The difference is in their performance. Tom’s performance is very different from Leo’s and Tom’s use of dialogue in this movie is very impressive. His delivery of difficult or challenging language is very impressive and what Leo is able to convey with expression and through his eyes is just phenomenal. Without saying much, he is so emotive. But also he is not overplaying anything; it is still incredibly natural. When you are in a scene with him it is very engaging.

And what about Alejandro? How does he compare to other directors?
Off set, I found Alejandro to be very deep and compassionate, hugely intelligent and also humorous. He did have a sense of humour and he has a very big heart. He is a very sensitive man, very considerate. On set, he is very focussed and driven. He just has less time for everything else, really, other than achieving the objective each day and realising whatever the mission is.

Shooting in natural light must have given you very small windows to film each scene. Was that ever stressful or intimidating? There must have been real pressure on you all.
It is stressful. But as stressful as it was, and for as much we felt the pressure, we also felt as though that energized us in a way. It fuelled us with a desire to get it right, knowing that we had a limited window, knowing that we wouldn’t get a second bite of the cherry, knowing that we would have to come back the next day and the snow might not be there or the snow might be ten feet more — bearing in mind that Calgary has the most terrible weather patterns pretty much anywhere in the world. Knowing that and having that pressure actually gave us a kick up the arse to get it done. There wasn’t an opportunity to slack off in any way. We did not have the opportunity to be complacent for one minute on this film. Everyone, whatever their role in the crew or cast, had to work as hard as possible because you wouldn’t last the experience if you didn’t.

There’s almost a military parallel; if someone makes a mistake you all go down.
Absolutely. It was a case of ‘all for one and one for all’ and we were all so coordinated and so synced up with each other just because of the way the film was shot. Implicitly, the shooting style requires collaboration between camera crew and actors in a way that is unique and that is stronger than most filming styles. Really, if one of us were out of sync, it would create a domino effect.

What do you think is the film’s message?
There are several. There are too many to go through all of them but the one that really speaks to me is the importance of family, the lasting value of family beyond everything else, beyond revenge. Fitzgerald actually asks that of Glass: ‘After you get your revenge, you won’t get your son back.’ The existence of family is not infinite, as we all know, so valuing it while it is around is important. It’s also about the things that motivate us, and inspiration, where inspiration comes from. Our appreciation of the environment is another theme that’s not overt but is certainly there.

How do you make peace with yourself if you make the wrong decisions in life?
What I have found both personally and for my character, Jim [Bridger] is that it is very difficult to find peace with any decision out there because the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, are so blurred. There are so many grey areas. What morally, instinctively, and on paper, seems like the right thing to do, out there it may not be. I think that Glass said himself: ‘You should have killed me when you had the chance and put me out of my misery.’ There’s an argument for the fact that what we did by allowing Glass to live was almost torturous and unfair. I don’t subscribe to that but that is an argument. And the other argument is that we did absolutely the right thing by keeping him alive for as long as possible. Everyone has their definitions of right and wrong and those definitions change according to your experiences and your environment.

Did doing The Maze Runner shift your profile up a notch or has your profile changed more gradually with each film after Son of Rambow?

I don’t know. That is very interesting. I am very bad at gaining a perspective on myself. I have no idea as to how I am perceived. I think I have been fortunate in doing a combination. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to perform a range of things. A lot of actors have the range to be versatile but they have not been given the opportunity. I have been very lucky. I am not sure that I can identify certain points where things changed for me. I think probably where I experienced the most change was after We’re the Millers. Because that was a comedy, people were then surprised to see me do something dramatic. I am sure for many people it might seem weird to see Kenny from We’re the Millers in The Revenant! I personally don’t have any interest as an actor in playing the same roles or repeating myself. I feel that if I am not challenging myself then I am not challenging audiences. I am not giving audiences anything interesting to watch.

What has been the tone of the comedy on your forthcoming Brad Pitt film, War Machine?
It has been satirical, at times very subtle, very well handled by [director] David Michôd who has a brilliant grasp on humour, and expertly executed by Brad Pitt, in particular, who is just unbelievable in the movie. I find myself struggling not to laugh on lots of occasions. Brad was brilliant but at the same time totally believable. And for me, that movie was less of a comedy than it will probably end up being because I was playing a Marine and the responsibility that comes with representing the Marines is very, very high. I take that very seriously. I recognize the honour in that and it was a big undertaking for us to represent them. They are so much more equipped and polished as human beings.

Does comedy come more easily to you than drama?
I actually feel that I have less range in the comedy genre. I feel that if I tried to do comedy for the rest of my career I would not be very successful. That is not to say that I am going to be very successful doing drama but I have more of a passion for drama and my instinct is to give more of myself to the genre of drama than to comedy. That is where I feel more comfortable. It is what I love most and it is where I feel I can exercise a bit more range, whereas with comedy I feel like I have a narrower paradigm of ability.

How early in your life did you know that acting was something you wanted to do?
Right after my first film. Having finished Son of Rambow and having had the best eight weeks of my life, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. I remember coming off that and I said to my mum, ‘That is what I want to do as a living. I want to be an actor.’ My mum went, ‘Calm down. You don’t know yet. You might go on to the next job and hate it.’ But, luckily, I went on to the next job and I loved it. For me, Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader was one of the best experiences I had. I think it is my best performance. I think that it is most in-character. It was a very maturing experience for me. Both Narnia and The Revenant forced me to mature. They were like booster pads, like trampolines, in my maturity. On Narnia I was away from home for six months and it was moving to a new country and it was working with a director who was tough on me but who was hugely talented and for whom I had a lot of respect. I hadn’t thought of this parallel until now. Six months away from home, the director [Michael Apted] was very tough but I had huge respect for him. When that happens, as hard as it is, you feel extremely grateful to have those opportunities. It is like the school of hard knocks for a while and I was coming out the other side, revitalized and with new skills and a hunger to do it all again.

Have you been able to maintain friendships with the kids with whom you grew up?
I am lucky that I managed to complete school but that was not without taking long periods off or having time away. I was lucky that I had friends who have maintained a very regular attitude with me and haven’t changed how they interact with me or how they behave around me, for the most part. I have got some fantastic friendships that I have had for a long, long time. I am also blessed that I have a very supportive family who are very down to earth. As much of a struggle as it has been at times to maintain that balance, it has been enjoyable and I have been keen to try and experience as much of a normal life as possible, completing school and university, travelling, family and also working in a professional environment from a young age. I am just blessed that I am able to do both and that is a testament to the people around me, family, and my agents and my entire team. I am very lucky.

How special was The Revenant compared to your other work? This was surely a unique experience.
I think this is very special, from my interaction with Alejandro and my first opportunity to work with an idol in the shape of Leo, and someone as talented as Tom, and also this incredibly committed group of actors who formed the trapping group. What a privilege! I don’t think this will necessarily be easy to replicate because the way we shot it was so unique and it returned to a filmmaking approach that is becoming a dying art. Very few people are shooting such ambitious movies and such complicated and adventurous films on location in natural light, with real weather elements.

The Revenant is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 6th June from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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A Chat with DJ BBQ

A Chat with DJ BBQ

Posted on 26 May 2016 by Chris Ford

Hellmann’s has teamed up with YouTube star and grilling fanatic, DJ BBQ to travel the world in search of the tastiest grilled food ever to be touched by fire, resulting in a four-part series called Finding GrilltopiaThis summer-long search for Grilltopia marks the launch of a new range of Hellmann’s premium BBQ and Hot sauces, each inspired by exotic flavours from around the world, which join their Classic Real Mayonnaise and Mayonnaise with Olive Oil.

We recently spoke to DJ BBQ about grilling and how best to go about it :

DJ BBQ Close UP

What do you enjoy most about barbecuing food? What got you started?


My father got me into cooking BBQ food at a young age.  He was a single parent raising two young kids and he was best at cooking when he was outdoors on a grill.  So from the age of 6 he taught me how to grill.  Grilling over live fire is primal, it’s how we are meant to cook food.  There’s flavour in wood and fresh charcoal, there’s no flavour in gas.

Do you find British BBQ culture differs from American?

I find the British BBQ scene one of the best in the world.  I go to the British BBQ champs every year at Grillstock in Bristol and the crew is the most welcoming bunch of people I know.  We all belong to a BBQ forum on Facebook and it’s so accepting to beginners, everyone wants to help everyone get better at cooking BBQ.  Check out Country Wood Smoke- British BBQ if you are on Facebook.  Join our crew, feel free to ask any questions.

Is there any point in gas when barbecuing? or is it all about the charcoal and wood ?

Listen, I grew up with cooking on a gas grill.  It’s easy, it’s there, it’s on when you need it.  But there’s no flavour with cooking on gas.  I prefer lumpwood made from sustainable woodlands.  Check out what Oxford Charcoal company are doing, they make great charcoal.

For the beginner outdoor cook trying to move away from the Brit tradition of frozen burgers and sausages where do we start? 


Start with making your own burger.  Ask your butcher for different types of minced meat and add some aged beef fat to the mix – 20% is perfect.  Fat is flavour so don’t be afraid to add it, supercharge your burger and add some bone marrow.  
Try cooking a big joint on your outdoor cooker.  A leg of lamb, chicken, slab of ribs.  Just set your grill up for indirect cooking.  Then put that lid on and turn your grill into an outdoor oven.

What’s your favourite thing to cook?


I love grilling a ribeye!  There’s also a steak which isn’t popular which is crazy as it’s the second most tender muscle on the cow – the teres major.  It’s near the flat iron on the shoulder and tastes awesome.  I also love grilling veggies and fruit – they all taste better on a grill.

How did you end up getting involved with Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube project?

I DJ’d a party for his 15 minute meal book launch.  We got on.  His production company knew about me and had already shot a pilot but my background in TV consisted of being a youth Extreme sports presenter.  Luckily, Food tube signed me up and now I have over 250 recipe videos on line.

You are partnered with Hellmann’s to discover ‘Grilltopia’ – the ultimate grilling experience, have you found ‘Grilltopia’ yet?


I’m always searching for Grilltopia.  I have found many wonderful ways of cooking over live fire but there are still many more out there.

What’s special about the Hellmanns range of sauces?


They taste good!  Hellmans makes the best Mayonnaise out there and they’ve turned their hand to a super delicious range of sauces.  Here’s a tip, when glazing your chicken with BBQ sauce, wait till the end of the cook to add the sauce.  BBQ sauce has sugar in it and sugar burns when it gets too hot.  That’s why people tend to burn the heck out of their chicken.
Here’s a great recipe for you:
Alabama white sauce
Cup of Hellmans Mayo
Cup of cider vinegar
Lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
Cracked pepper
Make sure it’s quite liquidy, it shouldn’t be too thick.  Great on poultry and pork.
 burger-3-ith-sauce

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Rise of The Krays Interview – Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie

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Rise of The Krays Interview – Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Chris Ford

Recently I had the pleasure to talk to Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie who the Kray brothers in the new Krays movie The Rise of The Krays, we spoke among about how it felt to play such infamous figures, if they would have liked to meet the Krays and how they felt about the other two Krays movies that have been made.

To celebrate the release Simon and Kevin have also signed three posters which along with a DVD of the film we will be giving away.

To win one of the four prizes just email us at enterthecomp@gmail.com  with the answer to the following :

What is the name of the East End pub The Krays are famously associated with ?

A. The Blind Beggar

B. The Kings Head

C. The Dog and Duck

The Rise of The Krays is out on DVD and Blu-Ray from the 31st August and you can pre order your copy now

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Martin Kemp talks to us about Age of Kill

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Martin Kemp talks to us about Age of Kill

Posted on 08 June 2015 by Chris Ford

kempphoto

Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Martin Kemp about his latest project Age of Kill.
In theatres from Friday, the action-packed film sees Martin Kemp play disgraced special ops sniper Sam Blake who is plunged into a world of darkness when his daughter (Dani Dyer) is taken hostage by a mysterious terrorist. Out of options and with no one to turn to, Blake is forced to carry out their evil bidding and must assassinate six seemingly random targets within six hours on the streets of London.

Speaking to Martin, it was clear that he’s passionate about the role, and we also had the chance to touch on his musical career and what it’s like being back on stage with Spandau Ballet. Here are some snippets I enjoyed.

 

On playing a leading role in a action film
“I was surprised as it’s an action film how much emotion you can take into that”

On handling guns on set
“It’s an interesting thing when the guns come out on a film set, and all the men kinda bristle with testosterone saying I’ll have the Berretta! It’s a funny thing watching that happen”

On being back on stage again with Spandau Ballet
“In the 80s when we played the shows it was a celebration of rock n roll, we would drink till we dropped. Now we go on stage the night is about the show much more and doing your job”

And finally here’s the video of my interview. Thanks to Martin Kemp for taking the time to speak to us and I hope you all enjoy the interview

AGE OF KILL will be released in cinemas and Digital/VOD on 12th June 2015
and on DVD/Blu-ray on 15th June 2015.

Follow Age of Kill on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ageofkill @AgeofKill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Age-of-Kill/288794954607729

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INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW VAUGHN

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INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW VAUGHN

Posted on 24 May 2015 by Chris Ford

Ahead of the release on DVD and Blu-Ray of the new British Spy movie ‘Kingsman – The Secret Service‘ we bring you a in depth interview with writer and director Matthew Vaugh.

 

matthew-vaughn

1. What was your inspiration for the film?
I came up with idea over a pint of Guinness with the lovely Mark Millar. Mark and I were lamenting about how serious spy movies have become and what happened to that feeling that I had and he had when we watched these Bond movies and you know James Coburn as Flint or like Matt all leav, left, you either turned the TV off or left the cinema as was like, “Right, lets go pay it. I’m going to be George, you’re going to Bond.” Yeah, something God knows you play Miss Money Penny in Mark Millar’s case. And it seems obvious to us. We just thought let’s do a spy, crazy, post-modern love letter to every spy movie ever made.

2. How did the Tottenham Riots come about playing a part in the film?
Actually it was born from the Tottenham Riots when I generally was sort of getting annoyed with all of these buffoons, sort of UK wannabe’s back then probably, of saying these people are dreadful and lock them up and throw them away. And then I started listening to the kids saying, we’re not rioting because we like it, we’re rioting because we’ve got no choice, no one’s listening to us, we’ve got no opportunity. And I just thought, “Wow, that’s an interesting dynamic of that sort of old school gentleman spies and the young kid, lets throw them together and see what happens.”

3. How did you find working with Comic Writer Mark Millar?
Yeah we, well we plotted it together. Well we didn’t really plot it, we were just two nerds talking about spy movies and then Millar went and wrote the thing and then sent it to me, and I thought, “What the fuck?” I was like, “Really, okay, wow, all right.” And then I read it and went, “This was great. I think I’ll write a script.” And then when I wrote the script realizing there are huge mistakes in the comic. But Mark being Mark went desperate for a bit of cash and went ahead and printed the thing. So, and I’m, so I changed it for the film. And then now he’s going to change the comic because of the movie. So it’s a, I don’t know, we have a pretty funky relationship that seems to work pretty well.

4. How did casting Colin Firth come about?
I had David Niven in my mind when I wrote Harry Hart, and once I finished writing Harry Hart, I thought I’ve got to find a modern day David Niven and Colin Firth is that. Better actor. I mean I love and respect David Niven, pretty limited, but Colin, and he said it himself, David did, may he rest in peace. But Colin’s a modern day Niven for me.

5. What was your inspiration for Colin’s character “Harry Hart” ?
He’s an amalgamation of all the great spies put together with a spruce of true gentlemanly moments put on top, a sprinkle of gentleman ness.

6. How did you discover Taron Egerton?
I was looking for Eggsy, and he walked through the door and after about 15, 20 seconds of him literally reading the sides and I was like, “My God this is him.” And didn’t have a doubt in my mind.

7. And casting Samuel L. Jackson to play “Valentine” a tech billionaire?
I’m a huge Sam Jackson fan, so I’ve always wanted to work with him and he wrote the character actually as a young, tech guy. Sort of the Zuckerberg, you know the Google guys, whatever, and then I was just like, I kept reading these speeches thinking I need someone who really knows who to take sort of pretty expeditionary stuff and make it sounds great. And Sam Jackson could read the Yellow Pages and you could be captivated. And then I said I’m going to make him older. And they were like, “Oh you can’t make him older, all these tech billionaires are all young.” And I was like well if Steve Jobs was still alive I think he would be the number one tech billionaire in the world, you know, he’s it. So it’s not all about, they’re not all kids. I said the ones with real power and a real network, they’re actually older. You know, the people who are in the technology are, you know the Larry Ellison’s, the Steve Jobs, and I thought, you know Bill Gates. I thought imagine if those guys went crazy we’d be in far more trouble I think than if Zuckerberg went nuts.

8. What is your approach to the action sequences in movies?
I look at action and storytelling as a, I think action can be the dullest part of movies ironically nowadays. And I love action movies, but when you see generic quick cutting, I switch, I actually fast forward now. It was weird, you know you watch like, I just tried watching a movie, which made a billion dollars last year, and I was like, it didn’t do it for me, I don’t know what you thought. I was just like, the bigger the sequence the more bored I was which is I think quite an achievement in a weird way. But so yeah, I try to do things differently and keep the audience on their toes.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is out on Digital HD on May 24th and on Blu-ray and DVD on June 8th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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Interview – Harry Macqueen

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Interview – Harry Macqueen

Posted on 25 February 2015 by Eddie

Harry Macqueen_(photo Sam Churchill)

Critically acclaimed directorial debut Hinterland from Award-winning Actor/Director Harry Macqueen will be released in UK cinemas and On Demand from 27th February 2015 we caught up with Harry recently to ask about the film.

 

What was the inspiration for the film?

Perhaps because I’m an actor what inspires me most is natural human interaction so I knew a wanted to make an intimate film about two people with a relationship as its central pivot. There are so many film makers I love but most specifically to this project I think the work of people like Joanna Hogg, Richard Linklater, Kelly Reichhart and Win Wenders as well are stand-alone films like Chris Petit’s RADIO ON (1979) were all inspirations. I think going out into the unknown and doing something on your own terms, like many of the above did, is inspirational so I wanted to give that a go myself.

 

Did you have anyone in mind when you created the characters?
Harvey and Lola aren’t based on anyone directly. I think they kind of came to my mind almost fully formed when I was planning the film. I knew that they needed to be different but also complimentary for there to be some uncertainty bubbling away as the story unfolded and that Lola should be a musician, he a writer. I also knew that her innate freedom and ability to express herself should be at odds with him. They largely took shape over the course of several months of work-shopping and rehearsing though which was a really interesting process in itself.

Did the person who bequeathed the money to you know about this project?
The person bequeathed me the money in their will so no I would be surprised if they did!

Did they have any part to play in the creation?
Only in that I wanted to make something that would have made that person proud and that drove me on. I hope that has happened.
You had a £10,000 budget and 13 days to film how limiting was this to the story you wanted to tell?
Happily the story I wanted to tell was a very intimate one and the success of which I knew lay in the natural performances between the two characters. You don’t need much money to make that happen I don’t think so no it wasn’t too limiting. Ironically there is also a real freedom in being restricted sometimes, if you embrace the conditions in front of you. Hinterland was very much about getting the best out of what we had and not worrying too much about what we, in an ideal world, would have liked to have had available to us. But it was a huge challenge that’s for sure – making films always is.
Were the locations in Cornwall known to you before this project?
Yes, absolutely. That part of the world is one I know very well and the literal journey they take in the film is very autobiographical. I wrote the film with these locations in mind and, I hope, the film is a love letter to Cornwall in some way. It is effortlessly beautiful and dramatic down there which acted as a lovely counterpoint to the fragile relationship in the foreground.
Have you got the bug as a director now ?
Ha. It’s a really interesting time for me at the moment. I am and will always be an actor but I hope to be lucky enough to make more films as a writer/director too. I see all these roles as pretty complimentary but I’ve certainly got the bug for being constantly creative and making things happen.
Do you think the British film industry is healthy right now? (There certainly seems to be a lot more British made films like yours being made)
There is a phenomenal amount of talent in Britain that’s for sure (me excluded of course!). To be honest I don’t feel I have enough experience this side of the camera to comment properly and Hinterland is quite a unique film in that I didn’t explore any traditional funding avenues so I don’t know a huge amount about that either.
That said, I think as long as people like Peter Strickland, Joanna Hogg, Ben Wheatley or Jonathan Glazer (to name only a few) are able to have the freedom to make such original films we can’t be in too bad shape. We also seem to have been pretty well represented at the big award shows this year and our studios are constantly busy. It depends how you define ‘healthy’ but we are making lots of interesting work and that’s the important thing, for me. But you are right indie film making has massively increased recently and that can only be a good thing for everyone from the ground-roots upwards. The process has become a bit more democratised and that’s brilliant.

What’s next for you ?

It’s a little hard to think ahead right now as Hinterland is still pretty all consuming. I’m sketching out the script for another film and I have a few auditions coming up so hopefully some acting – I’ve had to take a back seat on that front for the last six months. I am also developing a TV comedy show with a few mates. We’ll see what happens I guess.

 

HINTERLAND is in cinemas and on demand 27 February

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