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An Interview with Ian Beaumont, Writer and Producer of Deathless

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2016

Ian Beaumont on (re)Search my Trash


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Let's start this with Deathless, the short - in a few words, what is it about?


Itís basically a film noir, about a British private detective whose wife gets kidnapped for ransom by the guy heís investigating. The short film focusses on the showdown between the two men and its aftermath.


What were your inspirations for writing Deathless?


Iíve always loved the American and French film noir movies of the 1940s and 1950s and had an idea for a story in that genre, set in the present day, which I was originally going to write as a novel. Then I spoke to some filmmaker friends of mine who really liked the concept and thought it would make a good film, so I wrote it as a screenplay instead.


What can you tell us about your director Aimee Powell, and what was your collaboration like?


I met Aimee at Cannes, through another film guy I was planning to work with. When that fell through, Aimee asked me to co-produce a short film of hers, called Shades of Beige, starring Michelle Dockery and Edward Hogg. We agreed to make a short film version of Deathless straight after it, with me producing and Aimee directing. Sheís a great director, with an excellent rapport with actors and a great empathy for my work and it all went very well. 


Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these people?


We essentially had a wish list for the actors we wanted and we got them all, with the invaluable help of Maureen Duff, the casting director. Joseph Mawle has an extraordinary intensity, which makes him an ideal antagonist as Max in the film. Ed Speleers has a depth which we felt some of his other films hadnít perhaps explored and which we were keen to draw out in his role as John the protagonist. Jane How was perfect as Rose the taxi driver - a classic, classy English actress in the same mould as Helen Mirren and Judy Dench - and Latoya Rafaela is an actress friend of mine, who has a very distinctive look, which I wanted for the key small role of the florist, Alida.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Deathless was an ambitious project for a short film, with some very challenging shots, not least filming a taxi driving on a beach in Wales in December. However, we were blessed not just by good weather, but also by having a fabulous crew, including the wonderful Luke Bryant as DoP and A.J. Walters and his crew as gaffer and sparks etc, which made it all a lot easier than it might have been. It was a very happy shoot with a great unity to it and we were all really pleased with the outcome.


The $64-question of course, where can the film be seen?


Deathless is available to buy on iTunes. If you type in "Deathless" on the iTunes store youíll find it there, under films. Itís also licensed to a company called Shorts International, who screen it from time to time on their networks around the world. Their last screening, which was part of a season of short films starring actors in Game of Thrones, i.e. Joseph Mawle, was very well received with some of their highest ever viewing figures, apparently. There are also some clips from the film as part of a showreel on my website,


From what I know, you want to expand Deathless into a feature film - so could you tell us which parts of the story you'll expand and how, and how closely will the two versions be related?


Thatís right. The short film is essentially a teaser/trailer for the feature; the first 15 minutes of the feature script in fact, although it's developed quite a bit since I made the short film, including with the help of the great script editor Kate Leys. So there will be a quite a few similarities; but some differences as well. Its subtitle is London * Heaven * L.A. which gives you an idea of where itís set. Itís basically a film noir with a twist and a bit of magic realism thrown in.


Since you've shot the short Deathless quite a while back, will there be any change in personnel with the feature version?


I should mention that the Deathless-feature almost got made a couple of years ago with a Canadian co-production company, but they had to drop out when the Saskatchewan Government ended the film tax credit there, so that put it on hold for a while. As Iíve mentioned, part of the feature version is set in L.A., which Canada often doubles for in films, of course. Iím hopeful weíll be able to shoot part of it in the USA this time around.


In terms of personnel, we havenít got to the stage of casting the feature yet, but I expect itíll be different actors. Iím hopeful, however, that we can use a lot of the same crew, including Luke Bryant as DoP, as they did such a wonderful job on the short film and totally share my vision for the feature.


So at what stage are your plans of expansion right now, any idea when you might start shooting and when the film might be released?


The buzz around the feature is building right now, with a number of key people interested in making it with me. Itís too early to give you dates etc, but Iím hopeful itíll be happening sometime this year.


What can you tell us about your filmwork besides Deathless?


To date, Iíve made four short films, including Deathless and Shades of Beige, as well as another Aimee Powell film called Drift about slave labour in Britain and a fantasy film called Milk. There are details about all of these projects and those in development on my website. 


Any other future projects you'd like to share?


My main focus at the moment is on the Deathless feature. Iím also working on an animated film called Red Shadows, set in Nazi era Berlin and based on a true story, as well as on a couple of short films, all of which Iím producing. Iím also working on a play about legendary Hollywood actress Veronica Lake, called The Lost Blonde, who is best known for her film noir films with Alan Ladd. Iíve co-written that with American writer Don Bain who co-wrote her autobiography with her and is best known for writing the Murder She Wrote novels. That projectís currently with theatrical producers in New York and L.A. ahead of it hopefully being staged there. Weíve also written it as a film script.


What got you into the filmworld to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


Iím basically self taught. I was lucky enough to work with a lot of film people in my previous roles as a PR guy, so am very comfortable in that milieu. The rest - the screenwriting and film production - Iíve learnt as Iíve gone along. Itís been a valuable and fascinating learning process and continues to be.


Do talk about your company Little Dude Films for a bit, and what's the philosophy behind it?


The philosophy behind Little Dude Films is very simple: to make classy, story and character driven films that people want to watch, which I hope is exemplified by the short films Iíve made to date. Itís been a bit of a long old haul getting a feature made, but as I say, I hope this year will be a good one for us. Watch this space.


Filmmakers, writers, whoever else who inspire you?


The list is pretty long, but to name just some people: Directors - David Fincher, Peter Bogdanovich, David Lynch, Orson Welles, Jean-Pierre Melville, Max Ophuls, Andrei Tarkovsky; Actors - Dirk Bogarde, George Clooney, Rooney Mara, Veronica Lake, Burt Lancaster, Al Pacino, Joan Fontaine; Writers - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Joseph Mitchell, Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy. Plus random others - Jackson Pollock, Bob Dylan, Bobby Kennedy, David Bowie, Stephen Shore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tex Avery and many more.


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Again endless, but: Letter From An Unknown Woman, Citizen Kane, Le Samourai, Saint Jack, Zodiac, This Gun For Hire, Apocalypse Now, Mulholland Drive, Diner, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Die Hard, Solaris.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


There arenít any films that I deplore, because I know how hard it is to make them, but some recent ones have been overrated I think, including American Hustle, Spy, The Master.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


My website is Thereís loads of information on there. Iím currently updating my Facebook page, but give me a couple of weeks and type in "Little Dude Films" and itíll be up there.


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I donít think so. Many thanks for your interest in Deathless and Little Dude Films.


Thanks for the interview!


Special thanks to Richard S Barnett, founder of IIWYK!!!


Photographs by Tezza Beazley, Ed Miller and Graham James, © Little Dude Films Ltd


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD