wondered what youíre actually learning on a corporate training course?
Building a tower out of Lego? Orienteering with the weird bloke from IT?
And falling backwards off a table into your colleagues arms to prove that
you Ďtrustí them?!?
at least you didnít have to go on the course that Denzel unwittingly
finds himself a part of in Shooting Incidentís new movie
Phase Three. Rob Ireland
interview - click here] squared the circle and ran it up the flag pole to
see who saluted (thatís how these corporate types talk isnít it!?!)
with Director Jamie McEvoy and Actor Ian M. Wilson [Ian
M. Wilson interview - click here].
Jamie. First of all, tell us about your background, and your role
in the movie?
I am writer, director, shooter and
editor on Phase Three. Basically, the movie is my baby and I have
controlled all aspects of the production. I guess I am something of a
control freak when it comes to movie making.
I started out in video production
at the age of 15. One day it suddenly occurred to me that I want to be a
film director. I canít explain how or why that thought entered my head
Ė it just did! I was always passionate about watching films and how they
provoked an emotional response from me, but on that day I made the
decision that I wanted to be a film director. So the next step was to get
a camera, which I wasted no time in doing. I got my friends onto the
filmmaking bandwagon and put them in my films to start with. Iíd shoot
in my back garden, then it progressed from the back garden to the local
woods, to the streets, to shooting at 3am in the local shopping centre.
Within 2 years of doing it as a hobby, I had enough work to start showing
Fortunately, I met with a producer
who runs his own studio and I showed him my work. He was hugely impressed
and took me under his wing. We have been working together ever since.
So itís definitely got your
stamp on it! Whatís the film about?
Phase Three is about a man with a
plan. That man is Lucius Foy (Ian M. Wilson [Ian
M. Wilson interview - click here]) - a noxious businessman with
a crazy yet genius ideology. One night a teenager named Denzel Marsh
(Mwansa Bwalya) tries to mug him but it gravely backfires. Denzel
inadvertently becomes the subject of Luciusí crazy business training
regime. He is set a series of tasks which if not completed will result in
his death. Denzel chooses to embrace the journey out of fear for his life.
He progresses from life on the streets as a small-time thug to one of the
cityís most prosperous outlets. Itís a movie that challenges the
audience to decide who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. That is
something that I have rarely seen explored in cinema. Usually, films
clearly illustrate who are the antagonist and protagonist, but in Phase Three, it is left up to the audience to decide. Even I am undecided.
What was the inspiration for
I love films that pull the wool
over the audienceís eyes i.e. The Matrix, Inception, The
I love a good twist at the end of a movie too. I enjoy films when they
make the audience think they know what is going on, only to be revealed
something that completely throws them off. I have based Phase Three
that very notion.
Sounds intriguing. How long
have you been trying, and what did it take, to get this project of the
I wrote the script in February
2011. Production began the following month. I work as a filmmaker in a
busy studio in Leeds, so production was fairly easy to get off the ground.
I also work with actors in the studio on a regular basis, so that enabled
me to speed up the casting process. The idea of Phase Three
to mind during an acting class with Mwansa who plays Denzel in the movie.
Mwansa, Jay (my producer) and I were discussing possible short film ideas,
and I said Iíd go away and think of something. Over the weekend, I
locked myself in a dark room and came up with the idea of Phase Three. It
was originally intended to be a short film but I felt it was too unique of
an idea not to be expanded into a feature film.
How long did the process take
to get to the finished product?
It has taken one year to complete
the production of Phase Three. The reason for that is that I was suckered
into flying to Germany to DOP and then edit another feature film. That
halted the progression of Phase Three. Due to the amount of time I had to
spend on the German movie, Phase Three
was shelved for at least
three months. I wrote the script in February 2011 and production is
scheduled for a February 2012 completion.
Even with the three month
hiatus, that doesnít sound like too bad going, considering youíre
fitting it in round the day job. Did you have to overcome any problems
We originally cast another actor
for the role of Lucius Foy, but it didnít quite work out. Recasting such
an important character in the story took up a lot of time and slowed down
production greatly. In the meantime, weíd shoot all of the scenes that
only involved Mwansaís character, but it was strange to shoot those
scenes without knowing who was going to portray Lucius Foy. Thankfully,
after a couple of months of searching for the right man for the role, Ian
M. Wilson [Ian M. Wilson
interview - click here] turned up and put in a great audition and I immediately offered
him the role.
Good news for Ian as well! Who
influences you as a director?
Ian M. Wilson
I draw much influence from
Christopher Nolan, especially. I think that he is one of the most talented
filmmakers alive today. Memento, The Prestige and Inception are all fantastic movies that really challenge the
audience, in a good way. Those movies do not spoon feed the audience,
which is what I have aimed to do with Phase Three. I am also a huge
Stanley Kubrick fanatic. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favourite
films, due to the sheer off-beat and unpredictable feel of the movie, and
how it takes the subject of criminology and actually makes it look like
fun! Iím also influenced by Paul Greengrassí work on the Bourne-movies. I love the handheld cinematography technique used in those movies.
Itís not for everybody, but it works in abundance for me. I think it
creates a feeling of Ďin motioní, like the narrative is being
discovered there and then. It feels real is what Iím trying to say.
Do you think the thriller genre
is for you, or do you want to go somewhere else next?
What I have learned about my
filmmaking over the years is that I am purely action/thriller kind of guy.
I wouldnít really know where to start with a romantic comedy, for
example. But with action/thriller I understand the techniques required to
produce a good product. I canít ever see myself diverting from that
path. The film I DOPíd and edited in Germany was a drama/comedy, and I
canít really say that it was my cup of tea. Obviously I put in the work
and gave it my all, but I never truly connected with the story or script.
I like cool and serious movies.
Would you like to say a few
words about the people you were working with?
The cast and crew have been
amazing. Everyone has worked so hard on this film. Mwansa and Ian have put
in fantastic individual performances. They have great potential; hopefully
Phase Three puts them on the map. My runner Mark Nelson has also been an
amazing help. Also, I have to thank my producer Jay Spencer for supporting
me throughout the production. If it werenít for him, I wouldnít be in
a position to make these kinds of movies.
Who is the ideal audience for Phase Three?
If youíre into movies such as
the Bourne-movies, Inception, Heat, Collateral and
The Game, to name a
few, then you should enjoy Phase Three. It is certainly along the same
lines as the aforementioned.
Have you seen any movies
recently that really impressed you?
Yes, Kill List. Itís a
low-budget British film and it really blew me away. The acting and
direction was superb. Itís a very strange film and Kubrick-esque, and
the ending will leave you with a lot to think about, but Iíd certainly
recommend it. Get it watched.
Iíll second that, itís
brilliant. If youíd been working for Warner
Bros, and budget had been no
problem, what would you have done differently with this film?
Certainly. First and foremost,
Iíd have bought a generator, and taken more lights with me on location.
You can never have enough lighting equipment on set. Secondly, Iíd have
hired a sound guy. We actually didnít have a sound guy with us on set.
Most of the dialogue is going to be dubbed over in ADR. Thirdly, Iíd
have hired a coffee truck. It can become quite excruciating on set on
those cold nights when you donít have a cup of coffee to turn to.
What are your ambitions for Phase Three? What would you like to achieve with it?
I have huge ambitions for Phase Three. I believe in the product, I believe people will be impressed by it.
It is a non-budget production with a big movie feel. Phase Three
inspire filmmakers to get out with their cameras because when you see it,
you wonít believe that it was made with a crew of around 2-3 people. I
believe industry professionals will see Phase Three
and appreciate the
talent on display. Iím going to enter it into the film festival circuit
to get it some exposure. I really believe the movie will go places. How
far it will go; who knows? Thatís the exciting part.
What advice would
you give to someone who wants to make a movie?
Be fearless. Write a script, see
the movie in your head, and then just go and make it. Base the movie
around places that you can physically shoot in. Thereís no point in
writing a high-speed car chase that ends up at Washington DC, because that
is not practical to shoot on a low budget. Keep it simple; most filmmakers
start out by making a really simple movie. But thatís the genius of it:
itís so simple yet it looks so amazing. Thatís what will get you
noticed in this industry.
Iíve been meaning to ask you,
what does the name Phase Three actually mean?
Only the movie can answer that
question. Thereís no way I could explain the title Phase Three without
spoiling the movie.
What do you think you would do
in Denzel Marshís position?
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Itís a tricky question. My
initial reaction would be to run away, as far and as quick as possible.
But the nature of Denzelís character makes him embrace the journey
offered to him by Lucius. Deep down, Denzel is scared, but at the same
time excited. Heís just a thug, mugging kids on the streets, until
Lucius comes along. Denzel can see that Lucius is the real deal and can
offer him a path in life. So if I were Denzel, Iíd probably just go
along with it, as Iíd have nothing to lose. Whatís the alternative,
going back to hanging around on the streets, attacking innocent people?
Have you been on any nightmare
corporate training days yourself?
I have not.
Right then. Time for a kooky question. If you died and came back as a ghost,
what would you do?
Haunt director Joel Schumacher for
not only casting George Clooney as Batman but also giving the Batsuit
nipples. He redeemed himself with Phonebooth to be fair.
Surely the man who made The
Lost Boys is forgiven anything! Thanks for your time, Jamie. Before you
go, anything else you want to plug?
out our production companyís website: www.shooting-incident.co.uk
Thank you for the interview!