Your movie Dead in
France - in a few words, what is it about?
France is about a retiring hitman (aren't all movies?)
with massive social issues trying to find a perfect partner to sail around
the world with while avoiding various, unsociable criminal types who all
want a piece of him.
were your initial inspirations when writing Dead
I just liked the idea of a "Brits behaving badly"-movie
where even the filmmakers themselves just trample on another
countries' traditions - in this case French Cinema. Not to be mean but to
take the piss out of ourselves a little.
You wrote the script together with
your star Brian A. Levine. So what can you tell us about the writing
process, and your collaboration with Mr Levine, both as writer and actor,
and how did the two of you initially hook up?
Brian and I
met in Cannes and he helped me complete my first feature - a no-budget
survival thriller set in the South of England. He asked If I'd like
to develop Dead in
with him and before we knew it we were shooting.
Brian laid down a first draft based on his original idea then we
pulled it about a bit together - taking it in turns to add more
childish and ludicrous jokes as we went, just bouncing it back and forth.
the, ummm ... slightly eccentric characters in your movie, who can you
identify with the most?
Oh wow I'm not sure, if I'm being
negative then - probably Charles - just because everyone wants to take
from him, or at least that's how it seems. Being more positive I'd
say Simon - he wants to look out for his mates, have fun and make a few
quid doing it. None of them really thou - they are all horrorshows, aren't
Brian A. Levine as Charles
How did you approach your story
from a directorial point of view, and why did you decide to shoot in black
I'd always wanted to shoot a black and white
film - because we were ripping on a very comedic, British take on French
Cinema it just made sense to do it here - I also shot the film, edited and
did the VFX so as a Director I was spread pretty thin. I trusted my actors
I guess and developed the characters with the actors ahead of time as much
How would you describe Dead
in France's brand of humour, and do you consider yourself a
humourous man privately?
It's kind of an adult Carry On-film in one sense - it's very crude,
quiet dark at times - there's an element of slapstick.
People tell me I'm funny - I don't know if they are right but I try to
be funny - I've just been shooting in South Africa and one of the actors
said I should do stand-up - I don't think I'd have the balls for that
but a nice comment.
in France does feature quite a bit of violence. So what can you
tell us about that aspect of your film?
Violence can be
funny' - there's a quote! What I mean is Tom and Jerry were fucking
horrible to each other but it wasn't to be taken seriously. Neither is Dead in
- The violence is pretty comic and not going for realism
but more for slapstick. It may blur the line at times and that may be one
of the few challenging things about the movie.
Do talk about
your key cast for a bit if you can, and why exactly these people?
Bransford who played Denny and Celia Muir who played Lisa put in an
incredible amount of work developing their characters
and had some of the toughest scenes - something that
was recognised by the LA Film Festival of Hollywood last year when they
both received supporting actor awards, which was really cool - was great to see the US audience embracing the film.
everyone who was involved put in the time - I was very lucky to
have such good people around me. We
cast people we thought would be right for the movie - some were professional actors
and some quiet new to acting.
Darren Bransford, Celia Muir
movie was filmed in (and the title might suggest it already) France - why,
and what are the advantages and also challenges of filming in a foreign
It was great shooting in France - the people were
great, the locations awesome - was a bit hot at times but there genuinely weren't any
big differences from shooting at home and it helps that producer Brian
Levine who also plays Charles speaks fluent french.
What can you tell us about audience and
critical reception of your movie?
So far it has been really
well-received - we've had some really cool reviews from all
over. Comedy is very subjective and it's hard to please everyone - some
people expect something smarter - some don't get it at all, but in general
I think the film offers omething fun for most viewers - it is fairly broad
- just a little naughty at times.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
I'm developing my next feature at the
moment - a Survival Action movie called RAW based on a Private Military
Induction weekend that goes haywire. Hope to be shooting in the UK,
Russia, Poland and St Helena at the end of the summer. It's The Hunger
Games on Steroids.
Let's go back to the beginnings of
your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and how did
you learn your trade?
I was just hooked on Van Damme movies
and Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Lee... I started making fucking terrible
kung-fu movies with my friends when I was 13 - I wanted to act - be an
action star - and the fatter and older I got the more I stayed behind the
camera until I started learning how to use the bloody thing (Took a while
- still going). I'm self-taught - so just years of trying to learn from
mistakes - that never ends but it's fun trying.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Dead in
Aside from shit ninja movies as a kid my
first feature was a thriller called Travellers which I shot in the
of England for no money but have managed to get distributed in I think
seven major territories so far. It was really a bit of an experiment to
see if we could get into a feature film and out the other side in one piece.
How would you describe yourself as a
I'm still working that out - I guess hands-on and
enthusiastic. I enjoy problem solving.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
like Scorsese, Michael Mann and David Fincher. Big Ridley Scott
fan but I love all films really - sorry that was a really boring answer.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I'll tell you one movie I love and that's
Stand By Me, but again there is so many I could list - Apocalypse Now
gets a regular viewing but then so does Flash Gordon, so I can't be trusted
to answer that question.
... and of course, films you really
Have stopped hating films - it's so fucking tough
to get one made I have a huge tolerance and respect now. And even bad
movies are great - I love really shlock old grindhouse stuff... OK there
is one in recent years that I think is so overrated and infuriates me
when I see it or hear people rave about it, but I'm not going to say it
here as it will start a riot! I'm also aware my opinion on it is totally
wrong as it made fucking millions! Ha.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
You can check out upcoming projects at
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Nope all good - hope that's the
kinda thing you were after. Thanks!
Thanks for the interview!