Your narratives especially for the band Clock Opera reflect the complexities of older people. What is it that draws you to these characters?
I love the way that old people have stories in their eyes and in their skin. I have a huge respect for their wisdom and knowledge and love the excitement of trying to capture it on camera. ‘Once and For All’ portrayed the truth of growing old in the UK, while challenging our preconceptions with a more modern style romance. I’m really just interested in people and living their stories.
What inspired The Lost Buoys’ script, was it based on a true story?
The band came to me with some strong lyrics about tax evasion, not your average topic for an indie song. But it was exciting to be riffing off such a current and modern issue. It’s not based on a true story per se but I think with everything going on in the news it is the portrayal of a character that is bedded deep within the public consciousness. An exploration of a deeply avaricious individual and his gradual withdrawal and descent into madness.
Great setting, where was the location?
The location was Childerly Hall, a hunting lodge just outside Cambridge. With a hauntingly appropriate history – it is famous for housing Charles I for the final days before his execution – it was the perfect decadent location. With intricate hand painted Tudor rooms and that stately stale atmosphere it became almost a character in the narrative.
What is your method for casting, have you worked with these actors before?
I’ve always wanted to work with Alun Armstong and when he agreed to do it I was thrilled. I love Alun’s complex character on screen and he had a real expressive demeanor. His descent into madness is perfectly pitched, each twitch of a facial muscle evoking an internal break. Maggie and Catherine brought an additional depth of emotion to the piece, the perfect human counterpoints to Alun’s increasingly erratic behaviour.
Your films are becoming more complex, your attention to detail even more focused, what are the key lessons you’ve embraced over the past year?
I love the challenge of telling an emotive story within 3-4 minutes while still reacting visually to the nuances within the melody and lyrics. I have also embraced the fact that the devil is really in the detail. Constructing completely believable worlds is integral to connecting with the viewer and creating a visceral cinematic experience.