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11th February 2013
Racing courage
Title of film: McLaren, The Man Who
Director: Thierry Alberts
Production Company: A+ / Academy
Faustin and Thierry Alberts create a haunting monologue film of Bruce McLaren to mark the racing group's 50th anniversary

First of all, why McLaren? What was the thinking behind the brief? What did the client wish to achieve?

Faustin and I wrote this film when we were pitching for the McLaren business at VCCP. We were trying to make a piece of work that would sum up what McLaren is about and inspire them to work with us. And reading about their founder’s life was the best place to start. Indeed, he was a hugely passionate pilot with a tremendous work ethic that still drives the whole company. We shot it on a very limited budget and played it the day of the pitch. They were all very impressed and some people even said that they saw a tear on [executive chairman of McLaren Group] Mr Ron Dennis’ cheek.

Anyway, the agency won the business and they’ve decided to use the film to celebrate McLaren’s 50th anniversary.

And what was your brief to A+ / Academy director Marcus Soderlund?

Our brief to Marcus was to keep it very simple and emotional. We wanted people to listen to the words and be struck by the focus and drive of Bruce [McLaren].

We are huge fans of the thin red line from Terrence Mallick and Ben Chaplin’s monologue in the Jungle, so we had a great reference for him.

The icing on the cake being that the amazing producer at VCCP got us none else than Ben Chaplin himself to record the voice! A treat.

Did you write the script from research and how did it evolve?

We wrote the script after quite a lot of research. We read Bruce’s book and watched everything about him. He had such an amazing life. We didn’t have to add much to the writing, he did all of it!

Were you tempted to shoot it yourself?

We were tempted to shoot it of course, but when we see what Marcus did, we have no regret at all. Marcus was the perfect match for it, and he totally got what if was about. I remember how he made a quick edit on the train on the way back, and how we never could beat that edit. It was totally spot on. Very emotional. Big up to Marcus Soderlund and James at A+ / Academy!

You are off to Wieden’s in Amsterdam. Will you be focusing on the creative side of which accounts? Do you think there’ll be any in-house directing for Surrender Monkeys or do they remain a completely separate irreverent directing duo?

Faustin and I are the creative directors on Heineken which takes a bit of time but is hugely entertaining because you get to work on one of the biggest brands in the world with some of the most talented people in this industry.

With the scale of work on those global accounts, being a director with the Surrender Monkeys helps a lot when there is less money or less time but we still want to make great things happen. So the Monkeys have already started to work on some cool projects… watch this space.

Then we’re always pitching on music promos through Colonel Blimp, so get in touch!

McLaren, The Man Who Production Company:  A+ / Academy Director: Marcus Soderlund Producer : James Cunningham Agency: VCCP TV Producer: Larissa Miola ECD: Darren Bailes Creatives: Thierry Albert / Faustin Claverie DOP: Ula Pontikos Post Prod: Finish / MPC Editor: Sam Rice Edwards Editing House:  The Assembly Rooms