Interview with Matthew Hope - Writer/Director
Q: What made you want to tell this story?
A: I'd always been interested in terrorism as a subject matter, so this story came about through my collaboration with Bob Craft, the co-writer and technical advisor. The spark came from stories that he'd told me, things that had been in the news about soldiers coming back from Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress - it was a kind of combination of a lot of things. Then I watched Taxi Driver as well and I thought, 'Actually, nobody's done a film like that for quite a while'. I thought that would be a good angle for what I had in mind. That's kind of the genesis of where it all sprung from.
Q: How would you describe Miller? Who is he?
A: That's tricky because he's your average, ordinary, everyday guy. He's not Superman, he's not anything special. He had a hard background, saw the army as a way out, went to war, became disillusioned with war, came home and is disillusioned with what he sees at home, what he discovers, and it sends him on a path that ultimately leads to bloodshed.
Q: What's been the most exciting scene to shoot?
A: For me, the dialogue scenes are the most exciting. Seeing Toby Kebbell, Brian Cox, Tony Curran, Adi Bielski and Ashley Thomas and all of the cast, really. Those scenes are really exciting because everyone thinks it's the action, but action takes a long time and it's tedious and it's stop/start/stop. It looks great, but for me it's watching the actors work that's exciting.
Q: You've gathered a great cast here
A: It's a very exciting cast. It's one thing on paper, but then you see what the actors do and how they breathe life into the characters, and that's fantastic. On the first day when I saw what Toby looked like on the screen playing Miller was just such a thrill. It was a highlight.
Q: What was it about Toby Kebbell that made him the perfect actor for the role?
A: Toby's a fantastic actor, and he completely gets the character. He and I approach the character from very similar points of view, as does Bob Craft and I think that's why he's right, because we're all coming from the same angle.
Q: Tell us about the look and feel for the sets today
A: We're in Jones' flat. He's a drug dealer on the estate. The sets have all been designed fantastically by Chris Richmond, our production designer, and they're supposed to reflect the muted colours, like in Afghanistan. Miller has a blue door, so you see these sort of very muted colours and then you get these bright colours that pop out everywhere, so it's supposed to reflect that. This scene we're filming today is Miller coming to confront Jones over a young kid who lives on the estate.
Q: How did you cast Ashley Thomas?
A: Ashley came via our casting directors. They suggested him, he came in, read, and was fantastic. He's been really great.
Q: Tell us about the research you had to do in the writing process
A: A lot of it was about conversations between Bob Craft and I, that's where most of the information comes from but bits and pieces come from internet research and then the actors go off and do their own research and bring things to it. Toby's researched a lot. Ashley's brought a lot to his character. They go off and discover things, which is great because it enriches the project.