Category Archives: Interviews

Bo Burnham on ‘Eighth Grade’, teens and the internet

Of all filmmakers to tackle the subject of the relationship of young people to the internet as it is now, Bo Burnham would be among the most qualified. After all, these platforms are responsible for where he is now. The 28-year-old American comedian, musician and actor began his performance career in 2006 with YouTube videos of self-penned comedy songs. The full trajectory of his path since is too convoluted to divulge here, but the important thing is that he has written and directed his first feature: a wonderful film called Eighth Grade that’s had a healthy box office run stateside and has gone on to receive numerous major awards wins and nominations, including a Golden Globe nod for star Elsie Fisher, a thrilling new talent, and a Directors Guild of America Award win in the First-Time Feature category for Burnham just days after our phone conversation…

Full interview for The Skinny

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‘Cyrano’ meets ‘Harry Potter’: Toby MacDonald and Pauline Etienne on ‘Old Boys’

Loosely based on Edmond Rostand’s classic 19th-century play Cyrano de Bergerac, Toby MacDonald’s debut feature, Old Boys, transplants key elements of that story to a British boarding school in the late 1980s, albeit with some of the more tragic parts – the war and the bloodshed for starters – excised in favour of a more comedic update…

Full interview for the BFI

Ray & Liz: an exploration of family life in Thatcher’s Britain

In Ray & Liz, artist and photographer Richard Billingham makes his feature debut as a writer-director. A vignette-based portrait about a family falling apart, it’s inspired by his own childhood growing up in the Thatcher-era West Midlands.

It’s a period that he documented in the photo project that first brought him fame in the late ’90s. Titled Ray’s a Laugh, the series featured striking images of his parents (the titular Ray and Liz) as well as younger brother Jason, often in scenes of squalor reflecting the deprivation and isolation in which Billingham grew up. The film, however – which has since been nominated for a BAFTA  – goes even deeper.

“A film I was very interested in is The Terence Davies Trilogy [1983], which I saw in my 20s. A lot of that was shot from lived experience,” he explains…

Full interview for HUCK

Steven Yeun and Lee Chang-dong on thriller ‘Burning’

Arriving eight years after previous film Poetry, Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s Burning left last year’s Cannes without any competition prizes but with perhaps the most ardent critical support of any movie to premiere there in 2018. Much of the film’s pleasure comes from how it slowly reveals its mysteries, so it’s best to keep any plot details to a minimum. All we’ll say is that it concerns a young man, Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), reconnecting with and developing feelings for a girl from his youth, Hae-mi (newcomer Jun Jong-seo). He agrees to look after her cat while she’s abroad in Africa. When she comes back, she’s accompanied by a mysterious companion, Ben (Steven Yeun), a wealthy man with a proclivity for pyromania that may be a cover for something more sinister…

Full interview for The Skinny

‘Mortal Engines’ star Robert Sheehan on being subconsciously obsessed with mortals

It’s the festive season, so naturally it’s time for a new epic fantasy film from The Lord Of The Rings‘ Peter Jackson. That film is arriving in the form of Mortal Engines, based on the novel by Philip Reeve, which is what some people are calling a steampunk LOTR. However, Jackson isn’t directing this time — that task has gone to Christian Rivers. The film stars Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan and Jihae as citizens and visitors of the travelling town of London as they all get caught up in a plot of murder and oppression.

Robert Sheehan, who genre fans will know as Nathan from E4’s Misfits, has a surprising story regarding the Mortal Engines casting process: “Leila George, who plays Katherine, and I went to San Francisco, to Peter Jackson’s hotel room, and we just sat around, started chatting shit and taped over four hours because Peter’s camera battery kept dying. So, we’d do a take and then he’d go off and he’d sit it in charge for 15 to 20 minutes and we’d have another natter and show each other YouTube videos…

Full interview for SciFiNow
This is an extract from a bigger print-exclusive Mortal Engines preview feature in SciFiNow #152

Lola Kirke: ‘As a woman, I felt uncomfortable with my libido’

Lola Kirke is perched at the table of an east London restaurant, surrounded by the remnants of scones. Though enthusiastic and engaging in conversation, the 28-year-old actor and musician is prone to getting distracted: on this occasion, it’s a fellow customer wearing a beret with the term ‘Solidarity’ on it that has interrupted her train of thought. “I think that’s hysterical,” she says, genuinely delighted…

Full interview for HUCK

‘Anna and the Apocalypse’ interview: horror comedy musical is “The Breakfast Club meets Gremlins”

By all accounts, Anna And The Apocalypse would appear to be the world’s first feature-length zombie comedy musical set in high school… and at Christmas… in Scotland. Shot around the likes of Port Glasgow, Greenock and Falkirk, the film premiered to considerable buzz at last year’s Fantastic Fest in the US and is now making its way into cinemas nationwide to unleash some festive fear…

Full interview for SciFiNow
This is an extract from a bigger print-exclusive Anna and the Apocalypse feature in SciFiNow #152