Archive for Interview

Stephen Poliakoff on Glorious 39 (2009)

Posted in Features with tags , , , , on November 24, 2009 by cultfriction

Glorious 39 marks Stephen Poliakoff’s return to the silver screen after a ten year absence. Having had a lucrative career in both stage and television his reasons for staying away from film weren’t entirely by choice mostly due to the state of cinema in the UK. “I didn’t mean to stay away from the cinema as long as I had due to commitments in television both here and in the United States. One thing is that I’ve been disappointed over the distribution of films in the UK in the last couple of years. It was awful in the 90’s. Stuff made by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh just had a few prints and then faded away. Only few people would see the films on screen until they were shown on television and even then they were screened at two o clock in the morning so nobody would really see them. In the 90’s I made a film called Close my eyes with Clive Owen which was a great hit critically by winning awards but it didn’t break out of the art house circuit so I felt that the Americans deal with it a lot better. But now in the past few years it’s got a lot better, there are more British distributors for British films.  I’ve been waiting a while to come back to the silver screen until i found a story i really wanted to tell.”

Poliakoff is one of a select brand of writers who have elevated television dramas to an art form. After finishing university he was the writer in residence at the National Theatre and from there he has written over twenty stage plays and over a dozen television dramas. After winning a plethora of awards and recognitions he has returned to the cinema with a story that touches one of Britain’s darkest hours in history. Glorious 39 is set in the heady summer before the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. Although his research into the period was entrily accurate having poured over the dairies of noted politicians and establishment figures of the era he stresses that the plot of the film is entirely fictional.   “Yes indeed the secret service were very active against people who were opposing the policy of appeasement, they had a ferocious campaign of dirty tricks played against them and they were all spied upon, homes were watched, phones were tapped, private lives were monitored for blackmail purposes so for those dramatic purposes I’ve heightened it. It is a fictional thriller but it is based on events and situations that were going on. For a wider truth it does highlight how close we (the British) were to doing a deal with Hitler, in a sense letting the Nazis have total control over Europe leaving the UK a puppet state of the Nazi Germany. I thought it was a really good way of telling this suspense story because if things had played out differently, I, as a Jew, and many others wouldn’t be here today.”

Set against this backdrop of political intrigue, Poliakof has created a heart stopping thriller which centres on one wealthy family, the Keyes – who fear that their way of life will be lost forever if war breaks out. The adopted, eldest sibling Anne (Gari) is a budding young film actress who stumbles into the dark world of political conspiracy where she cannot trust anyone, especially her own family. Along with her Poliakoff has employed a stellar cast of British screen heavyweights to tell the story. “It was extraordinary, wonderful to have such a cast in the film, a mixture of legends such as Christopher Lee, Jenny Agutter, Julie Chirstie as well as up and coming bright actors and actresses. The burst of young talent such as Romala Gari, David Tennant and Juno Temple is very exciting to work with given that they will be the future stars of British Cinema.”

Poliakoff is not a man to work with other peoples material. Having come from a theatre background, he finds more control when it comes to working with his own writing. “I’m sure one day I will shoot someone else’s script, my wife is a very successful writer, she dramatised the screen version of Emma and Jayne Ayer so there’s a possibility that we will work together. I do have a lot of ideas of my own and I prefer to work with my own scripts. If im offered an incredible project then I will take it but I have to say having been offered a lot of work nothing has really grabbed me enough for me to give up my own work.

Poliakoff offers us some firm advice for any aspiring writers out there who want to break into the world of writing.

“I think always try to be individual, try not to copy whats out there becasue the last thing people are looking for are pale immatations of whats there now. But what they are looking for is someone who has a zing of freshness about them so its always good to be original. That is the quickest way of being successful.”

Glorious 39 is released in cinemas nationwide on the 20th of November 2009.

Cult Friction meets James Duval Aka Frank The Bunny from Donnie Darko

Posted in Features with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2009 by cultfriction

 

 

Award Nominated interview with James Duval.

James Duval is an American actor, probably most famous for his roles in the Gregg Araki trilogy, Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere, in addition to Frank in Donnie Darko, Miguel in Independence Day and Singh in Go. He also plays guitar in his band, Antoneus Maximus & The Nuthouze Band. I met and interviewed James at the MCM Expo at the Excell Centre in London where he was signing autographs and talking about his cult movie experience. This feature was broadcast on the Cult Friction programme on the 24th of May 2009

Cult Friction – Star Trek Special

Posted in Cult Friction THE SHOW with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2009 by cultfriction

Hailing frequencies open captain,

Well set my phaser to stun! Yes it has been a long time coming and I guess now would be the perfect time for Cult Friction to do a STAR TREK Special.

Why wait till now I hear you ask? Well it just so happens that Cult Friction will be bringing you an EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW of the franchise reboot. In fact we’ll be posting the verdict of the movie on the blog on Tuesday night so check out https://cultfriction.wordpress.com.

Also on the programme, coverage of the LONDON SCI FI FESTIVAL (http://www.sci-fi-london.com) – CF caught up with some of the UK’s top sci fi writers and comic book artists including:

Bryan Talbot – creator of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its recent sequel Heart of Empire.

China Mieville – Award-winning English fantastic fiction writer.

Oisin McGann – Irish Writer and Illustrator.

Pat Cadigan – American-born science fiction author, whose work is described as part of the cyberpunk movement.

Paul J. McAuley – British award-winning author, and self-described science junkie.

SPECIAL FEATURE on STAR TREK – We discuss all matters Trek including why you shouldn’t wear a red shirt, daily Klingon language tips and of course the biggest debate of them all; Who is better? Kirk or Picard. We’ll settle it! (Unlikely as it may seem)

And of course NERD NEWS – We give you tips on how to deal with ZOMBIE PIGS once the Swine Flu mutates! Fingers crossed.

As always theres the all mighty blog (https://cultfriction.wordpress.com) and the twitter feed (http://twitter.com/cultfriction) which now has over 200 followers and climbing by a rate of three or four a day.

Once again big thank you to all who voted for us. If you havn’t had a chance to listen in yet then tune in here @ http://www.wiredradio.co.uk to find out why we are nominated for Best Wired Show of 2008/09.

Ka Plah (Success)

The Cult Friction Team.

PS, Our George met George Lucas and saw the Star Wars Musical Journey but we are going to devote a whole show to that next week!

A little chat with Pappys Fun Club!

Posted in Features with tags , , , , on April 5, 2009 by cultfriction

Cult Friction popped down to the Happy Mondays Comedy Club to chat to Pappys Fun Club. Click on the YouTube link to hear the interview with one of the funniest up and coming sketch groups in the UK!

 

From their website – 

“Pappy’s Fun Club is a comedy team made up of Ben, Brendan, Matthew and Tom. Through a string of live appearances across London, they began to build a small cult following and so, in 2006, the team took an hour of Fun to Edinburgh.

The following year they performed in comedy venues across the UK, were heard on Radio 4’s 28 Acts in 28 Minutes, were nominated as Chortle’s Best Newcomer, and received a string of fantastic reviews and a nomination for the If.Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier) at the Edinburgh Festival for their second full-length show.

Since then Pappy’s have recorded their own TV show for Channel 4, their own radio show for Radio 4, and appeared as part of Comedy Shuffle on BBC3 and Comedy Cuts on ITV2. Their third Edinburgh show, Funergy, gardenered further critical praise. During early 2009 they toured the Britain and Ireland with Funergy.”

For more information on Pappys Fun Club and their upcoming tour dates check out their official website http://www.pappysfunclub.co.uk/.

For upcoming comedy nights at the Amersham Arms pub check out http://www.showandtellcomedy.com/happymondayscomedy.html and http://www.amersham-arms.co.uk/

Rutger Hauer and Ridley Scott at Blade Runner Day. BFI 21.3.09

Posted in Features with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by cultfriction

Cult Friction headed down to the BFI for Blade Runner Day (21.3.09) for Q&A’s with actor Rutger Hauer and director Sir Ridley Scott.

Today we are closer to the year 2019, the time and setting of the seminal science fiction film Blade Runner, than we are to the time when it was made. Twenty seven years on and the film that was embroiled in production hell, constant rewrites and poor box office returns has endured and emerged as one of the high bench marks of modern sci fi cinema. So much so that members of the British Film Institute (BFI) chose the Philp K Dick adaptation as the number one film of the past seventy five years. Therefore it was felt appropriate to celebrate the movie at the BFI Southbank with a screening of “The Final Cut” of the film as well as a chance for die hard cinemaphiles to meet and hear actor Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty Nexus 6) and director Sir Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, American Gangster) recall the key moments in the making of what some claim to be the last word in artistic science fiction.

The Final Cut (honestly!)
For nearly three decades Blade Runner has been somewhat schizophrenic. Starting with the films work print, theatrical release right through to first directors cut in 1992 and finally the final cut to mark the 25th anniversary there have been so many versions that fans are struggling to keep up. Even die hard movie buffs have taken the print into their own hands and compiled their own known as the White Bishops cut which consists of all the films deleted scenes.

This Final Cut which has been on DVD since 2007 has digitally cleaned up the picture, corrected the colouring and extended some of the films neon city scape with added footage as well as replacing an obviously dodgy stunt double with the original actress. Overall this constant tinkering and adding to the film over the years have added to the films mystery and intrigue (most importantly the often asked “is Dekard a replicant? Answer: for god sake YES!)

This final version feels more of a complete film that any of the previous cuts (and believe me I have the 5 disc box set in a tin). Watching this film on the silver screen is essential for die hard fans. Even after repeated viewings the extra details jump out at you highlighting every minute detail that makes this film so special.

Hairy Vibrators, a conversation with Rutger Hauer
Tall, distingusihed and very very relaxed, Rutger Hauer took to the stage to reminisce about his (arguably) most famous role ever. This is his 40th year in film and he now has a auto biography from which all the earnings will go to his supported AIDS charity the Starfish Foundation.

On Developing the Character of Roy and working with Ridley Scott

“We just fucked around. To me he was like a big hairy vibrator. My self and Ridley Scott worked very hard on the character and we threw around ideas here and there. He was very open to me experimenting with the character and allowing me to do what I wanted. I was literally bouncing off  the walls. It was physically demanding shoot for me though. Lots of running, especially towards the end. At one point because of the writers strike they didn’t have a proper ending written so I was told that I was going to have to do a Bruce Lee Sile ending and I was like “What?”. I didn’t really think that it was appropriate so we worked on a cat and mouse, hunter now hunted style chase instead.”

On working with Harrison Ford.

“We hardly saw each other. As you know I spend most of the movie being chased by him and its is only at the end that we meet. even at that I spent most of the time ducking away from him or in a different room so all in all a ten day shoot, i probably spent only half of that time actually with him. I had heard that he had been unhappy with some aspects of the shoot and we hardly ever spoke. I turned up at the set and said hello and we would carry on with the scene.

On the films initial reception in 1982.

I remember being there in the test audience in Los Angeles and I could tell that this film was going to divide the audience. I can sense the audience’s skin crawling at certain moments and it was electric. I loved it though, it looked and sounded amazing with those visual effects and that sublime score by Vangelis.It blew me away.  But it made $6 million on its opening weekend due to bad publiciy and did’nt fare too well nationwide. But I loved it.

On the continuing popularity of Blade Runner today.

“Did it change my life? No! (laughs) But I’m surprised how popular its has been over the years. Its such a cult now. I believe it was the last ever science fiction art film. Each line is like Turkish delight, you can dissect and analyse every meaning from the film. It’s like a visul tsunami.

Ridley Scott; In Conversation

Sir Ridley Scott, one of the worlds top film directors, honoured with three Academy Award Nominations and the mind behind two of the greatest science fiction films of all time Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982),sprawling epics such as Gladiator (2000) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and many many more. Receiving the BFI Fellowship from his contemporary Steven Frears (dir The Queen, High Fidelity) he spoke with Francine Stock about his carrer past, present and Future.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Scotts background was primarily in design. Starting at the BBC and working on some of the networks most popular shows he went into commercial production setting up RSA which became one of the leading commercial production companies in Europe. In 1977, Scott made his feature film debut with The Duellisits, for which he won Best First Film Award at Cannes Film Festival. Then in 1979 he achieved world wide success with Sci Fi horror blockbuster Alien.

On Alien

“I was showing the cuts to the studio and they were amazed that nothing happens for the first 45 minutes. Then obviously there’s the alien attack scene when it shoots out of the egg. One of the execs shouted “Don’t look in the egg!” (laughs). Then the chest burster scene, it worked like a son of a bitch. The cast were taken out and in came the designer of the chest burster, who wasnt HR Geiger by the way who worked on the main alien. This penis like thing came in a plastic bag and we set about having it installed into a fake torso with John Hurts head at the top. He was’nt very comfortable as you can imagine. Then we brought in the cast and they reacted perfectly. We did it in one take, that was it. That was all we needed to get the right reaction and as you can see it stands up. My biggest fear is that they would burst out laughing.”

On Science Fiction.

“I loved Star Wars and 2001. When Star Wars came out I just went “WOW.” And so the first script that landed in my lap that was sci fi I jumped at it. Most of the set that I was involved with in Alien, the design I wanted to make ultra realistic so that we could believe in this environment that our characters were in just like 2001, so I took that leaf from Kubrick. Then when I got the script for Blade Runner I wasn’t too keen on being seen as a Sci Fi director, I didn’t want to do two back to back. But I met with Philip K Dick and we came up with something fantastic. The reason why I haven’t done a Sci Fi picture in so long is because I like to try everything. At the moment I am currently working on the adaption of the novel Forever War by Joe Haldeman which I’ve just obtained the rights to so yes I will be returning to that genre.

On 3D cinema and new technology

“You need a good plot and narrative no matter what. I have seen some of the things that Cameron is doing with his new project Avatar and it is stunning so I do believe it is the future of the big screen entertainment however it is never a substitute for a good script.”

On the best directors/actors

“I watch everything. I watch a movie a night before I go to bed so I am influenced by everything I see. Big Lebowski was a big favourite of mine. They (the Coen Brothers) are doing a great job.But on the whole I respect the masters in particular Bergman, Kurosawa and Kubrick. In regards to actors I think Russel Crow is a massive talent. I enjoy working with him and I think he is one of the greatest actors at the moment. Denzel Washington’s great too. I think actors are a nuisance though! (Laughs)”

On his upcoming work

“Well we are working on the new Robin Hood film with Russel Crowe in the title roll and Cate Blanchett supporting as  Maid Marrion. I am also looking at a script that deals with the Gucci empire. That was a fantastic story of revenge and money and a great setting.”

Cult Friction

March 2009