Let's start this with Deathless,
the short - in a few words, what is it about?
Itís basically a film noir, about a British private detective whose
wife gets kidnapped for ransom by the guy heís investigating. The short
film focusses on the showdown between the two men and its aftermath.
your inspirations for writing Deathless?
always loved the American and French film noir movies of the 1940s and
1950s and had an idea for a story in that genre, set in the present day,
which I was originally going to write as a novel. Then I spoke to some
filmmaker friends of mine who really liked the concept and thought it
would make a good film, so I wrote it as a screenplay instead.
can you tell us about your director Aimee Powell, and what was your
I met Aimee at Cannes, through another
film guy I was planning to work with. When that fell through, Aimee asked
me to co-produce a short film of hers, called Shades of Beige, starring
Michelle Dockery and Edward Hogg. We agreed to make a short film version
of Deathless straight after it, with me producing and Aimee directing.
Sheís a great director, with an excellent rapport with actors and a
great empathy for my work and it all went very well.
Do talk about your cast, and why
exactly these people?
We essentially had a wish list for
the actors we wanted and we got them all, with the invaluable help of
Maureen Duff, the casting director. Joseph Mawle has an extraordinary
intensity, which makes him an ideal antagonist as Max in the film. Ed
Speleers has a depth which we felt some of his other films hadnít
perhaps explored and which we were keen to draw out in his role as John
the protagonist. Jane How was perfect as Rose the taxi driver - a classic,
classy English actress in the same mould as Helen Mirren and Judy Dench -
and Latoya Rafaela is an actress friend of mine, who has a very
distinctive look, which I wanted for the key small role of the florist,
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
ambitious project for a short film, with some very challenging shots, not
least filming a taxi driving on a beach in Wales in December. However, we
were blessed not just by good weather, but also by having a fabulous crew,
including the wonderful Luke Bryant as DoP and A.J. Walters and his crew
as gaffer and sparks etc, which made it all a lot easier than it might
have been. It was a very happy shoot with a great unity to it and we were
all really pleased with the outcome.
$64-question of course, where can the film be seen?
is available to buy on iTunes. If you type in "Deathless" on the iTunes
store youíll find it there, under films. Itís also licensed to a
company called Shorts International, who screen it from time to time on
their networks around the world. Their last screening, which was part of a
season of short films starring actors in Game of Thrones, i.e. Joseph
Mawle, was very well received with some of their highest ever viewing
figures, apparently. There are also some clips from the film as part of a
showreel on my website,
what I know, you want to expand Deathless
into a feature film - so could you tell us which parts of the story you'll
expand and how, and how closely will the two versions be related?
right. The short film is essentially a teaser/trailer for the feature; the
first 15 minutes of the feature script in fact, although it's developed
quite a bit since I made the short film, including with the help of the
great script editor Kate Leys. So there will be a quite a few
similarities; but some differences as well. Its subtitle is London *
Heaven * L.A. which gives you an idea of where itís set. Itís
basically a film noir with a twist and a bit of magic realism thrown in.
you've shot the short Deathless
quite a while back, will there be any change in personnel with the feature
I should mention that the Deathless-feature almost got made a couple of years
ago with a Canadian co-production company, but they had to drop out when
the Saskatchewan Government ended the film tax credit there, so that put
it on hold for a while. As Iíve mentioned, part of the feature version
is set in L.A., which Canada often doubles for in films, of course.
Iím hopeful weíll be able to shoot part of it in the USA this time
In terms of personnel, we havenít got to the stage of casting the
feature yet, but I expect itíll be different actors. Iím hopeful,
however, that we can use a lot of the same crew, including Luke Bryant
as DoP, as they did such a wonderful job on the short film and totally
share my vision for the feature.
So at what stage are your plans of expansion
right now, any idea when you might start shooting and when the film might
The buzz around the feature is building right now, with a number of key
people interested in making it with me. Itís too early to give you
dates etc, but Iím hopeful itíll be happening sometime this year.
can you tell us about your filmwork besides Deathless?
date, Iíve made four short films, including Deathless
and Shades of Beige, as well as another Aimee Powell film called Drift about slave
labour in Britain and a fantasy film called Milk. There are details about
all of these projects and those in development on my website.
other future projects you'd like to share?
My main focus at
the moment is on the Deathless feature. Iím also working on an animated
film called Red Shadows, set in Nazi era Berlin and based on a true story,
as well as on a couple of short films, all of which Iím producing. Iím
also working on a play about legendary Hollywood actress Veronica Lake,
called The Lost Blonde, who is best known for her film noir films with
Alan Ladd. Iíve co-written that with American writer Don Bain who
co-wrote her autobiography with her and is best known for writing the
Murder She Wrote novels. That projectís currently with theatrical
producers in New York and L.A. ahead of it hopefully being staged there.
Weíve also written it as a film script.
What got you into the filmworld to begin with,
and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
basically self taught. I was lucky enough to work with a lot of film
people in my previous roles as a PR guy, so am very comfortable in that milieu.
The rest - the screenwriting and film production - Iíve learnt as Iíve
gone along. Itís been a valuable and fascinating learning process and
continues to be.
talk about your company Little
Dude Films for a bit, and what's the philosophy behind it?
philosophy behind Little
Dude Films is very simple: to make classy, story
and character driven films that people want to watch, which I hope is
exemplified by the short films Iíve made to date. Itís been a bit of a
long old haul getting a feature made, but as I say, I hope this year will
be a good one for us. Watch this space.
writers, whoever else who inspire you?
The list is pretty
long, but to name just some people: Directors - David Fincher, Peter
Bogdanovich, David Lynch, Orson Welles, Jean-Pierre Melville, Max Ophuls,
Andrei Tarkovsky; Actors - Dirk Bogarde, George Clooney, Rooney Mara,
Veronica Lake, Burt Lancaster, Al Pacino, Joan Fontaine; Writers -
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Joseph Mitchell,
Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy. Plus random others - Jackson Pollock, Bob Dylan, Bobby Kennedy, David Bowie, Stephen Shore, Ludwig
Wittgenstein, Tex Avery and many more.
Again endless, but: Letter From An Unknown Woman,
Citizen Kane, Le Samourai, Saint Jack, Zodiac, This Gun For
Apocalypse Now, Mulholland Drive, Diner, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid, Die Hard, Solaris.
and of course, films you really deplore?
There arenít any
films that I deplore, because I know how hard it is to make them, but some
recent ones have been overrated I think, including American
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
My website is
Thereís loads of information on there. Iím currently updating my
Facebook page, but give me a couple of weeks and type in "Little
Dude Films" and itíll be up there.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
donít think so. Many thanks for your interest in Deathless
for the interview!
Special thanks to Richard S Barnett, founder of IIWYK!!!
Photographs by Tezza Beazley, Ed Miller and Graham James, © Little
Dude Films Ltd