Your new movie Age of Kill
- in a few words, what is it about?
about a disgraced black ops sniper, Sam Blake (Martin Kemp) who receives a
call from a masked terrorist who has kidnapped his daughter (Dani Dyer) saying
he has 6 hours to kill 6 seemingly random people or his daughter will be
How did the project fall together in the first place, who
initiated it and who was the driving force?
had been talking to writer Simon Cluett about 2 separate ideas – a
ticking clock sky movie and something akin to the old hooligan movie ID
but with National Front types rather than football hooligans. Neither idea
was quite working separately but by joining them together they worked. I
took the concept to UK distributor Platform Entertainment and they
greenlit it very quickly.
about your director Neil Jones [Neil Jones
interview - click here] for a bit, and what was your collaboration
is also my producing partner, so we work together every day in our office
thus it wasn’t like working with a new director. But he’s a total pro
– he brought a very ambitious vision to
Age of Kill, particularly in
terms of action set pieces, and he realized it. We are very different
characters but that makes our partnership work – where I’m weak he’s
strong and vice versa. We always have a laugh.
Maybe connected to the last questions, how much of
a hands-on or hands-off producer are you, and did you have or demand any
creative control over the film?
business is entirely producer-lead. Low budget, commercial films have to
be, there’s no room for auteurs. But that doesn’t mean I storm around
the set chomping a big cigar bellowing at people through a megaphone.
Well, not often. I’m generally very involved in every aspect of a movie
from inception through to release but if I’ve hired the right creative
people to make the films, the idea is that I shouldn’t really need to
Do talk about your movie's
many action scenes for a bit, and how were they achieved? And what are the
challenges for a producer when it comes to action movies in general, and of
course regarding Age of Kill
we’re not the first UK filmmakers to attempt an action film – Terry
Stone and the Gilbeys did it with Rollin With The Nines and set the bar
very high indeed. What we wanted to do was make a British film that was
really different – not a cockney gangster movie but something that can
at least try to compete with the
big boys (and I’m not talking about Avengers Assemble, just
straight-to-video American action movies) – and to do that we needed big
action set pieces – which thankfully Neil and the guys delivered. The Bad
Boys style helicopter chase is something we’re all particularly
Martin Kemp and Jonathan
From what I
know, Age of Kill,
while big in scope, was shot on a relatively tight budget - so what kind
of a challenge was that then?
bloody hard. We make these films for a few hundred grand which baffles
many people but so long as the scripts are written to the budget it is
just about achievable. And stretching the budget isn’t just about
helicopter chases and fight scenes – it's about getting top quality
actors in… and we were very lucky to land Phil Davis, Patrick Bergin,
Dexter Fletcher, Bruce Payne, Nick Moran et al. Yes a lot of these actors
come and do these films because they are pals of mine and I can pick up
the phone but they wouldn’t do it if the scripts weren’t good.
Now I'm taking a wild
guess and claim that it was you who brought Martin Kemp to the project -
so what made him perfect for the role, and what can you tell us about your
professional relationship with him?
it was. Martin and I have been very close friends for the best part of a
decade, he’s a big part of my life. Over the years he has opened a lot
of doors for me and always supported me – to be honest without him I
doubt I’d have a career as a producer. He’s been a director for me
several times and done some little cameos but he’s never been a leading
man for me. The role of Sam Blake seemed a great fit for him and the
distributor really liked him so it was an obvious choice. Martin and I
know each other so well it's just easy – lots of laughing and lots of
hugs. Neither of us have that need to be the alpha male, we’d both
rather just sit back and have a cocktail. He’s also responsible for the
genius casting of Ian Ogilvy in my film We Still Kill The Old Way – we
were struggling to find a leading man and Martin had seen Ian in some old
TV show and called suggesting him and as it happens it just couldn’t
have worked out any better. Martin’s what I call a life-enhancer –
having him around just makes people happy. He’s a diamond.
What can you tell us
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was tough because the pressure was on and it was last summer so it was
sweltering. One day at Wimbledon Studios doing the Britain First fascist
scenes some of the extras were getting a bit restless waiting about in the
blazing sun. Nick Moran sensed this and jumped up on a table with his
character’s megaphone and led them all in a chorus of ‘Sweet
Caroline’ – it was a classy act from a class act.
few words about audience and critical reception of Age
of Kill so far?
ever with these films the reviews are mixed – but I don’t make films
for critics, I make them for people who buy DVDs. You have to understand
that as a child of the 80s going to the local video shop to hire a film
was a big deal. If the people who buy my films in ASDA or Tesco get
anything like that thrill then I’ve accomplished everything I set out to
do. Every week Neil and I go to HMV on Bond Street to buy our DVDs and
also to check out chart positioning, what’s trending and what people are
buying – or not buying. It’s a really important part of our week. Of
course we normally go to the pub after.
Any chance for a sequel to Age
of Kill, and/or other future projects you'd like to share?
all depends on the numbers the first one achieves. We’d all love to but
you have to be careful not to get caught up in your own hype. There are
certain sales targets to be met and if they are then sure, Age of Kill 2:
Rogue is very much a possibility!
got you into producing to begin with, and did you receibe any formal
training on the subject?
wasn’t smart enough to be a writer or director!! I just seemed to fall
into it really – I used to work for a famous producer/director called
David Wickes who taught me so much – I didn’t go to university but
learned so much more from David than I would have done had I gone.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Age of Kill?
was variable. The films I’ve made before I started Richwater in 2013
that are worth watching are limited in number – White Collar
Hooligan, Stalker, Devil’s Playground… that’s about it. But since I made
Vendetta I am proud of pretty much all the films we’ve made –
especially We Still Kill The Old Way and its sequel We Still Steal The Old
Way and, of course, Age of Kill.
How would you describe yourself as a producer?
think I’m pretty easy going – I’m one of the boys when I need to be
and I’m tough when I’m negotiating but I don’t think I’m
particularly difficult. People say I’m prolific but I always feel I
could achieve so much more.
filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
Wickes who I used to work for is a constant inspiration. Also the late
Bryan Forbes and Brian Clemens, both of whom gave me a lot of advice when
I was young. Guy Ritchie, Mathew Vaugh, Nick Love – I think if you watch
my movies you can see the influences pretty clearly!
long have you got? My favourite movie is Jaws, but then (in no particular
order) The Monster Squad, Star Wars, The Long Good
Friday, Fright Night,
The Lost Boys, Taken, Die Hard, Commando, the Rocky series,
Groundhog Day, Gremlins, Dracula
(1958), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Death Wish,
Live & Let Die, The Wild Geese, Warlords of
Atlantis, The Dark Knight Rises, Avengers Assemble, Get Carter… I could
go on for days. I LOVE movies.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I think its unfair to pick on other people’s films knowing how much effort
goes into making them: the film industry in the UK would be a much better
place if we all supported each other. But that’s part of the reason it's
less an industry and more a sort of creative car boot fair. But in a
general sense I don’t much care for musicals (except Little Shop of
Horrors) or westerns.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
can follow me on Twitter @sothcott – it isn’t terribly serious and you
won’t learn much but I sometimes tweet good restaurant recommendations.
for the interview!