Your upcoming film The Reverend - in a few words, what is it
two words: Vigilante Vampire! I like to think of it as Death Wish with
The film is based on a graphic novel, which you
have also written, right? A few words about the graphic novel, and in what
respect does the film differ from it, where are the similarities?
And how does making a movie differ from writing a graphic novel?
always planned on doing both so I approached it as a screenplay and then
started working with Concept Artist Jaeson Finn and excellent graphics
company Graphica FX, headed by Daniel Rollings, they really helped shape
the graphic Novel side. The big difference with the novel is your
imagination is your only limit, you donít have to worry about budget, stunts, CGI etc.
were your inspirations for The Reverend - and since this seems to
be somehow connected, is it true you at one point studied to be a
have a background in Theology yes. Itís a subject which fascinates me
and the concept of a righteous man given this terrible affliction yet
still using it for good I thought was really interesting. The concept I
got from the Biblical book of Job.
How do you approach your story in terms of
atmosphere, suspense, violence and gore?
not a horror guy, I like the genre but Iím by no means a horror nut. I
have always seen myself as a drama director, my last picture Risen was a
true story biopic so to come and do The Reverend, I knew instantly that it
would have strong story points and emotional performances. Itís not a
jumpy film, itís got excellent violence and gore, but itís very
realistic, we had Paul Hyett and Stuart Conrad handling the prosthetic
side, these guys have a ton of experience. Letís go big and bold but
please letís make it be believable I asked them! I then brought in Jude
Poyer for the stunts and fight choreography - Jude is at the top of his game
and is so creative on the spot that we had a lot of fun making The
Reverend really an action packed horror. In terms of atmosphere I think
itís got a bit of Pale Rider about it. The preacher walks into town
to take on the baddies, itís got that old fashioned good vs evil vibe.
The cast of your film is pretty star-studded.
Would you mind doing a bit of namedropping, and why and how did you get
all these people?
so lucky attaching the talent. Look we didnít have a Hollywood size
budget, but everyone who read the script loved it! That was a great first
step, honestly I didnít expect to get the amount of people we got, but
they went for it and obviously as a film-maker it makes my job so much
easier when you have the exact cast you want. We have Stuart Brennan (also
my co-producer and long time business partner), Tamer Hassan, Rutger
Hauer, Doug Bradley, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Emily Booth, Marcia Do
Vales, Simon Philips, Shane Richie, Edmond Kingsley, Mads Koudol, Helen
Griffin. Seriously writing that list down I realise how very lucky I am to
have these people in the film.
As far as I know, the film was shot in
South Wales. To what extent did the specific locations influence not only
the look but also the atmosphere and maybe even narrative aspects of The
now based in London, but Wales is where Iím from, I wrote The Reverend
with Wales in mind, it is full of beautiful little villages. The Reverend
is set in a non-specific place but I wanted that green countryside look.
With The Reverend being a horror
movie, is this a genre you are at all fond of, and your genre favourites?
already said Iím not really a horror guy only. My favourite genre is
probably the Western, Iím currently working with best selling Western
author Jack Martin and weíre adapting his novel The Tarnished Star for
the big screen, itís still early days but keep an eye out for LawMaster
The $64-question of course, when and where will the film be out, tentatively?
And what about the graphic novel?
open theatrically in the UK on October 14th, our big launch
will be at the British Horror Film Festival at the Empire in Leicester
Square, Iím really excited for the release date, I really believe The
Reverend brings something fresh to the genre and I believe the novel will
be released at a similar time. Weíre working on a US release date now as
soon as we have that Iíll let you know! For tickets for horror festival
While you're still
working on The Reverend, your boxing bio-pic Risen hits the
theatres and DVD shelves. A few words about that one?
was always the film I wanted to make, itís about the life of boxer
Howard Winstone, he comes from my home town of Merthyr Tydfil, the man is
a hero so bringing his story to the big screen has been my proudest moment
to date. Being a fil-maker can be a hard process and sometimes itís
easy to become disillusioned, but then hear about what Winstone overcame
to achieve his goal and itís such an inspiration. Honestly check out
what he had to overcome, he lost the tops of his fingers in an accident
and still became the best boxer in the world! Practically one handed!
Weíve just finished a seven week theatrical run in the UK and we heard
this week that weíre going theatrical in the US too. All info can found
drew you to the story of Risen, and are you into boxing,
most kids from my town, I did some boxing, my favourite film was Rocky! So
add that together and that itís based on a hero from my town, I had to
make this film!
The star, co-writer and co-producer of Risen
is your long-time partner-in-crime, Stuart Brennan. What can you tell us
about him and the production company Burn Hand Film Productions you run
very lucky, me and Stuart have been working together now for a long time,
weíre also very good friends and have gone through a lot together.
Heís one of the best writers in the business full stop, he really
understands story and like me is in this business to make story-driven
films. As an actor heís a worker, he spent five years dieting and boxing
to play Winstone thatís serious dedication, he recently won the
prestigious BAFTA Cymru award for his portrayal of Winstone, and in
Reverend (he plays the title role) he really smashes it! Our whole
philosophy with Burn Hand Film Productions is to make films that are
driven in story yet also reach out to a wide audience, weíre learning
every day but so far I think weíre on the right road and Iím very
proud of our achievements. More info is at
What made you go into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you have any formal training on the subject?
training at all, I kind of fell into it really. While at university
studying Theology I wrote a screenplay, it was something I always wanted
to have to go at. I showed it to a few people and they liked it so I wrote
another one, The Bond. I then met Stuart who liked it and he said letís
make it. We sourced like crazy and managed to get it made! I got very
few words about your debut feature The Bond?
had no money to make this, we made it in the days before HD was accessible
so it wasnít easy, but bar some technical issues and no budget I really
think The Bond sums up what our company is all about: Films with story and
strong performances. While by no means a perfect film it has a bag of
heart and I loved making it. We shot over four weeks, I had classes and
had a job and had to juggle the three and it was so much fun! It was my
film-school, I fell in love with the process of making a film. I one day
want to do a sequel!
second feature The Lost features a performance by horror favourite Peter Cushing, who had
already been dead for 12 years when the film was released in 2006.
Explain, and what else can you tell us about the film?
the film isnít good enough. Itís hard for me to say that but The
Lost didnít work. It was an experimental film, we had a twenty page script,
no money, and we shot it all in 48 hours! The result: A poorly made film.
I donít regret making it, I learnt so much and Iím happy for people to
watch it to see where we went wrong. We moved away from our philosophy on
that film, we didnít work hard enough on developing a strong story, it
was a missed opportunity but a valuable lesson.
The Peter Cushing link was
we had a voice recording of him reading a brilliant little anti-war poem
by Peter Kayne which fitted with the tone of the film. I love Cushingís
work and Iím sorry we didnít do him justice with The Lost.
have also made quite a number of shorts during you career. A few words
not the biggest fan of short films, I think these days you should go out
and shoot a feature even if you have no money. I made a few really as time
fillers. I made a short film about Howard Winstone called The Fifteenth
and that certainly helped to raise the finance for Risen.
Any other films you were involved in you
want to talk about?
actually writing this from a hotel room in Madrid where Iíve been for
the past four weeks directing the feature film Deranged, itís a great
little horror/thriller. Iím not producing just directing so itís been
a new experience for me, have an amazing crew and cast and the film is
being produced by Marcia Do Vales (also starring and in The Reverend) and
Kevin Kane. Itís a Templeheart Films movie, they backed me on Risen
and The Reverend so when they asked me to direct I was happy to do it.
Any future projects?
have the Western LawMaster Iím also working on a cool little genre film
in the spirit of Mad Max, Stuart is putting together a heist-film so we
have a busy and exciting time ahead.
have pretty much done it all when it comes to moviemaking, writing,
directing, producing, even editing. What do you enjoy the most, what could
you do without?
donít think I enjoy one thing more than another really. My favourite
part though is the actual film-making process, on set shooting! Itís
where it all starts to become real!
Directors who inspire you?
My biggest inspirations are Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese, I also love
Sylvester Stallone as a director, Richard Donner and Brian De Palma too!
time Favourite: Rocky. Then in no particular order: Birds,
Lethal Weapon 1
and 2, Star Wars original trilogy, Indiana Jones except the 4th,
The Untouchables, Rope, The Godfather, Raging Bull,
Casino, Vertigo, In
the Name of the Father...
... and of course, films you really
are some really bad films out there but you have to respect they got it
made, so I donít want to name anything.
Your/your film's website, Facebook, whatever
the gun on this already, but
have a Facebook and Twitter link on there.
Also film websites:
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Thanks for the interview!