Words: Gareth Roberts

Paddy Considine; an actor of uncompromising intensity, commitment and range, and is blessed with an ability to inhabit the skin of the character he is playing. Since his 2008 BAFTA award winning short 'Dog Altogether', Paddy has been diverting this commitment and intensity into making his own films; the first of which; Tyrannosaur has recently been accepted into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah, a festival internationally renowned for launching the careers of some of today's most successful directors. We caught up with Paddy exclusively to capture his reaction...

So, you've finished Tyrannosaur and it's been picked as one of 13 out of an incredible 3,812 entries to feature in the Sundance film festival next year, what does that mean to you?

Everything. To premiere at Sundance is incredible. So many of my favourite film makers made their debut there, and I'm truly proud to go there with a film that means the world to me.

This feature marks the beginning of 'Paddy Considine the director.' Does it spell the end for 'Paddy Considine the Actor'? Is there a plan?

My plan is to make directing the primary focus. I have three other films lined up already. I don't think it spells the end as an actor. What I do know is that I won't compromise my writing/directing like I have some of the acting jobs. I'm grateful that I have opportunities as an actor, but with directing I have total creative control. I haven't finished with acting. I'm still learning too much.

Preempting the naysayers, what would you say to critics that may claim any success your film gathers is solely due to your name as an actor or your associations with other indie directors?

Look, the people that know, know. I don't have a lot of time for people with that attitude. it's naive, and certainly nobody in the Industry adopts that viewpoint. I worked hard to get where I am. I worked hard for Tyrannosaur, I worked hard for my college degree. I have a name, but that name does not guarantee that I make a film that's worthy of acceptance to Sundance. You have to have the vision and commitment, you can't be handed that.

you've gone on record many times as claiming you never wanted to be an actor and it happened by accident, can the same be said of you as a director?

No. I wish I'd done this ten years ago. it's been the most profound move I've ever made. Regardless of how it's received, I've found the thing I'm best at.
Your known for channeling darkness as an actor this seems to have over spilled into your film is this deliberate or coincidental?

I don't deliberately set out to make films about difficult situations. This is just the person/filmmaker I am. I'm not trying to shock anybody. I realise that difficult subject matter can sometimes create controversy and I think some people are guilty of using it clumsily as shorthand. I didn't set out to shock anybody with Tyrannosaur. There are extreme situations, but it's a love story, and love sometimes comes from very unlikely sources, and not necessarily the obvious ones.

Is Tyrannosaur or any of the issues raised in the film based on something you have experienced? If not what is your influence/inspiration?

My influence is my life, literature, cinema, music. The life experience thing is a murky area. It's based on a reality. My reality, but it's up to me how I interpret that as an artist.

What is Tyrannosaurs central message?

You tell me when you've seen it! It's about hope, serendipity, love. It's about companionship and mutual respect. It's about monsters and ghosts, and guilt. It's about what it means to you. I'll hand it over now.

You receive credit as an actor, and a little as a director and you write a lot but receive little acknowledgement for this. Is writing something you enjoy and find easy or is it difficult and more a matter of necessity?

Writing is up there with directing for me. It's an amazing process. I liken it to possession! You switch off and let these people take you on a journey. That's my only concern over Tyrannosaur, that people may think it's improvised. It isn't. It got made because of the script. The actors got involved because of the script. I neglected writing for years. At school I'd write short stories for my english teacher. I devoured Stephen King books as a teenager. I loved the simplicity of his work. My next film is based on a short story I wrote on the train to London.

You've added Eddie Marsan to your original line up used in Dog Altogether, What attracted you to Eddie to cast him in Tyrannosaur?

One of our best. He came in top of the day and auditioned. Smashed it. I knew he was incredible, but I had to see how Olivia reacted to him. She has some difficult scenes with Eddie and needed to be safe. Some actors are too obtuse to be around when they play characters like James. Eddie has the skill to switch it on and off. He can act, and doesn't need the extra bullshit. I love him and I'll work with him again.
Olivia Colman is loved and known almost entirely in this country for comedy [Peep Show,Hot Fuzz,Green Wing], what do you think this film will do for the perception of her as a dramatic actress?

I think it will change it dramatically. I feel like I'm about to unleash a tornado. It's one of the best performances I've had the pleasure to see. She has smashed all levels with this.

Knowing That Olivia Colman is such an effective comedic actress, was it a leap of faith to place her out of her comfort zone in a more weighty role?

I'd say to some degree it was a leap of faith. A small degree of it was, but then a small degree always is with any actor or project that you commit to. I'd say taking her out of her comfort zone was the key, but don't get the impression anybody could do this. She had the talent, she just needed somebody to see her differently, and I did. I'm extremely proud of her. I feel like [boxing trainer] Freddie Roach! The truth is that I saw a lot of myself in her. I'd see her in things where she was playing second place to people that weren't in her stratosphere and it annoyed me. She went to some tough places on this shoot, and the quality of her performance is astonishing. She understands subtle and she knew when to plant her feet and fight. There are a lot of other reasons, but that's between me and her.

You've cast Peter Mullan twice as Joseph now. As a director himself, would you answer the call to feature in one of his movies?

I'd answer the call right now. Love him. The thing is that Olivia is such a revelation that it's easy to overlook Peter. Peter suffers from the reputation of being consistently good, so people have come to expect a certain level from him. It's his best performance. I would say that wouldn't I? It's certainly his most pivotal role since [My Name Is] Joe. It brings together the best of those qualities and qualities in him that I loved in Session 9. He does subtle things in this movie that may be lost on some people, but they weren't lost on me. He's instinctive, alive on screen and his choices are nearly always brilliant! i say nearly always because I want to keep him on his toes! I want him for my next film. I can think of nobody certainly on these shores that has his likability and complexity. Those qualities will be needed in abundance for the next one.

Is there anything you've picked up from other directors that you have put to use in your own work?

My mentor is Pawel [Pawlikowski]. We have unfinished business.

Is there potential for extending the characters in Tyrannosaur?

No, that's it. The feature seemed like a natural extension of the short. I could do a Walter and June but I think it would destroy some of the elements of Tyrannosaur. I think the film has a satisfactory ending. It's ambiguous and pivotal enough without continuing the story.

Are you intending to make some more films from this side of the camera, if so what can you tell us about your plans?

Yeah. I'm already writing the next film called 'The Leaning'. It's a ghost story. And after that I have a book called 'The Years Of The Locust' that I am adapting. I don't want to give away too much... My aim is to be constantly writing or going into production on another film. Keep them rolling along. My plan is to complete the next script before Sundance. Acting? I don't know.

Would you cast yourself in a role of your own film whilst directing if you couldn't find the right actor?

No. Certainly not at this time. Look, the best coaches aren't always the best players. I'll leave it at that.

When can fans of yours expect to see Tyrannosaur closer to home. are you expecting it to be picked up by more festivals after Sundance or does it have UK theatrical release date?

It will do the festivals until the summer. We are looking at an Autumn release. It makes no sense to release it before then. It seems like a long time, but you have to do what's right for the film. We will have screenings here and there, and those interested would be welcome to come along and get an earlier look. Cheers for your interest. Peace on earth.

Cheers Paddy, looking forward to seeing it soon! Thanks for talking to us. Good luck with it all.

For more information visit www.sundance.org/festival.

December 2010

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