Words: Gareth Roberts
Oft painted as the "Dark Star of British Cinema" even more regularly painted with the title of "The Midland's De Niro", there’s much more to Paddy Considine than bumping-off British bad guys' and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Matt Damon, Russell Crowe and Uma Thurman.
So what's he been doing since we last saw him on screen as the brilliant Le Donk in Le Donk and Scorzayzee? Well, only chasing Sally Hawkins around Wales under the direction of comedy maestro Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh), Screen tests offers from the Cohen Brothers, and the small matter of embarking on his first solo directorial feature, the follow up to his BAFTA award winning short, Dog Altogether.
We managed to grab a few moments in his busy schedule to get the down low on the year ahead.
If you don't know, now you know...
Le Donk and Scorzayzee went down really well and is currently building kudos in America. Is there any chance of a follow up?
I'm not sure if there will be another Donk in the immediate future. I know Shane [Meadows] is busy with We Were Faces [The This is England TV follow-up] and I'm directing Tyrannosaur and going straight into writing my next film to direct after that. I'd hope that in the future we could bring him out again.
What did you think to the documentary Anvil?
I thought Anvil was just amazing. The fact that these guys had been at it for so long. They had such self-belief. It's like the dreams they'd had since teenagers hadn't diminished. To retain that spirit at their age and after so many disappointments was just inspiring.
Red Riding was really well received by the British public and there seems to have been an even better response in America where it's been shown on the big screen. Now comes the news that Ridley Scott has decided to develop a remake, but set in the States. What are your views on, would you consider appearing in it or reprising the similar role of a US version of Hunter?
Doubt I'd even get the call to be in it again! It's great that the trilogy is being received so well over there. You do wonder why there is a need to remake them if they are good already. I don't know. I guess studios are grasping for great projects. It's lost on me. It's a bit of an insult not only to the cast, but also three great directors. I guess State of Play worked out okay. Good luck to them.
You've filmed the brilliant PU-239 and Cry of the Owl what happened to them and why didn't we get to see either of them them in the UK?
PU-239 is one of the few films that I am genuinely proud of. I think it's one of my best performances. It went out on HBO [TV station in America] and that was it. It could have been too dark for some tastes. Scott Burns was one of the best directors I've ever worked with. He should direct more. It's a pity that your best work doesn't get seen, but that's how it goes. Cry of the Owl had some difficulties with securing distribution. I know people have seen it and genuinely liked it. Jamie Thraves is a talent. He may have got screwed over. He's just remortgaged his house to make a movie. To me that takes guts and is hugely inspiring. I hope it pays off for him, he deserves a break
You've recently finished working with Richard Ayoade in Wales on 'Submarine' How was that?
Submarine is how every job should be. Working with talented people, a director that makes you feel creative and allows you some room to move. It was great to just let fly with a character like Graham T. Purvis. The cast were beautiful. Every job should be like Submarine. But should pay a bit more! I hope to work with Richard again and become his John C. Reilly.
Can you tell us some more about your character Graham?
Yeah, he's a failed actor who had minor success in a BBC sci-fi show called Heatseekers. It got cancelled after one season. Graham couldn't get hired for shampoo ads, so he ended up having a breakdown. I don't want to give away too much, but he becomes a self-help guru, who with the help of good food, good exercise and good sex stuff helps people to live a more balanced life. Oh, and he see's colours around people and can determine their moods. Basically the human body is a prism that absorbs... Oh mate, you'll have to watch it
What was it like working with Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor?
Just brilliant. Both were great fun. It makes life so much easier when the cast are on the same wavelength. Craig Roberts is the lead in it. A great kid.
What will we see you in next (that's already in the can)?
That's potentially any good? Submarine.
Tell us about Tyrannosaur your planned feature length version of the short Dog Altogether what's happening with that?
Can you give us any casting scoops for Dog Altogether: the feature?
I start shooting on Tyrannosaur in just under five weeks. It's been great so far. The cast are coming together brilliantly. Peter Mullan (My Name Is Joe) will play Joseph, Olivia Colman (Peep Show) is back as Amanda and Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go -Lucky) plays Olivia 's husband. Putting the crew together has been interesting. I've had a lot of goodwill from some brilliant people who aren't getting paid their worth but are giving it everything because they believe in the material. I just can't wait to turn over on it. I'm hoping we can get some on-set reports up on this site. If anyone's interested they can check the progress
What are your plans for 2010 any meaty roles on the horizon?
No roles on the horizon. Directing is a hundred times more consuming than acting, which is great for me because it has an immediacy about it that I love. I haven't looked at any other scripts. I'll go straight into writing The Journeymen as I edit Tyrannosaur. I have about four films that I want to make immediately. If this works out okay I'll just keep it going, provided I can get them financed. Hopefully from now on I'll be able to take the roles that I really want to do as opposed to ones I'm almost forced to do to pay the rent.
Does this mean that directing is taking president over the acting, Will this stint in the directors chair combined with back to back comedies finally put to bed all this talk of you being "The Dark Star or British Cinema"?
I've not chosen comedies to prove a point nor to change peoples minds about me. The 'dark star' stuff is just laziness as far as I'm concerned. I did an interview recently with some guy who commented that I was always killing people in my films. I pointed out that I'd only ever killed anybody in two films. And the last one was in 2004 It's lazy and it's dull. The point of making my own films is to generate my own work and explore my own stories. I've contributed to other peoples movies as an actor and writer, but your voice gets lost in there. I've always loved writing and directed my first short in 1997. I was always going to make my own films. It's just taken a while to get there. Pawel [Pavlikovsky] (My Summer of Love) was instrumental in spotting my potential as a writer and director.
Do you think this experience on the other side of the camera will or could make you a better actor?
I've no idea what could make me a better actor. I went to school last summer to learn a bit of theory. I thought it was invaluable. I'm not an actor. When I have an emotional response to a story or character I seem to make elements of it work. I have to emotionally invest, otherwise it becomes academic, and I can't do that stuff so well. I look at 24 Hour Party People and In America, then I look at Dr. Sleep and wonder what the hell went wrong. I shot that film in between Party People and In America. The difference between the three is that in Dr. Sleep I had no investment emotionally. As a photographer I couldn't just point my camera at anything and snap away. Same as an actor. I had my reasons for doing Sleep, so I can live with it. I couldn't totally give up acting. I haven't done my best work yet.
Have you had any good advice from any of your previous director's (namely Shane, Pavel, Jim Sheridan, Winterbottom, Edgar Wright?
It was Pawel [Pavlikovsky] mainly. Then when I made Dog [Altogether] he tore it to bits. But that's okay, because I know he was doing it to push me. And I can take that. Jim [Sheridan] was fascinating. The most animated director I've ever worked with! I loved him. James Marsh was great, made me feel like I was contributing. He put a lot of faith in me. Scott Burns too. I heard him give Oscar Isaac a bit of direction one evening that was just brilliant. I don't think he has any idea how effective he was. It's strange but you mainly take in the bad stuff you don't want to do. As far call someone up for advice, no. I'll happily make my own mistakes!
Are you going to use your bands' (Riding The Low) music in any of your future film projects or will your film and music projects always remain separate worlds?
Separate. For now. I've Chris Baldwin [Riding The Low's lead guitarist] sending ideas for the score. He did the score for Dog. He's just committed and is willing to do the work. He's enthusiastic to the point of being a geek, and that's what I love about him. He's got so much to offer and so many brilliant ideas. I think he's a great talent. It's exciting because if this works out it could open a lot of doors for him. He deserves a break. He works hard.
I'm curious to know if there are any particular filmmakers and/or actors whom you are still keen to work with?
The Coen's. I was about to go on tape for their latest film but it clashed with Tyrannosaur. Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood). Day-Lewis. Tom Hardy, he was exceptional in Bronson. Pure class. Michael Fassbender was off the radar in Hunger. Just quality. Dave Morrissey (Red Riding). Again! I'm lucky, I've worked with some excellent directors and learned a lot from them. James Marsh (Man on Wire) put me away. He's got a new film coming up. If he doesn't cast me I'm going to hunt him down and cut off his hair.
It's well documented that you are a huge fan of the band Guided By Voices. If there was ever to be a GBV biopic would you be inclined to be involved?
Oh man, I mean, what could I do play Bob? I'd direct it!.
Would you be interested in playing the lead singer Bob Polllard, following actors like Andy Serkis, Val Kilmer and Sam Riley in playing real life front -men. After all you've already been in two music biopics?
The fact that they were music films didn't bother me. With Party People it was a chance to work with a lot of my favorite actors and a very prolific director. I just looked at a video of Rob Gretton and loved him on the footage. Stoned sits oddly with me. Looking back I just wasn't brave enough to commit. I think that was the beginning of a strange journey with acting. I realised I knew absolutely nothing about acting, and began to question everything and feel exposed. I think Stephen Woolley did brilliantly in his first film. I just didn't deliver. I think someone like Eddie Marsan would've played my role better. I just didn't own him.
You are also known for having a passion for boxing, would you be interested in making a(another) boxing film, either where you get to be the boxer or from the other side of the camera?
With Cinderella Man, I don't feel I made a boxing film. I didn't get anywhere near the ring in that film. I was an extra. The Journeymen is about professional boxing. I've thought about being in it, but I have to first know what it feels like to direct a feature. It may be too huge an undertaking. I've watched boxing since I was five years old and read up on it every day. there's no doubt that one day I was going to make a boxing movie, but The Journeymen won't play to type. There hasn't been a film about the side of the boxing community that I'm exploring, and have been exploring really since my college degree.
Pacquiao or Mayweather?
Pacquiao. Any day of the week. He's phenomenal. What's great about him, or one of the things that's great, is that he's lost. There's no going out on a limb to protect a bullshit unbeaten record. Sugar Ray Leonard retired, came back against a faded Hagler. But at that time Hagler was the most feared middleweight on the planet, and Ray beat him. He made a statement. Mayweather made no statement fighting Marquez, a man fighting in a division way too heavy for him. I'm glad he's fighting Mosley. I hope the Margarito win didn't flatter Shane too much. It's going to be interesting. I'm going for Mosley to take the fight to Mayweather and stop him late. Oh, and If Pacman and Floyd met, Pacman would beat him. Destroy him.
Cheers Paddy thanks for talking to us. Good luck with it all.