Friday, September 7, 2012

SIGHTSEERS: 5 Question Director Interview with Ben Wheatley

The Vanguard Blog had a chance to ask Ben Wheatly, director extraordinaire of Sightseers, some questions. Five to be exact. As the title of this blog would suggest. Check them out below and don't forget to add Sightseers to your list of "Must See" films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.

1.) Sightseers is a comedy, as you are probably well aware (hopefully)--albeit a black one. How do you feel having a film that will be judged primarily based on how "funny" people find it? I imagine sitting in on screenings would be nerve-wracking: "Will they laugh at this?"; "Why aren't they laughing now?"; "Why ARE they laughing now?" 

All screenings are nerve-wracking initially. You always know that the film is made or broken by a handful of gags, if they don't play then the smaller ones won't play either. Once you have the main 'tent pole' gags working then the other laughs are a bonus, and can be very different from audience to audience, you can't worry about this.

2.) The screenplay was developed by your two main actors, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Would you mind explaining a little more about how the story came about and how you became involved? 

The characters had come from Alice and Steve creating them for stand up. Later they made a short film based around them and that was seen by Edgar Wright and he took the project to Big Talk and Nira Park. Nira and I had a chat after I directed Down Terrace and asked if I'd like to direct the feature film version of Sightseers. I had worked with Alice and Steve before and liked the idea of doing something a bit lighter after Kill List. Amy Jump rewrote the script and away we went. Producers Andy Starke and Claire Jones came in from Rook Films and we used pretty much the crew from Down Terrace/Kill List. 

3.) If you were going to go on a caravan holiday, where would you go and would you bring anyone along? Also, would you participate in a killing spree whilst on holiday? (I promise I won't tell on you.)

I would probably travel on the route that Chris and Tina took because it was beautiful. I suppose I could use the Catherine Tramell defence if I went on a killing spree in a caravan.

4.) Sightseers is the first feature you didn't also write. How was it working with someone else's material?

It was fine. It was about things I'm interested with and fitted with the other two films. Also I've directed a lot of TV and adverts from other peoples' scripts, so its not new territory for me.

5.) I promised I wouldn't ask about whether or not you are a pirate, so instead I'll end with: what's next, Mr Ben Wheatley? Another film? World domination via Mechanical Death Spiders? Inquiring minds want to know. (I've always wanted to say that.)

I am not a pirate. I wore a pirate hat once and there is a photo of it.* I have a couple of projects in the pipeline. A film about monsters and cops called Freakshift and a film about the English civil war called A Field in England.

(Questions thought up by Siân Melton; answers provided by Ben Wheatley)

*That is a very pirate-y answer, hmmm. 

SIGHTSEERS Screening Times:
Tue., Sept. 11th, 9:00 PM RYERSON
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 12:00 PM RYERSON
Sun., Sept. 16th, 7:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

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