Lime interview - Screen
Noel Clarke is a busy man. When we met him recently he had just finished filming his part in a major Hollywood Blockbuster, and was in London to talk about his upcoming June releases.
First up is the sports themed 'Fast Girls', and then the sci-fi thriller 'Storage 24'.
We started off by asking him what it was like working on two films at the same time.
That's the world of distribution companies doing their thing. They've got their strategy to work out the best release dates, and it just happens to be a bit close this time.
Do you think it helps having a high profile at certain times to get your films noticed?
I don't know. It probably helps, but it's not ideal. Not everyone has got that much money and they might have to end up picking one or the other. I'd love them to see both.
Let's talk about 'Storage 24', which is actually based on an original idea by yourself as well. How did you come up with it?
My wife had to go to a number of storage facilities for her work. I'd go with her and would end up waiting in various corridors, sometime with our baby, and i'd be looking around thinking 'this is quite freaky'.
At first I thought about having a serial killer who was picking off a group of people whilst trying to escape the law. One day I woke up and thought 'Alien!'. That was the film I wanted to see.
For me as a big sci-fi head and someone who is trying to break away from people putting you into a box of what you do, that's where the idea came from.
British sci-fi is rare in itself. Were you worried about trying to get this made here?
No. This film is banging! The reason I think it works is because it's not set in space or on a spaceship, it's set in a normal, relatable place. It's about the characters, about a couple breaking up and then the alien turns up.
If it's an American film then people would buy into that. But here it's like 'Spaceship? Nonsense!'.
How hard is it to come up with an original idea for an alien, when we've seen so many of them before?
You can only do so much. It walks on two legs, that's been done before. It crawls on four legs at times, that's been done before. But the design is what is different. I wanted it in the style of Carnage and Venom, the Spider-Man villains, and that was the starting point for the designers. Once I had all the concepts we eventually came up with our final design with the director.
On set it was a combination of VFX and a man in a suit. He had stilts and could get really tall. Once you see it with the VFX you realise how good it is. It's ambitious, and that's what I always try and so with my films.
Is it a case of trying to one-up yourself?
Not one-up myself, but I love American films. They come here, clean up and make loads of money. I want to be entertained and that's what I've tried to do. A lot of people love that, and some don't... but I want people to come out of the cinema and be like 'Dude, you remember that bit where thing came up and did that?!' I want that sort of feeling.
When 'Kidulthood' and 'Adulthood' came out, that spawned a news genre. There was nothing like it beforehand. '4,3,2,1' was polarising. People loved it or hated it. A lot of people didn't get it, it was out of sequence it had girls in the lead. But Universal Studios loved it.
With my new films it's about trying to British films that are successful, and commercial, and entertaining. When you go to the cinema these days you are spending a lot of money. If I’m paying that, it better be good and that's what I’m trying to do.
And how are your films doing over in America?
Actually the first two are very popular in cities. They weren't theatrically released, but you have the same problem over there that people think that it won't do the business because British people don't do that. Or that's what they think.
When I go out to L.A. people will say 'oh man I love you in Doctor Who!', but then when I go to a screening of film I have people coming up to me saying 'I love you film'. People who are into independent cinema out there, and that sort of thing. It's something of a cult following.
'4,3,2,1' is getting a released out there, and that was always the plan.
It seems like you enjoy the pressure attached with this industry, is that a fair assessment?
You don't really have a choice. If a company says you have to be in it or direct it, then fine I’ll do it. I just want to pay my bills and feed my children. I mean I love my work, if it paid nothing I’d still want to do it. I just wrapped on 'Star Trek 2', and I’ve got a few other things coming up as well. It's onwards and upwards... done be surprised if the next thing I do is something totally different.
Info: 'Storage 24' is released on 29 June in the UK.
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