Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Exclusive: Cornish wafers for Auntie Nubbins

The joy of Twitter is when it throws you a unexpected bone.

One day back in February, I made a cheery response to a lovely journalist, Jon Hamblin's missive about meeting Joe Cornish for an interview the next day and he said he'd give me some of what he didn't publish.

He is a gentleman and true to his word. He also has a rockin' style so I urge you to read the main content of this meeting in SFX Magazine and on his blog. The details are way down below.

Here's what he gave me. Thank you, Jon.

On when he knew he wanted to make movies:

“Well it was when I was twelve. I always wanted to make films. The first thing I ever did with Adam was directing the Super 8 films. We made a feature length Super 8 film when we were 14 or 15, that I directed and he starred in, so to speak. And I went to film school straight after leaving school, I spent three years at film school, just before Edgar actually, in Bournemouth and I trained as a writer/director and then I worked as a runner in the film industry in London for several years and then all the time I was making little silly comedy skits with Adam. And we got the opportunity to do Takeover TV and so that was really a sort of … you know, just a way to practice really and even though there was a huge difference between doing three minute sketches and sustaining something for 90 minutes, it’s very good practice just churning stuff out.”

On Attack the Block, was there a moment where you thought: “What am I doing?”

“There’s lots of moments like that. There was never a why am I doing this moment but making a film is very frustrating not because the people around you aren’t brilliant and doing amazing work but because if you are ambitious you’ve spent years wanting it and imagining it and trying to get what would be the perfect thing to do and then when you are actually doing it, it is like a flipping trolley dash. It’s like you have got four seconds to execute an idea that you formulated over four years and nothing will be right. It will be raining, you know, something will break, the location will be a bit different, someone will be tired, you know what I mean? And sometimes you just have to think of a totally different way to do it because of that you haven’t anticipated or that you can’t control. So it’s this weird juxtaposition of – oh my god, this is my amazing chance – and shit where did you get this! Do you know what I mean? So that’s what is terrifying but exciting as well and, you know, every first time director, everyone around you has made more films than you. So the trick is not to be a pot which is hard for me and just really engage and get the support of and harness all the superior talent that’s around you to help you overcome those problems because everyone around you is … that’s what it’s about, it’s about troubleshooting that stuff and everyone around you has more experience. Especially in this film because we’ve got explosions and monsters and its all set at night and there’s weapons and actions and chases and so it’s not the King’s Speech, if you know what I mean.”

About Basement Jaxx’s score:

“Basement Jaxx are fantastic and what’s great about them is they are Brits and they are South London guys and they are originals. The club is about two roads away from where we filmed and where I grew up. But they are clever enough to know that they serve the film and it’s not about … they serve the film … everything is about telling the story and presenting the characters. There is not going to be this big rave explosion. It’s got to serve the film. I thought what Daft Punk did was fantastic in Tron Legacy, but the best bit was in the club I thought and I have to say I thought: “Why are computer programs drinking, and why do they go to a club?” For every bit that I enjoyed it, I also had a lot of question marks in my head, personally. Even though it was an amazing spectacle.”

Making the film in Brixton:

“We were shooting in South London on rural South London streets and we were staging a mugging, and we were shooting in proper little urban areas around the Myatts Field Estate which is quite a, if you believe what the papers say, notorious estate but actually it’s lovely, not architecturally, but it is lovely round there.

So we were staging a mugging and a group of genuine local “yout” came up to our actors, to our boys, and said "What are you guys filming?" And they’d heard about the film because we’d put letters through everyone’s doors. And they said "Where are you from?" to our boys, like, quite a little bit threateningly and our lead boy said "Oh, I'm from Peckham" and the other kid said "Oh, I’m from Elephant and Castle", and the local youth looked a little bit put out because they were local. "Oh we thought they were going to bring in some stage school, you know, idiots, to come and pretend to be local youth," they said. And then they looked our kids up and down and said, "Alright – but you rob that woman hard" – and left. And that was it, we never saw anybody ever again, we got left totally alone. Haha!”

To read Jon Hamblin’s full interview with Joe Cornish, check out issue 207 of SFX Magazine, available in all good newsagents now (but hurry) and on-line in the digital version. Also, check out Jon’s blog: or follow him on twitter @jon_cybernet for good times and more bits of Joe-related gossip.

Can I be controversial and say I prefer the quad poster? I like the air on the sides that gives room for a bit of my beloved London landscape and the lovely, clean top to the building is far superior. It'd look nice in my living telly room, in fact.

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