Published on June 19th, 2014 | by Allan Brown0
Interview: Noel Clarke
Rising British Actor, writer, director and producer Noel Clarke (Adulthood, Star Trek: Into Darkness) was in town today to promote his new film The Anomaly as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. On his whistle stop tour of the capital, I was lucky enough to be invited to interview him before we was whisked away to attend the Premier of his new movie. Here is what he had to say.
Hello Noel. My name is Allan and I represent the website Movie Review World which is a small film review blog that I run. Small beginnings.
Noel Clarke – No Worries Man
For people who haven’t heard about your new film The Anomaly, how would you describe it?
NC – The Anomaly is a sci-fi thriller about a soldier who wakes up in the back of a van with a young kid, who has been kidnapped and the soldier doesn’t realise actually, the amount of involvement he’s had or what’s going on. He only stays awake for 10 minutes before he blacks out,well 9 minutes 47 seconds to be precise, before he blacks out and then he wakes. The film is made up of those segments. Each time he awakes, he has to unravel what’s going on and that really is kinda what it is. It is puzzling but that is the point. The writer wanted to do something that would make people think and not just eat popcorn and go – they blew it up wasn’t that great.
So the best of both worlds, a thriller and action film in one?
NC – Well hopefully, (laughs) we’ll see what the audience say.
As an actor, producer, director and writer with 188.8.131.52 and Adulthood, you were accentually unshackled from the restraints that most directors are faced with. So it is accentually one person’s vision from A – Z. My question is, do you continue to make changes throughout the film making process, or do you stick true to your original screenplay?
NC – It depends; I don’t think I’ve done all those jobs in any one project. So, like with 184.108.40.206, I wrote it and directed it, but I was only one of the producers, I wasn’t really the proper producer, you know what I mean? I’ve never done all those jobs, it’s not wise to do all those jobs at once. Like with The Anomaly, I didn’t write it, Simon Lewis wrote it. I came in and did bits on the script, but I feel like, we always try to hold on to what the writer wants, as long as it works, and if not, then we’ll try and change it. But you know, generally it’s important that you as a director have a strong vision, and you use that vision to take the project forward.
Having started your career as an actor, what made you want to make the transition to writer and director?
NC – Mate, if I could pay the bills with just acting, that is all I would have ever done. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do as a kid, but I feel like at a certain point, you know, I just realised, all I was ever gonna get was thief number one, thug number 2, criminal jinx, and finally you get a page with a character name, and you’re like, what’s his first line? ….Open the safe.
(Laughs) So it was as simple as that then?
NC – It was as simple as that. I was like, why am I always thug one or this and that, and I was like I’m not having it. So I started writing. When I was writing we did Kidulthood. It was a success, and then I wrote Adulthood and the director (Menhaj Huda) didn’t wanna do it. He’s a good friend of mine, but he didn’t wanna do it. He was like, I’ve done that, I wanna do something else. So there was no movie. Then the studio said, well why don’t you direct it? It was a choice of like, have no movie, or jump in the deep end and direct it. So I was like, ‘I’ll f*cking well direct it. Then producing came along. I started learning to produce because I worked on one film, and the producers kinda didn’t do their job properly. I mean, I was a named producer but I didn’t really know what I was doing.It was just like, I’m a named producer cos it was my gig ,and they screwed up, and to this day I’ve not been paid on that movie. So after, that I was like, that’s not happening any more, I’m gonna start producing. So everything kinda happened through necessity and the need to learn it, rather than actually wanting to do it.
You were hungry for it as well, obviously?
NC – Yeah, but now I’ve got to know it all, I can understand it. It’s like, I can read a budget. I can make a budget. I can read a film, and know that’s gonna cost about this much money.You know, I’m good with scripts, I’m good with actors, and you know, hopefully that’s made me a much more rounded film maker. Or as I’m regularly called, a jack of all trades, master of none. (laughs)
So did you know you had a talent for writing before you started acting?
NC – I’ve always been writing since I was in college and stuff like that, it’s what I’ve always kinda done on the side. Again Kidulthood wasn’t written to be a made film, I was just sitting at home going, Ill write about when I was growing up, about me growing up and mixing with with other kids. That was the result, and Menhaj (director) was like this is good man, you should get this made. I was like, how the f*ck am I gonna get that made? Menhaj made me write to people, and that’s when it all happened.
Well done, that’s impressive.
NC – Thank You
As a screenwriter,what projects of your own do you pursue as a director?
NC – Um, well, If I had my laptop on me now, you’d see I’ve got three on the go right now. It’s just consistently open and Ill write a bit when I can, and then if I get bored of that one Ill write the other one or, you know what I mean?
At what point do you go, ill go for that one (as a director) as oppose to letting it go to someone else?
NC – Usually when I’m writing my stuff, I usually wanna direct it all. But when I get to the end of it and I’m like, I love it as a writer, but do I LOVE it as a director? Then I’ll decide if I wanna do it. Like Storage 24, I was supposed to direct, and I loved it as a writer but didn’t LOVE it. Johannes (Director) is a Horror fan, so he wanted to do it. Fast Girls, again, that was supposed to be me, but then, you know, I just didn’t, and then Regan (director) loved it, and he did it. So a lot of the time, I would normally want to do them. I have already picked the next three things I wanna do, wither they happen or not I don’t know, but I know what they are, and as a director I just look for stuff I can relate to or that interests me, you know what I mean? I’ve found a few things that are again, really different, that interest me, and they are things I can really do with as a director, so we’ll see what happens.
You’re a busy man
NC – Yeah, if I get a second to get it done (laughs)
What film makers inspire you as an actor?
NC – Um, weirdly… everyone and no one. Like, I’m not overly in awe of anyone, like actors, directors or anything. But I like so many people. People that I admire.
So your quite open to all film genres
NC – Yeah anything, Like I’ll see films like, even yesterday watching HYENA, you know,regardless of what I thought of the whole thing, there would be a shot in there, that Id go, that’s a good shot, how the f*ck did they do that. When I saw The Raid 2 recently, I mean the fighting is amazing, but we saw Gareth (Director) after, and everyone is talking about the fighting, and I wasn’t. There was one shot they did – have you seen it? (Yeah) There’s one shot they did were there’s a guy on a motorbike, the camera goes out of the car, into another car, comes out, goes through and everyone’s still talking about the fighting, and I said, how did you do that shot?
So like, different things from different films will inspire me at all times, and that is all relative. Like, someone’s terrible film is another person’s favourite film. I can watch what I think is a terrible film and find a performance, or find a shot, or find something, you know what I mean? So like I say, its not an answer that’s being rude, but everyone and no one inspires me, everything and nothing.
I’ve got a final question, its not really relevant to anything, but I was wondering,what’s your predictions for the score tonight against Uruguay?
NC – England 2-1
NC – (laughs) Yeah
I’m gonna quote you on that
NC – England are gonna win the world cup, that’s my predictions
Ok. Good luck (Laughs)
NC – (laughs)
Interview by Allan Brown