Sunday, February 05, 2012

Black Sheep interviews Paddy Considine

An interview with TYRANNOSAUR writer/director, Paddy Considine.

When Paddy Considine decided to write and direct his first film, TYRANNOSAUR, he had no intention of making one of the most bleak films in history. And, depending on how you read it, he may very well have not, but the surface of the film itself might make it difficult for some to see the hope buried beneath the heartache.

“Some of it, I’m still uncomfortable with,” Considine begins to explain when we meet at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. “I wanted to make a film about redemption, about how souls are pushed to the limit. I just hope there is something in there that people can identify with.”

TYRANNOSAUR is the unlikely love story between Joseph (Peter Mullan) and Hannah (Olivia Colman). Joseph is a lower class brute, who has just realized that his violent nature is holding him back from any sense of peace. Hannah, a middle class shop owner, has violence in her life as well, in the form of her husband’s (Eddie Marsan) fist. Neither can understand it nor explain it but they each come to know a newfound calm inside after they meet.

“To me they’re heroic because they’re just bearing their soul to you. I couldn’t help but care for them.” Considine says of his own creations. “There were times on the set where I had to take myself to the corner because I was quite upset. I didn’t realize how much I loved them.” Considine, a stoic man in person, is clearly enamored with the process itself and seemingly surprised still by just how much so.

Considine in action
North American audiences will likely best know the 37-year-old Considine for his acting parts in films like THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM or the Oscar-nominated, IN AMERICA. While directing is something he knew he wanted to do, it is not something he ever thought he would just pick up naturally. In fact, it wasn’t until he was on set with Mullan and Colman that he knew he had made the right choice. “They confirmed a couple of things to me. One, that my intuition about casting them was right and two, that I actually could direct.” Considine confides. “It wasn’t just a sort of a notion I had, ‘I fancy directing a movie now.’ No, I had this burning desire and they just grasped the tone of the film.”

That tone, as troubling as it is at times, still came from Considine’s mind, so I cannot help but wonder what inspired this story to be the first he would tell. “It’s just a build up of everything, my life growing up, the people I was around,” Considine admits freely and then quickly denounces any notion of autobiography. “To be honest with you, I suppose a lot of it is me just trying to make sense of a lot of things and a lot of people.”

Colman and Mullan in Tyrannosaur
If you can stomach the pain in TYRANNOSAUR, then you can see the light hiding underneath that pain. It is clear to me that Paddy Considine sees that light quite brightly. “These people, after these wars, are still soul mates. They’re like soldiers who have shared an experience. Their understanding of each other is far beyond attraction; it’s not about that. It’s a higher love that they share.”

This would be the opposite of bleak.

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