Interview with J Blakeson

J Blakeson is the director of the recently released “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”, in which J has received high praises for. After only his first feature film, J has been named one of Variety’s 10 directors to watch in 2010. Movie Mikes has the chance to chat with J to discuss the process for making “Alice Creed” and what he has planned next.

Click here to purchase “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you came up with the story for “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”?
J Blakeson: It was sort of a practical thing to start with. I knew I had to write it and be able to achieve it on a low budget. I started with what I had which was an apartment. I knew three actors that could probably get involved. I setup the limitation with that in mind. I wanted to show the other side of a kidnapping. When they have to take care of the people that they kidnap and of course what happens when it doesn’t go as planned.

MG: You were was named as one of Variety’s 10 directors to watch in 2010 after your first feature, does that create any pressure for you?
JB: Well it is a little bit of pressure but that is actually a good problem to have [laughs]. I feel a little bit of pressure in what I am going to do next. But it also has put me in a fantastic position. I now do not just have to do any job that comes around. People actually want me to work for them now. It is a great place to be. All of the benefits out weigh the pressure.

MG: What did you find your biggest challenge directing “Alice Creed”?
JB: It had to be the schedule. We had such little time. I didn’t want to make it like a hand held documentary style. I wanted to make it as cinematic as possible. The problem with doing that is that it takes time. We are always watching the clock. The great thing about hand held is your can just swing the camera around and get loads of footage. When you storyboard it and have to plan shots, it takes a long time. Especially when you are setting up dolly shots and other tough camera shots. There was a sequence where Alice is eating soup, it had so many single shots. We were always chasing our tails but luckily we had a really good crew.

MG: You worked with such a great cast in “Alice Creed”, tell us how you got everyone on board?
JB: This film sort of lives or dies based on the actors. If we didn’t have good actors we would be in trouble. It was great it was a real treat to work with such good actors. They are all such hard working people, especially since we only had four weeks to shot this. It required a quite intense acting performance from all of them. They all have to do pretty interesting stuff. They really threw themselves into the material.

MG: How did you get involved with “The Descent: Part 2″, where you a fan of the first film”?
JB: It was purely a writer for hire gig. I wrote that with a friend of mine James McCarthy. We wrote a big action/thriller script for Working Title that they never made. One of the other companies we showed, the project to was Celador, the company that made “The Descent”. One of the producers there read it and loved it. We setup a general meeting and they brought up to us about doing a sequel to “The Descent”. We said of course because that is a film that has a green light before it even has a script. We pitched for it and we got the job. We got rewritten by James Watkins, he wrote and directed “Eden Lake”. Then we re-wrote him and then he came back and re-wrote us. It was a bit of a funny process. The final draft isn’t our draft but it is in the same shape. So it sort of like the same body but different personality.

MG: With your first movie in the bag, what is planned for next?
JB: I am writing one at the moment. Actually I am going to finish that one soon and hopefully get it made next. Then at the same time, I am getting sent a bunch of scripts. I particular do not like writing and I would like to focus on directing. If you only write you own films then you are really limited to only making a few films because it takes a long time to write and then get off the ground. If you have other projects on the go then you make more films. I enjoy making films and want to make as many as I can.

Click here to purchase “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”

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