Having played in the UK, the phenomenal Irish drama, What Richard Did, received its United States premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday April 21st. Actor Jack Reynor, who plays the titular Richard, joined director Lenny Abrahamson to talk about the film on the red carpet.
The director summed up the story of the film: “It’s based on a book called Bad Day in Blackrock by an Irish writer called Kevin Power which is a book set in the world of privileged South Dublin teenagers. In Ireland they’re a well-known group, they’re very you know, urban, very well-heeled, attractive and this film focuses kind of on the boy at the center of this group. Kind of Alpha Male, beloved by his fellow team mates but also by all the girls. Liked by the parents and teachers as well, so it’s about that kid. And one of the reasons I was interested in making it is that films about teenagers tend to focus on the kid on the outside of the group. I mean that’s who most of us identify with and therefore often the ones in center are often pretty caricatures so I was interested in taking a character at the center of the group. The one who appears to have the least complex life, the most blessed life, and look at what it’s like to be inside that person. And what it’s like particularly for what it’s like for a character who’s not used to failure or self-criticism to deal with both. You know most of us have a lifetime to come to terms with…our own failings, the things we don’t like about ourselves and the ambitions that we didn’t achieve. But with Richard we took him and we made him face, to deal with a lifetime’s worth of disappointment in the course of like a couple of weeks. ”
What’s it liked to be picked up by Tribeca Film Fest?
Abrahamson: It’s great! I mean…it’s brilliant to have distribution in the States and especially with Tribeca and for Imagine because it’s such a name that people understand and they associate with really interesting cinema so for me it’s really great. I’m delighted that it’s up in the festival and particularly the way it’s going to go on release.
Jack Reynor: “Oh my god, it’s just amazing to be here, it’s great. I mean to get recognition from the festival
and for them to host our film here it’s amazing. I mean it’s Tribeca!”
What was the most difficult scene for you?
Reynor: “Probably I think the most difficult and the most rewarding scene at the same time is the scene outside on the bench where Richard and his father were having that conversation on the bench. We
changed the entire film that day. We made some very critical decisions while we were on set that day and it actually shaped the movie. But that was by far the most difficult to do in a truthful way because that’s where you get your performance.
How did you develop your on screen relationship with Roisin Murphy as Lara?
Reynor: “We spent a lot of time together, we workshopped, we were great friends–still are. And yea, we just invested a lot of time. And we spoke–Roison and I knew eachother before the film, we knew each other from school actually so yea, I mean in that sense it was kind of natural enough.”
Both men were happy to talk about their exciting upcoming projects as well.
You’re in the next Transformers movie?
Reynor: That’s right!
Can you tell us anything about it?
Reynors: It’s gonna be awesome.
Can you say anything about your next film, Frank?
Abrahamson: “Yea, Frank is a comedy about a band lead by a very strange band leader called Frank–the name of the film–played by Michael Fassbender.
He’s in a giant mask, was that difficult to direct through?
Abrahamson: “It was, I mean never mind directing, tough to act in! But he’s you know, you need an actor with real character, with real charisma to play through that limitation and he does that really well. So, hope to have that finished by the end of the year.”
What Richard Did has remaining Tribeca screenings listed on the TFF film guide with a limited NY engagement set for May 10th. Also be sure to check out our review here!