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Luke Treadaway and Jodie Whittaker talk fun on set

Attack The Block
11 May 2011

Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And teenage street kids into heroes. It¹s inner city versus outer space.

Trainee nurse Sam is walking home to her flat in a scary South London tower block when she¹s robbed by a gang of masked, hooded youths. She¹s saved when the gang are distracted by a bright meteorite, which falls from the sky and hits a nearby parked car. Sam flees, just before the gang are attacked by a small alien creature that leaps from the wreckage. The gang chase the creature and kill it, dragging its ghoulish carcass to the top of the block, which they treat as their territory.

While Sam and the police hunt for the gang, a second wave of meteors fall.Confident of victory against such feeble invaders, the gang grab weapons, mount bikes and mopeds, and set out to defend their turf. But this time, the creatures are bigger. Much bigger. Savage, shadowy and bestial, they are hunting their fallen comrade and nothing will stand in their way. The estate is about to become a battleground. And the bunch of no-hope kids who just attacked Sam are about to become her, and the block¹s, only hope.

Luke Treadaway and Jodie Whittaker, two stars of Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block, spoke to the Fan Carpet this week about the film and their enjoyment on the project. With the film set to be released on May 11th – the talented duo also spoke of their delight of working together on a film for the first time.



So, you’ve known each other a while – had you ever worked together before?

Jodie Whittaker: No we hadn’t, but it’s been brilliant. To get this was really exciting, as it meant we have actually been able to work together!


So you didn’t annoy each other then?

Luke Treadaway: No, we had great fun!

Jodie Whittaker: I think you can tell in the piece that everyone got on and how much fun we had with it, because how could you not? You’d be a right miserable git if you hated working on that! It was just brilliant and so unique and such an amazing experience to be a part of, like, five people’s debut, six including Joe’s, and that’s a really special thing to be a part of and to be a part of a film that stands alone in British cinema, for its attempt at the story its telling, its really unique in that way.

Luke Treadaway: Very good answer Jodie.

Jodie Whittaker: Thanks.


Were either of you big sci-fi fans before the film?

Jodie Whittaker: I don’t know too much about it – I think everything I’ve seen I’ve loved.

Luke Treadaway: Yeah, I’ve seen some great sci-fi films, but when you say are you a sci-fi fan, that instantly makes me think of, like proper, totally committed ‘I go to Comic con’ fan, which is great, but I wouldn’t put myself in that bracket, but I love some sci-fi films.


What was it about the script and the film which attracted you to your roles?

Jodie Whittaker: It was just so ambitious. And, for me personally, I love my character because, as the token girl, I adore Joe for this – I’m not in a bikini, I’m not crying, I’m not having to have a man save me and I don’t have to have a love interest, and my lines aren’t there to serve someone else’s. It was brilliant; I just played a completely normal, quite straight, quite practical and rational nurse – and it was all about the reality of the characters, in a completely heightened environment.

Luke Treadaway: It was a brilliant script, so tight and stuff and Joe had done a lot of work going to youth centres and stuff, developing the language, so that for me really rang true and felt very authentic and genuine, without weighing down the pacing of it all, it didn’t weigh down any scenes with authenticity and gritty realness. It was poppy, and fresh and punchy and its funny and I’ve seen films before that become too obsessed with making it real, and then it loses its life and the incredible vocal energy that you hear when you passing young kids chatting. So the fact that it could do both was a great achievement.

Jodie Whittaker: Every line is placed, which is brilliant, and the more times you hear it, the more you hear something completely new and nothings thrown away and nothings wasted and I also don’t think that the language alienates any audience either because it takes maybe, if your not used to it, a few minutes to get used to it, as so much of the slang is repeated that you enter into that world. Anyway, I think it will work as there have been questions of it working in America but they are so excited about it, and it went down brilliantly in Texas.

Luke Treadaway: Yeah, we have the Wire coming over here and we understand and get it, and you look at Clockwork Orange and that uses its own sort of lexicon, but by the end of the film you kinda understand what these things are, and Joe was really clever and didn’t use every slang word he could have – I think that if you don’t know what being merked is the first time you hear it, you will by the third time, which is fine as your sort of learning it as the film goes along.


In the film, your two characters are outsiders in relation to the main group, did you ever feel in that same way being two of the only trained actors in this project?

Jodie Whittaker: I think the great thing about acting is that on day one, your all actors, whether that’s your first professional job or not, when you’ve wrapped on day one, everyone is a professional actor. So what they bought a kind of energy that was really fresh and really enthusiastic and really lacked a sense of vanity in a way that you get a bit weathered and a bit beaten from working, but they weren’t seeking advice. I tried giving it a few times but they didn’t respond. But it was brilliant as I felt really young and we are young, but it felt like we were back at high school, in a brilliant way that anything’s possible, and Joe is like that. He’s a 42-year-old child, and its brilliant to be around so you felt that we all just taught each other stuff really.

Luke Treadaway: Yeah I think that Joe said to the boys, that he hadn’t made a film either and he was very involving with them, with the dialogue, and they worked on that, asking about the looks and the clothes and with us as well I think there wasn’t any separation really, it was kind of like an ensemble piece which we were all working on together and I think there was an amazing feel with everyone, that this was quite an original and special piece to be working on and that was there on set every day really. It was really fun.


Did it feel quite odd though, that your both quite young yourselves and yet you were two of the more experienced members of the cast?

Jodie Whittaker: Yes!

Luke Treadaway: I’m usually the least experienced on the job so it was weird.

Jodie Whittaker: It is odd, and funny that me, Luke and Nick without collectively even 35 years experience, were the experienced ones. Hopefully we set the standard.


And Luke, did you enjoy playing the butt of the jokes?

Luke Treadaway: I did, I loved it, and I think that Brewis is a great part that’s very fun. And then finding out that its kinda based on Joe when he was younger, going down to the blocks to procure some jazz ciggies, is really fun and I liked it a lot.

Jodie Whittaker: I think every character has so much detail in every one, and no-one is underwritten in any way.



When you first got told that the film was a sci-fi of aliens invading a South London estate, did you ever think it would turn out just as well as it has done?

Jodie Whittaker: I think so yeah, as the script was absolutely amazing. Joe was so articulated on what he wanted. I did feel that we were part of something special when we were filming it. It was one of them that when you got the job, like, you’ll remember where you are when you got the script.

Luke Treadaway: I was in a town hall in Acton.

Jodie Whittaker: Were ya? I was in Hawaii. What were you doing?

Luke Treadaway: I was filming there, dressed up as a white Rabbit at the time.

Jodie Whittaker Photos | Attack The Block Film Page