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Jaime Winstone and Aneurin Barnard talk passionately for ELFIE HOPKINS

Elfie Hopkins
17 April 2012

Jaime Winstone spoke to The Fan Carpet this week to discuss her upcoming feature Elfie Hopkins, along fellow co-star Aneurin Barnard  – as Ryan Andrews debut hits our screens on April 20.

The pair were in good spirits to discuss a film they both feel extremely passionately about – as Elfie Hopkins tells a tale of a young wannabe detective Elfie (Winstone) who alongside her best friend Dylan (Barnard) decide to investigate the peculiar neighbours next door, with obscene consequences.


Elfie Hopkins is filled with cultural references from the early ’90’s when I assume you would have both been very young – did you have to swat up?

Jaime Winstone: I’m quite a grunger really, I had an older sister so I kind of had the hand-me-downs and Nirvana posters on my wall so there is loads of 90s throwbacks but its just that grunge generation of suburban kids who don’t have anything to do apart from get stoned, read books and listening to grunge music, I guess it’s just capturing that kind of mood really.

Aneurin Barnard: When I was growing up I started watching films for such a young age, I remember the first time I watched The Lost Boys, I must have been under ten, eight I think, and at that point you watch it and all you see is the mood and the style vibe of it, and I didn’t have any idea what was going on because I was so young, but it captures that element, like someone like Spielberg does so well with his movies, you just capture the style and the tone of it you don’t understand what’s going and then you watch it years later and you think “oh that’s what was going on”.



Jaime, many of your previous roles have been based in London and you grew up in London yourself, so was it quite difficult to get into the head of a suburban girl from a rural town?

Jaime Winstone: Not really, I moved to Essex when I was 16 so I can really draw from that and from living in the city to moving to a place where there were sheep in my garden, so I could draw on that moodiness and just wanting to go back to London. So I had the best of both worlds in that sense.


Aneurin, we recently saw you in Hunky Dory, which also delves into small town life, but in that you were the coolest kid in the class whereas in this you’re a bit of a nerd. Was there a particular character you felt closer to when filming?

Aneurin Barnard: If I’m honest playing Dylan in Elfie feels quite far away from me, so even though I had to connect with my inner geek and my inner nerd and embrace that which is great because that’s not me and its never been me but it was a great place to go, because in acting its important to play different roles and to be completely different to who I am, whereas in Hunky Dory it was very close to home for me.


I know you are probably sick and tired of this Jaime, but what’s it like being on set with you own father? Is it supporting seeing a friendly face on set, or is embarrassing?

Jaime Winstone: Since I was a kid I’ve been watching him do films so weird and so strange, but it makes you think it’s just a job so it’s just our jobs, just like swapping notes, I ask him for advice and he’s always been really helpful to me and its a different generation of press and journalism in terms of what he went to. its just normal, although you are a bit nervous because you watch the reaction on set and people think of him as a my dad but it doesn’t matter, its just like working with any other actor, he’s very giving, and non-judgemental and it’s great.
Aneurin Barnard: And he’s very normal and people very easily get in this hierarchy but it’s just Ray, Jaime’s dad but also the talented actor he has worked years to be become. But it was nice to work with him because he’s very genuine and very respectful and here’s there to work.

Jaime Winstone: My dad takes me very seriously and he always has done even since my first job. It was just very good guidance that I was blissfully unaware of. Originally when the script was sent to him I didn’t know about it, and we had discussed it and the thought of him playing it, but I was like, “as if”. I wasn’t scared of him reading it though, and he did and thought it was great. My dad has been doing some major, major films and I felt this was a breath of fresh air for him.


Aneurin you’ve been on stage recently, what are the different challenges for you?

Aneurin Barnard: For me it doesn’t matter what form it comes in, whether its stage or film, it’s just about the different characters I play, for me it’s very important I can do anything I want, well, hopefully I can, let people judge how they wanna judge, and if people think it’s crap then fine, I’m gonna do it anyway. It’s just challenging myself as an actor that’s important, whether that’s stage or film or television, it;s about doing my own stunts and its really important for me, I have a very old fashioned mind of the film world, my biggest inspiration is Richard Burton and the man would appear on stage, in film, anything, he’d even sing the poor sod and he didn’t have the greatest voice in the world, but he’d go for it and for me it’s that all or nothing pit-bull attitude, either grab ’em by the throat and go for it or it’s not worth it.


Tell us about the fight scenes from the film, they must have been fun to shoot?

Jaime Winstone: Yeah it’s all fun for me, I love a good flick with tits and guns to be honest. It kind of has that element. This is a very serious film but it kind of manages to slice in some of those genres of films that we love, such as the blood and the gore and the stylisation of the way it’s shot, and the lighting, the montage sequences, it’s like stuff that we dreamed of. It’s my fantasy that’s been made into a reality, it’s really awesome and we think we’ve pulled it off.
Aneurin Barnard: I always do my own stunts, I’ve been boxing since I was 11, I’ve been training with 13 weapons since that age too and now all of a sudden I’m not allowed to be any good at it. I’ve got take it in the face and really be very weak, so that’s a challenge for me because I really want to get involved and start beating people up left, right and centre, but instead I have to be knocked out on the floor and let it all happen around me. I’ll have my moment one day.



Jaime you are a producer as well an an actress in this film – do you feel closer to the film as a result of being behind the camera as well as in front of it?

Jaime Winstone: Yeah completely. There is a certain point in the film where there’s nothing you can do. I am an associate producer so it’s getting it off the table and putting it out there, being the force behind it really, so there is a moment when you have to step back and its really hard because its your baby and then you have a film company handling it and pimping it out, and its extremely precious and I feel vulnerable just sitting here talking about it. I’m so excited about it but its like we just need to wait for the audiences to see really – but this is the sort of film we want to watch and  that has been the drive for me and Ryan the whole way through. We’ve just had to keep the fire in the belly, and not let it get picked apart which happens so often in this industry, where you feel you have a great project and then executives are just trying to change it, so this is why we stuck to our guns, because we had masses of people come to us with lots of money, but after they just started playing with it and picking it apart we just pulled it, we couldn’t do that – it’s pointless, it’s not going to be the film we want to watch. So we held back a year and stuck by our guns really. And hopefully that shows what sort of project this is.

Aneurin Barnard: I think that’s the heart of the whole film in a way, just a persistence  from the creators behind it, with Jaime and Ryan, and so forth, it’s just the fact it was embraced to become a genuine production that these people believed in. It’s very easy for the studio to come in and give you lots of money to create the film that they want to make, and stop you going with the idea of the film you wanted to make from the beginning. It happens time and time again, and by the end of the film after all of the money has been used and the execs have got involved, the film is nothing like it started off to be.  n Hollywood that’s the biggest problem at the moment, there are no actual finished products coming from one persons mind it goes through tens and tens of peoples minds and you end up with this mumble jumble.
Jaime Winstone: This is why we’re lucky to be part of the British film industry because since the film council went down, sad to say it but I think there have been doors that have opened, people are standing up and finding other ways to fund their films. Ryan is very tough and is a very exciting new director to watch and you know, I think you just have to trust them, trust young film-makers because technically he knows his shit.

Jaime Winstone Photos | Elfie Hopkins Film Page