Paul Tanter, Nick Nevern, Simon Phillips and Jonathan Sothcott talk about football and working together
With Paul Tanter’s The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan out now, The Fan Carpet‘s Oliver Hayes sat down with Paul Tanter, Nick Nevern, Simon Phillips and Jonathan Sothcott about the hard hitting drama.
The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan tells the story of Mike, an average bloke who cares for nothing more than booze, birds and football.
The filmmaking team talk about the film, what inspired them to make it and what they plan to do next…
So first off, congratulations on the film, you must all be so pleased with the final result?
Paul Tanter: yeah we’re all pleased with what we’ve got, we’ve made stuff before, all of us have made films before and we’re all really proud. This is the first one where we’re all kind of saying with no caviats we are very proud of this film. People can judge on it based on what it is, I hope everyone likes it and its something that we’re all universally proud of it.
Looking at you filmography to date, its quite clear you’ve latched onto a particular genre. Is this a result of the sort of diet of films you were brought up on and enjoy yourself?
Paul Tanter: I think the film we’ve made is kind of the result of things that Ive seen and loved and been influenced by, but at the same time the film is also a stroke of genius on the part of the producers who have really looked at what the market wants and bring something that there is a bit of a demand for. If theres demand for something in the market, then why not try and make something to fill that gap and thats what we’ve tried to do. I think in terms of the style, im a great lover of football hooligan films, British crime films and British independant films. When you watch things and there are certain films you love you try and take, maybe not conciosuly, you dont try and nick stuff but you try and take the best stuff of what you know and like and let that influence you and use the best aspects and leave behind the more negative ones.
I guess this can apply to you all, You clearly have a great working relationship which must seem like a big family now, particularly with Simon [Phillips] and you’re new muse Nick [Nevern]. What is it about working with these guys you enjoy so much?
Paul Tanter: They’re cheap!
Nick Nevern, Simon Phillips, Jonathan Sothcott (Laughing)
Paul Tanter: Its a variety of things, I mean for one thing even if I didn’t know these guys Id still know they were great actors.
Jonathan Sothcott: How!?
Nick Nevern: Terry [a film written, directed and starring Nick Nevern]
Paul Tanter: I would have seen the Jack films and thought they were awesome!
Nick Nevern: and Terry!
Paul Tanter: You’re a policeman in Adulthood arent you!?
Nick Nevern: Ahhh no! You d**khead!
Paul Tanter: Sorry was it Kidulthood?
Nick Nevern: You know that always winds me up when they say ‘Nick Nevern’ and they always put in brackets Adulthood!, I was in it for about 30 seconds!
Paul Tanter: We’ve worked together on quite a few films, and these guys worked together on Strippers verses Werewolves.
Nick Nevern: Stop telling people that! Ixnay on the werewolves ay!
Paul Tanter: And its great to A) be doing something you really want to do which is filmmaking and B) be doing it with people that you would socialise you with, sorry would socialise with that makes its sound like I dont, that you do socialise with, and you know people that are your friends! And also as you’ve heard when the door swung open and the stench of sweat has wafted out with a load of shouting
Nick Nevern: Yeah, Simon you f**king stink!
Paul Tanter: You can tell that we are good mates and as for the these two, the chemistry that I think they have on screen on White Collar Hooligan it comes across, from the script as well but from these guy as actors and as friends. There are so many scenes where these guys just bounce off each other and they do have some really natural chemistry, which is great. And its down to these guys as performers, they are good actors. And you stay working with not only people that you like, but people you like working with because you like the work that they do, which is why we work together, people like Peter Barret who we’ve use often and Rita Ramnani who we worked with on the jack films. You know what you can use and expect from people and then you try and work with other people that you always wanted to work with like Ricci Harnett, or in the case of the film we just wrapped Kierston Wareing someone like that you know you always try and bring in new people that you’ve always known and admired, and you want to try and work with.
Bringing it back to your style in general, is there an ambition to do something drastically different, do you worried about being pigeonholed in that respect, might we see a rom com from you for example?
Paul Tanter: I’d love to do something of everything you know, you can only do so many things at one time. Before this, I did three films that began with the word ‘Jack’ , obviously I wanted to do something that wasnt that, but thats not to say I wont go back and do another jack film at some point, id quite like to . This is British gangster stuff, its where I am at the moment with this, but id love to do Sci-Fi , Rom Coms, id love to do a western!
Nick Nevern: I’d quite like to do western
Paul Tanter: I mean yeah I’ll get someone to call you about that..
Nick Nevern: I wasnt saying Id like to do a western with you!
Paul Tanter:I mean we’re filming next week! But yeah Im not consciously trying to get pigeon holed but at the same time , if you’re doing something and you having a bit of success at doing it why not carry on doing what you’re good at, that sounds like a really arrogant thing to say, if this does well then why not try and replicate that success. But yeah to answer your question id like to do a bit of everything.
To bring it back to the film I really liked the credit card scam at the centre of the film, is that based on something you’ve read about in the news or was it fabricated for the movie?
Paul Tanter: It’s all based on this guy called Rahil, a guy who actually did go through the ranks of a credit card cloning organisation and is now in witness protection, because he actually ended up having to testify against the people, pretty much all the major plot points in the film, getting inducted, the getting robbed, getting kidnapped and then winding up in witness protection are all actually based on truth, they all actually happened. In terms of the actual crime aspect its all pretty much true to life. And also, I cant think of any other films that have done this, a lot of films that are doing someone entering into a criminal organisation, it tends to be drugs or some kind of macguffin that’s equally valuable, in this I dont know of anyone else whose done credit card fraud, its quite timely! But chip and pins been around for a long time, so I dont know why no ones done it before.
What were some of the main challenges in shooting this, because obviously you shot in Paris, where they any difficulties in that?
Paul Tanter: I mean we were doing late night stuff out on the street with two actors dressed as police, you get noticed by the actual real police at that point, so trying to move you on, asking for your papers and stuff like that. In terms of filming, I dont want to say it was stress free but we got a lot of good value by going to Paris. We had fun out there, we shot some good stuff.
The shooting of the football riot stuff with a lot of SA’s and extras, logistically that was a challenge by enjoyable! In terms of making the whole thing, we shot it all in 3 weeks. It was like 18 days of filming, plus another day of pick ups, so w shot the whole thing in 19 days and that includes going to Paris, and that include all the set ups, rioting , stuff at football games the entire thing was wrapped in 3 weeks so logistically it was a challenge but we’ve got a good team of actors and producers and our production design, everyone was in it together and everyone had faith in it, everyone could see what we were trying to do with it and worked hard.
We turned out what, hopefully is a film that punches well above its weight for a film that was made for what it was made for I think you Jonathon mentioned at the screening ‘I think you’ll all be pleasantly surprised by the film’.
Jonathan Sothcott: Yeah, I really hope that was the case because theres so many low budge gangster films out there that dont really deliver and I think this one does. Its well directed, its well performed, the scripts puncy and the musics great and its a film we can all be proud of and I think we are. As Paul said we’ve all done our fair share of films where we have to stand up and apologise before the film stars, it’s nice not to be in that situation.
You said it was the title that you were worried about, that it might throw some people, did it go through changes at all?
Jonathan Sothcott: Well, originally it was going to be called Money For Nothing, but the thing is there were lots of conversations about how to engage a young audience, a film a bout credit card fraud its not the easiest sell in the world, so if you add in the hooligan element into it , it becomes immediately more visually engaging. The White Collar Hooligan title works on two levels, obviously they are hooligans who are also criminals but also the white collar nature of the story , essentially they are financial hooligans, they’re running around the financial district smashing things up and creating mayhem and so on, so its actually not as obvious as it seems the title.
You’re all creatives in the British independent circle of film, how do you feel the current state of the British film industry especially with David Cameron’s recent remarks about focusing on the more commercially viable films?
Simon Phillips: To be honest, my theory is that these are the commercially viable films, there’s no point in spending extortionate amounts of money on the sort of art house films, not they dont have their place but get UK Film Council support, but they’re only films that ten people want to see. The commercial films are ones that a million people want to see, thats what a commercial film is but obviously if you stick enough money into an art house money, that feels like a massive film because its a got a massive cast but its still a small story and it still actually only appealing to a very small minority, but thats kind of trendy.
Jonathan Sothcott: It’s also frustrating for us, that theres a real snobbery about film in this country, and everyone celebrates The Kings Speech, but no one celebrates The Long Good Friday or The Business and those movies are just as important as Chariots Of Fire or Ghandi.
Nick Nevern: Absolutely, absolutely.
Jonathan Sothcott: And we’re very proud of that side of the British film industry, its a side that never gets any praise it only ever gets a kicking, and we’re all very proud to be a part of it. For me, personally give me Nick Love over Ken Loach anyday!
So you’re all a big fan of those films then?
Nick Nevern: Exactly, its why we all love making them!
Paul Tanter: Nick was just in The Sweeney actually.
Jonathan Sothcott: But Nick and I between us probably own on DVD every British gangster film ever made!
Nick Nevern: Because we support the industry we’re part of!
Paul Tanter: But you hope what you’re doing is kind of added to that canon of work, we’re all influenced by them but I hope that by what we do, we can add to it. Im not saying that people would speak of this film as the same breadth as The Long Good Friday or Lock Stock but you just want to try and add something so it gets absorbed into that group o films, I hope so anyway.
And If Hollywood beckons, you never know are there people out there you’d love to work with, specific actors and actresses?
Paul Tanter: Oh, im quite happy with these two…
Jonathan Sothcott: Hollyoaks beckons!
Paul Tanter: There’s people that you always want to work with, but thats what we try and do with these, a balance of people you now and like and respect and can depend on and then also getting in new people , like Ricci Harnett ive never worked with him before, he just wrapped on a film called Once Upon A Time In Essex, never worked with Kierston Wareing before brilliant! Never worked with Kate Magowan before got to work with her, you try and throw new people and you stick with people that you enjoy working with
Could you see Nick with the Stath?? [Jason Statham]
Paul Tanter: Nick and Stath..stripped to the waist..
Jonathan Sothcott: Back to back..guns!
Simon Phillips: I’d buy it!
Paul Tanter: I mean stranger things have happened! In all seriousness, Nick and i would say this even if he want here I see as one for the future, I think hes got something! He’s unencumbered by a lot of bad low budget British gangster movies behind him, and hes a good actor, hes got a lot of charisma. Someone was saying when he came into the screening, everyone was like ‘whose that guy?’
Nick Nevern: Only because I was wearing the costume! I picked up a T shirt before I went to the screening, I thought I’ll wear that tonight, only turns out I was wearing it in the film can you believe that, turning up to the screening of your own film wearing the same thing you wore in the movie!
Jack’s obviously based on your own Graphic Novel, clearly you’re a fan of that medium. Is there a graphic novel that you would like to adapt and direct yourself or perhaps one that’s already been made?
Paul Tanter: I love the fact that they did Watchmen, I love Watchmen. Actually theres some called I think its Fables, its like someone’s just basically taken a load of kids characters but they’ve put them into adult situations which sounds more freaky now Ive said it! I tell you what, the Preacher series I think they’re actually making that and turn them into films, those are good. Im quite looking forward to the next Sin City film too, so that should be good!
Billy Murray’ in the film, and he’s one of the more recognisable faces and you’ve worked with some big names like Danny Dyer, Dexter Fletcher etc, do you find they’re accommodating in terms of adding a bit of star power to a smaller feature like yours?
Paul Tanter: Yeah, I mean its always helpful to get a bit of a name attached to the film Im sure the producers would agree. Like Ricci’s name and Billy’s name does help, and gets it noticed by a distributor.
Jonathan Sothcott: Yeah, people like a bit of familiarity in this genre and obviously they all know Ricci from Rise Of The Foot Solider and Billy from virtually every gangster film ever made. I think its also a stamp of quality really, and we’re very lucky that very established actors will come and do a bit of work on our movies.
THE RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN IS OUT NOW