Marc Evans Interview
Marc Evans Interview
Did you cut anything out that you really hated to lose?

Marc Evans

Yes, lots. In my head – and I know this sounds really grandiose, but you know Altman's Nashville? This kind of not languid, but this kind of meandering, deliberately sort of Olympian view of a situation and we had loads and loads, including a scene where Minnie sings in a Working Men's Club at the front and there's a whole strand where she's shagging this guy who's an old boyfriend that she knew when she was growing up.

There's a bigger version of this film that would actually, ironically, would have been a bit longer and a bit slower, even, but would have managed to just tease out those threads that are sort of shorthanded. I very rarely feel it, because I always think the film is what it is, but this is the one film I feel that there's another version of the film I slightly lost in the making.
Will you get the chance to do that on DVD?

Marc Evans

Well, maybe, maybe. I mean, to be honest with you, I needed another two weeks shooting, as well, to really make the film I wanted to make, but sometimes you hope that a film that's a little ragged is forgiven by the audience because it ends in the right place and that's what I hope this film does [laughs], it ends in the right place, you know?
The music choices are really interesting. Can you talk us through why you chose those particular tracks?

Marc Evans

The thing with the music choices, you think it's going to be an amazing opportunity to put all your favourite tracks from your childhood down and actually what happens is that some artists don't work. And so you have to pick artists, who are not storytellers, in the sense that they're telling stories about their own lives – you know, Elton John is very tricky from that point of view, so are The Beatles a lot of the time.

You've got to pick artists, I think, that leave spaces for the teenage mind to occupy. Bowie's very good at that, he creates worlds – they're stories, of course they are, but they're kind of slightly fictionalised, slightly fantastical and have an otherness to them and I think we just picked songs that had that otherness. It was amazing what it was we were looking for and it was very hard to describe but kind of hopefully, when you've found it, you've found the right songs.

So Nick Drake has it a little bit, because he's a kind of doomed English poet in a way, looking back – I mean, he wasn't doing it at the time – that's how you sort of think of him now, but when you get a young Welsh voice singing that, it's a very cheeky thing to do, but it's a different interpretation. And likewise with ELO - you know, Jeff Lynne writes lyrics which are sort of verging on the meaningless, but they've got space in there to imagine this otherworldly place, almost like entering some sort of videogame in a strange way, a sort of alternate reality. And I think there's emotion in those songs and in that kind of writing. Roxy Music's in there for the same reason – it allows you to invent a version of yourself, which I think teenagers constantly do.
One last question - can you talk about the casting?

Marc Evans

Minnie's easy to talk about because as soon as she came into our heads we almost couldn't imagine the film without her, because she does the singing, she does accents, that's the technical side of it. She's a good character actress, so she ticks those boxes, but she's also got this aura and this spirit that is the other half of the equation, you know, and made the kids love her and hopefully make the audience love her. And she floats through it in a way – I think it had to be a certain kind of person to be able to stand in that room and be the teacher for those kids for that scene. Because it's not a conventional acting scene, that and it's not a conventional music scene either, actually.

And then the kids – and again, I didn't quite do the kind of film that I thought I was going to make, in some senses, but this uninflected thing that kids have got – I didn't want loads of actors. So instead of writing characters that kids had to act, we wrote characters that we changed so the kids could just be those characters. You know, they were obviously close to how we'd imagined them but it, generally speaking, was always different.

But the thing that's amazing about kids, the upside of it is that even if they're not experienced, they pick up things so quickly, so they never didn't know their lines, they never didn't know their songs – I mean, they committed in a way that is like the teenagers in the film, they're committed but you don't expect them to be? You know, they're all over the shop and themselves and authentic and real but actually they give you what you need. It was amazing and a really lovely experience from that point of view.
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Content updated: 25/03/2019 07:22

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