Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wyndham Richardson: 'I directed Duncan Fallowell'

You've seen the movie starring Duncan Fallowell (not called Minor, but that's what we'll have to title it until further advised ...), now meet the director. Yes, it's Wyndham Richardson. I asked him about the project ...

Wyndham! Who are you? - you're at Bournemouth Uni and you've made a movie called Minor starring your Godfather Duncan Fallowell ..

I'm studying television production at Bournemouth University. I'm originally from London/Wiltshire and have known Dunx since ever. The film isn't actually called Minor, it was my minor project at university. I will be making a major project this year which will be 10 minutes rather than 4.

What a movie - is it a longy or a shorty? What's its actual length?

So my university brief was to create a drama or doc lasting between 3 and 4 minutes. It ended up being 3 minutes 57 seconds. I wish it could have been longer, my original cut was 8 minutes. I think Duncan's rushes could have made a feature film as every take was very different and equally entertaining making the final cut a real challenge.

How was it devised - your idea? Was it scripted or improvised?

I wrote the script, all the characters had back story and that's what I took with me when casting. I wanted my actors to really get into the role and was happy for them to adapt their character if it meant for a more convincing performance. When it came to shooting the film I was really pushing the actors to improvise, Duncan was all for that. At times I'd have to pull him back to the script as he easily went off on a mad tangent, which was equally entertaining. I also asked the actors questions about their relationships with the other characters just before we started rolling which helped with the improvisation.

How did you talk Duncan into it? - if indeed you had to. Tell us how it all came together and when?

I shot the film in October but got Duncan on board in early August. I went over to his for dinner with script in hand, we talked over the piece at length and he had such a good idea of where I wanted to go with the piece that when I asked him to be in it he happily obliged. The character was always named Duncan so I think he got a hint from that.

The next step was thinking of who would work well with Duncan, the most important thing was making sure all the characters were very different so as to really challenge the relationships they had.

What was your idea behind this film? You say it's a satire. Duncs is now being called an upper class Ricky Gervais ... someone else referred to American Beauty ...

Funny this talk of American Beauty, I'd never really considered the link. I'm a big fan of director Amando Iannucci and the political satire he creates in The Thick of It. His raw camerawork and editing creates realism and detracts from the fact it's a film rather than real life. I wanted to create a film where the viewer is trying hard to work out if they're watching a drama or a doc. Duncan's opening sequence in the car was probably the most successful in that respect.

As for the general plot of the film, I love the idea of challenging stereotypical relationships. The concept of adopting a sister is completely ridiculous but so is casting Duncan to play the role of a very straight doctor. I wanted to use everyday locations and give the film a 'cringe' factor. Someone commented on 'those nasty plastic switches' and 'that funny little car Duncs drives', that's what the film was all about, getting people to look at how funny the everyday things in life are. If Duncan's car was silver, black or blue it wouldn't have been as funny as the fact it's yellow. That is Duncan's real car.

How long did it take to film? Was it filmed in Bournemouth?

The film was shot in Bournemouth over a long weekend. The university allocates you 3 days to shoot and that's it, no chance to go back and get more. I had a crew of only 4. I wanted to keep it small in an attempt to make the shooting process as simple and organic as possible.

Did Duncs behave himself or were there diva-ish demands? He shouted at someone in his car - who was that?

Dunx will always be himself regardless of where he is. On set he was very good - he kept the crew and other actors entertained and definitely fired everyone up, to the extent that it was quite common for takes to be unusable due to members of the crew laughing at Duncan's antics, me included!

The car scene was great fun to film as Duncan was more than happy to improvise on his surroundings; his character wasn't happy about a young family skating close to the car so he felt the need to voice this by shouting. God knows what this family made of him driving around shouting with a camera crew in his car!

Did Duncs really once "stink like a polecat", do you think?

I'm sure he did at times - he'll probably deny this however!

Do you plan to be a movie director? Tell us something of your plans ...

I love making films for myself. My minor project is a clear example of my kind of humour. I want to continue to make these kind of films but as for the next few years I don't know. Ideally I'd like to earn enough money doing something else to allow me to make these films on the side. Of course if anyone wanted to invest in my projects I'd happily take up directing full-time but I don't feel the urge to enter the media world as a runner in the hope of making it big one day - terribly pessimistic I'm afraid. I will be making a major in March along the same lines so look out for that.

Do you see Duncan often? ... how did he get to become your Godfather? Gore Vidal once said of himself "always a Godfather never a God" ...

So Duncan's been my Godfather since ever. He went to Oxford with my Dad and it sounds like they both had a pretty good time there. We stay in touch by email and phone, living out of London means I don't see him a great deal but it's fun to pop in to his when I'm there. He's a funny port of call and will always have a pretty amusing opinion on whatever it is I'm calling him up about.

How do you view Duncan? He has this rather outre literary maverick reputation ... do you like his work? Which of his books is your favourite, if any?

I've grown up without knowing much about his work but it's fun to see he has this following. His work is very interesting, I've just started reading a copy of his new book Going as Far as I Can which looks like a blast. I know my brother is a big fan of his. His work with CAN it worth listening to.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself - age, love life, health and position on George Bush and Zac Goldsmith, etc.

I'm 20 years of age and have a girlfriend called Laura, I'm looking forward to moving on from University and starting something new. I enjoy listening to the Today programme and am currently writing my dissertation on the subject. I follow politics pretty closely and at present have little faith in Brown or Bush. The next few years are going to be pretty interesting; the US presidential race seems very open at the moment. I like going to festivals and play the drums.

Which film director do you most admire and name your best movie ever.

Hitchcock is my favourite director. He was a master in creating suspense, I think The Birds is one of his best films. I'm also a massive fan of Larry David and the work he's done with Seinfeld.

Did Duncs buy you a Christmas present?

Duncan has yet to give me a christmas present this year, I guess it was his performance. In past years I've received belts, bags and a day out to Brighton Pier.

And finally ... could we have more movie clips please with Duncs ...

I'm looking to cut some more footage of Duncan from my minor when I have the time but as for future projects stay tuned. I think Duncan's film career is just kicking off.

Thank you Wyndham for your time. Good luck with university and your career (I feel you're a Gemini).

To see the movie click here


drf said...

I wish people would stop taking the piss out of my car. Thanks to Ken Livingstone I can drive it everywhere. I've just driven to the bathroom and back.

Duncan Fallowell

Anonymous said...

I think it's a delightful car and fuel-efficient too. I should have been appalled had I seen a 4-wheel drive. The use of the left-hand trafficator, to indicate the car's turn into the car park of a labelled surgery, was the only real clue that Duncan is playing a doctor.

Anonymous said...

It could be entered in the shorts section of Cannes (with the restored 4 minutes) but you need a proper title. How about A Blind Date with my Sister?

Duralex said...

<< The concept of adopting a sister is completely ridiculous >>

Very thought-provoking, though.

<< but so is casting Duncan to play the role of a very straight doctor. >>

Well... If I were Mr F. I wouldn't like this little bit at all. I mean, is gayness written on his face and demeanor ? Who would guess ? I have gay friends who look straighter than Clint Eastwood and straight friends who look gayer than... er, no name here, just insert the one that most bothers you. ;-)

But if Mr F. bears it, it's none of my business after all.

drf said...

Wyndham's totally cool about all the gay/straight stuff and didn't mean straight in that sense

Best, Duncan

The Daughter-of-a-Bitch said...

"I have gay friends who look straighter than Clint Eastwood and straight friends who look gayer than... er, no name here, just insert the one that most bothers you."

Truman Capote?

SUSAN said...

Duncan`s car is unbelievably hideous. I didn`t they made cars as hideous as Duncan`s car. He himself is a vision of beauty by comparison.

drf said...

Peugeot call the colour Sahara. I call it electric bile.


SUSAN said...

Electric bile is good. Mind, if you had been to stay in our barn now it wouldn`t have been electric bile it would have been Earth Tones. I have my car cleaned twice a year, by the Glos firemen in aid of Comic Relief in March and Children in Need in November. Last time when the doughty chaps had finished hosing and polishing they asked if I`d known I had a red car. I feel they would enjoy doing your car too Dunx x

drf said...

Susan - my car loves firemen. Let's arrange it soon! xDuncan