RT Interview: Director Baillie Walsh on Ziggy, Roxy and Daniel Craig in Flashbacks of a Fool
The first-time helmer sits down with RT.
BW: No, this is the fourth script but the closest I ever got before was I was in New York to start and it never happened. It's always been very close. Yeah, I've been waiting a long time, but it takes a lot of money and for people to put up that money, a lot of things have to come together. Daniel's support on this one made it happen.
The film opens and closes in LA, and even the Britain you present isn't quite Britain, but the film is very British...
BW: Yeah, it's the idea of Britain, but I always wanted to make a British film. I didn't want it to be grimy realism. It's about memory, so it's the idea that memory plays with our summers, and our experiences - all is bright, and blue and sunny. I liked the idea it was a heightened reality. I did want to make a British film set by the sea, but I knew that Clacton-on-Sea, where I'm from, wasn't quite the right backdrop. So I played with it in that way.
But so long as there's a great story I'd make a film anywhere. So long as I can find something I can believe in, it doesn't matter where it's set.
It seems like you feel location is important to really setting the environment of a film for you, though.
BW: Yeah, I think so - I want a film to be interesting visually. I love photography and I'm very interested in the way things look. It's part of the story you're telling and part of the whole feeling of the thing. But I don't want it to take over and I don't want that to be the only thing, but it's very looking.
Harry's fantastic, what were you looking for during his casting?
BW: A young Daniel Craig. Harry walked through the door and knew I'd found him. I completely believe that this boy could be a young Daniel. He was the first boy I saw and I didn't even ask him to read, I just knew he could do it. He had naturalness to him, he didn't seem like a stage kid, he felt really raw and teenaged and just great.
Harry mentioned that he and the young cast went down to South Africa for the filming early...
BW: Yeah, because I wanted all the boys to be mates. I wanted them out there early so they'd hang out. I didn't want them pretending to be friends, I wanted that to come naturally to them. And it did. It was amusing seeing them, because they really lived it up and I think they had a great time. We were in a great hotel and it was just a really good vibe.
Does it make a difference to have a happy set?
BW: It does. This was the best moment of my life and I wanted to make it as joyous on everyone else as possible. It was hard, it was really hard, but it was a very good time and I wanted my happiness to be part of the film. When you can say, "I'd like to build three houses here," and have someone say, "OK," it's fantastic!
Do you think that's a better way to approach a first film - to go in with a bit of money rather than try to make something low-budget with whatever you can scrape together?
BW: Oh yeah. I tried many ways to make this film and one of them was with no money. Even with money it's hard, but with no money I would never have achieved the atmosphere I wanted. I'd have had to do it in Clacton-on-Sea in a whole different set of circumstances.