Director Garth Jennings on Son of Rambow: The RT Interview

We catch up with one half of Hammer & Tongs.

Garth Jennings - Jeff Vespa/Wireimage.comGarth Jennings, together with business partner Nick Goldsmith, is part of the successful creative double-act Hammer & Tongs. Beginning, as many feature filmmakers do these days, in the world of music videos, creating memorable short films for the likes of Blur and R.E.M., the pair burst into feature film with about as ambitious a project as one could imagine: Disney's 2005 big-screen version of Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Four years later and they present their follow-up, on a decidedly more pint-sized scale, Son of Rambow is a tribute to the sort of carefree youth film fans know only too well, as nippers Will and Carter take to the woods after a viewing of First Blood and decide to make their own sequel. A huge hit at Sundance, the film is out now in the UK and will find a release in the US on 2nd May and in Australia on 4th September. RT caught up with Jennings to find out more about the film, and how a certain other movie this year has had its own impact...

When we spoke to you about Hitchhikers three years ago, you were talking about this movie then...

Garth Jennings: Yeah, we were trying to get it made when we started Hitchhikers, and when you get offered a job like that you can't not do it. Getting a chance to do a big movie that you love so much is the chance of a lifetime so we put this on hold and came back to it.

Son of Rambow


What was it about this idea that so excited you?

GJ: When Nick and I were first discussing the idea, it was kind-of funny the idea of kids making their own action movie. We all used to do it as kids. But there's that thing, as well, of thinking back to that age when you have no fear and no concern for the consequences of your actions whether they're dangerous or stupid or cruel, you know. You just kind-of go for it.

"When you see First Blood way before you're supposed to be seeing it, you think this is the coolest thing you've ever seen."
There's a lovely, uplifting feeling about trying to capture that and that's what we were trying to do, really, with Son of Rambow. Before we'd really worked out the plot we had this mission to make the film that made us feel like we used to do. It was never going to be slavish to reality - it was always going to be a romantic view of that time. Stand By Me has a similar sort of thing where it's all heightened and they're dodging big trains and it's a little fantastical, but it's got such a lovely feeling about it and even though I didn't grow up in that period, that coming-of-age story is universal and timeless.

This particular coming-of-age story is also quite special for anyone who discovered film as a kid, because this is what we were doing.

GJ: Most of the fundamental influences come at that age. Whether they're positive influences or negative ones they come around those formative years and when you see First Blood way before you're supposed to be seeing it and you live on the edge of a forest you think this is the coolest thing you've ever seen. This man has a knife and a stick, he can sew up his own arm, he can do everything including take on 200 guys. I loved it.

Son of Rambow


I guess it's the idea of escaping to this magical world where these things are possible as well...

GJ: Yeah, and having friends that you can do that with. It's harder to keep that when you get older - things change, things become more serious, it's about looking cool and all that sort of stuff. There's this lovely window before all of that kicks in where you're really uninhibited and you really can do anything you like. It's sort-of lovely and you don't even realise it when you're going through it. It's only after that you remember and you go, "That was brilliant." We did whatever we wanted - eating as much ice cream as we wanted and making as many silly movies as we could.

You haven't even got to the point where people are saying, "You have to pass this exam and if you don't pass this exam you won't work and if you can't work you'll be miserable." You'd have said, "No, I'm going to make things like this for the rest of my life." What more does there need to be to life, apart from making trenches in the forest and living there for a few days?

Did you get the opportunity to regress while you were making the film?

GJ: Not really, the regressing bit happens while you're writing because you're trying to remember what you'd have done in the situations you're writing, but as soon as you start making it you're right into, "We're running out of time people! Let's get a move on!" There's no time to stop and soak up how it used to be!

Comments

Shatter24

Jeremiah Rancourt

I think this director's a bit brutal on Stallone's new Rambo film, being that he didn't even stay to finish the film. I thought the idea that he was out-thinking his opponents and being true to his age were appealing in this film, not pretending he was 30 again. It was certainly the best Rambo film, in my opinion, since the first movie, and the final five minutes tied in so well with the beginning of the series. I think this director has become a bit jaded, even as he's making a film in appreciation of Rambo, youth, and over-the-top action.

This sours me a bit on his movie, hopefully his current opinions don't show on screen.

Apr 7 - 07:44 AM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

Agreed^^^^^

I too love the New Rambo film. And first blood. But what i particularly like about the new one, is how diffrent it is from the rest. Parts 2 and 3, i also loved but 3 was following the pattern of 2 and added even more cheese. First blood was not cheesy, it was serious, as was the last one. In fact as much as i still cherish 2 n 3. Rambo 4, seems like the truer sequel to 1.

God, was that confusing? Oh well you get my drift. Anyways, despite what this director said about 4. I will still love to see this Son of Rambow. I get where hes coming from. And refferencing first blood, and stand by me in the first place has my full attension.
Maybe his sequel could be son of Rocky?

Apr 7 - 09:44 AM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

Agreed^^^^^

I too love the New Rambo film. And first blood. But what i particularly like about the new one, is how diffrent it is from the rest. Parts 2 and 3, i also loved but 3 was following the pattern of 2 and added even more cheese. First blood was not cheesy, it was serious, as was the last one. In fact as much as i still cherish 2 n 3. Rambo 4, seems like the truer sequel to 1.

God, was that confusing? Oh well you get my drift. Anyways, despite what this director said about 4. I will still love to see this Son of Rambow. I get where hes coming from. And refferencing first blood, and stand by me in the first place has my full attension.
Maybe his sequel could be son of Rocky?

Apr 7 - 09:55 AM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

Agreed^^^^^

I too love the New Rambo film. And first blood. But what i particularly like about the new one, is how diffrent it is from the rest. Parts 2 and 3, i also loved but 3 was following the pattern of 2 and added even more cheese. First blood was not cheesy, it was serious, as was the last one. In fact as much as i still cherish 2 n 3. Rambo 4, seems like the truer sequel to 1.

God, was that confusing? Oh well you get my drift. Anyways, despite what this director said about 4. I will still love to see this Son of Rambow. I get where hes coming from. And refferencing first blood, and stand by me in the first place has my full attension.
Maybe his sequel could be son of Rocky?

Apr 7 - 09:44 AM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

Agreed^^^^^

I too love the New Rambo film. And first blood. But what i particularly like about the new one, is how diffrent it is from the rest. Parts 2 and 3, i also loved but 3 was following the pattern of 2 and added even more cheese. First blood was not cheesy, it was serious, as was the last one. In fact as much as i still cherish 2 n 3. Rambo 4, seems like the truer sequel to 1.

God, was that confusing? Oh well you get my drift. Anyways, despite what this director said about 4. I will still love to see this Son of Rambow. I get where hes coming from. And refferencing first blood, and stand by me in the first place has my full attension.
Maybe his sequel could be son of Rocky?

Apr 7 - 09:55 AM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

What the hells wrong with RT these days? i wrote a diffrent message to the first, and it repeated the first message instead and lost the second. A few bugs need ironing out on the message boards IMO.

Apr 7 - 09:57 AM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

I saw this movie at Sundance last year (2007) and it was one of the best things I saw at the festival. Funny, touching, full of love and respect for the Rambo movies, youth, and the meeting of the two
:-) The kids were both well cast and did a great job. I was actually surprised it was made by the same director who did the execrable Hitchhiker's movie.

I'll definitely catch it again at the theater when it comes out.

Apr 7 - 09:58 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I HATED what they did with Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. HATED. I'm not going to see this movie out of the sheer spite I still have for that Awful adaptation. Uwe Boll could have done a . . . well, o.k. let's not go overboard. . . but after watching Hitchiker's guide I think I knew how those Video Game fans felt about their games being turned into Uwe Bolling for Dollars flicks.

Apr 7 - 11:23 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

Oh, and Garth Jennings looks like someone you can easily grow to hate almost instantly. Nice scarf/tie thing he's doing. Way to mix shock and anger in your facial expression for a photo shoot. . .

Ugh.

Apr 7 - 11:25 AM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Tom, go see this movie, I think you'll like it. It is NOTHING like Hitchhikers. I was pleasantly surprised.

As for his picture, cut him some slack. He is British, after all.

Apr 7 - 01:16 PM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Tom, go see this movie, I think you'll like it. It is NOTHING like Hitchhikers. I was pleasantly surprised.

As for his picture, cut him some slack. He is British, after all.

Apr 7 - 01:16 PM

pinkincide

jon doe

The new Rambo left out the part where he hunts and stealth kills all the bad guys. That was always the best part! It's not even a Rambo movie without that--don't care how many baddies get machine gunned.

Apr 10 - 01:12 AM

vaodsi

john irvine

dude...... don't dis the scarf....... the scarf is awesome! this movie reminds me of making movies in my back yard (WHICH I STILL DO WHEN I HAVE TIME... SO HARDLY EVER... BUT STILL) ;)

Apr 19 - 10:37 AM

SunKing

Mark Raymond

I saw this film on DVD recently and I thought it was excellent; a really charming, funny film. With regards to his scarf, he does seem to have a rather eccentric sense of fashion. Also, with reference to Rambo, surely the man is entitled to his opinion?

Sep 18 - 01:55 PM

darthvaderismydadgod

sam heaton

the sequel will be grand son of rambow

Sep 22 - 08:53 AM

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