Magazine article Screen International

NFTS Masterclass: Locke

Magazine article Screen International

NFTS Masterclass: Locke

Article excerpt

Writer-director Steven Knight and producers Paul Webster and Guy Heeley spoke to students from the UK's National Film and Television School.

NFTS students were given a preview screening of the Tom Hardy thriller Locke followed by a Masterclass with three of the British filmmakers behind the feature: writer-director Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, Redemption) and producers Paul Webster and Guy Heeley.

Locke, which won the 2013 British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Screenplay and has received critical acclaim following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

The film breaks convention by featuring only one character, Ivan Locke (Hardy), stuck behind the wheel of a constantly moving car during a 90-minute race against time in which his life unravels. Told in real time, Locke talks to other characters over the phone as he drives up the motorway in a dash to be present for the birth of his illegitimate child.

Speaking to NFTS head of producing Chris Auty, Knight told students: "I wanted the film to be a play - but shot in a car - and to be an ordinary tragedy that could happen to anyone...to the most ordinary man in Britain."

He chose set the story in a car because, "now we are all accessible constantly through mobile phones and other devices; there's too much communication but also not enough.

"When you're in your car you feel alone. You do things in public you wouldn't normally do because the people you pass, you'll never see them again. When you're driving, it's a journey and the car is a place where you reflect on and review your life... it's a very interesting space.

"The car itself becomes a metaphor for many things in life; the rear mirror - that's the past."

Explaining the story of how the film got made, producer Paul Webster (Atonement, Eastern Promises, Anna Karenina) said it started with just the concept of 'a man alone in a car' written by Steven Knight on a piece of paper. From that the finance was raised, the film was shot in two weeks, completed in just a few months and was made on a small budget.

"The film was most exciting in its genesis," he said. "We simply had a one-page idea...People bought the film on the basis of what was on that piece of paper before Steven had even written the script and despite the fact that it was about one man in a car. …

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