|Exclusive: Joe Cornish Webchat Transcript |
The Attack The Block director tackles your tricky questions
For a long time now, Joe Cornish has been best known for being one half of the amazing comedy double act that is Adam And Joe. Now it seems that Joe is making a break for it with his debut feature film, Attack The Block, and soon Joe will be best known for his inner city vs. outer space sci-fi thriller above all else. So we thought it was high time we asked him round for a webchat, and like the nice guy that he is, he said yes. How lovely. Here's the written up transcript of all the questions and all the answers, alongside some delightfully posed pictures of Joe and Helen. P.S. STEPHEN!
AllowIt says: Hi Joe, I loved Attack the Block, I was particularly impressed by how you managed to make it both very entertaining, yet also engage with some social commentary. Did you have an idea for a message as you were making it, or did that come naturally as the script progressed?
I would say the message is there for you to see if you want to. Otherwise you can enjoy it as just a crazy alien mash-up movie.
ameba2k says: Joe, was being your own writer/director on this film a huge change of pace from previous film work? How did you find the workload?
The workload was vast. I had no weekends off, I could only be at my brother's wedding for an hour. I had about 5 days off in 2 years. But it was worth it. It was a dream come true to get to make a film.
Maxim says: How long did it take the film go from idea to screen? How difficult was it?
I was lucky to have a relationship with Film4 that I built up over years of working at Channel 4 and also a relationship with Big Talk Productions. They did all the hard work of raising finance while I worked on the script. It's taken me 20 years to get to this point, so I guess it wasn't that easy.
Jaykayell says: Back when you were making toy movies on the Adam And Joe Show, was it a training exercise for doing it with real people and locations?
In retrospect I guess it was a bit. I did attempt to attach some of the costumes to my live actors with a hot glue gun, but they didn't like it.
mynameisad says: What happened to the tracksuit that Nick Frost wore? Can I buy it?
It's an incredible tracksuit. When Nick Frost's character sits on that sofa, it's hard to know where the tracksuit begins and the sofa ends. But no, you can't have it because Nick wears it under his clothes all the time.
Stephen! says: How much pressure did you have from the studio to alter anything the way that wanted or did you have a free rein? (Also can I tell my my made up joke?)
This wasn't a studio film, this is an independent British movie. Hundreds of people read, helped and consulted with the script. But they always supported me whilst challenging me when they thought it was right. Please send made-up jokes to Adam and Joe on 6Music where they will be analysed and collated by our Tim Vine robot.
TomRowe says: Dear Jozza, how did it feel making your directorial debut? Did you feel the pressure or just enjoy the responsibility? The cinematography is fantastic by the way.
I had a blast making my first film. It was a privilege to have that opportunity. I'm glad you like the cinematography: Thomas Townend is a first-time DOP and I think is a genius. He did an amazing job.
GemmyGummy says: STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPHEN!
Gojiratapir says: I thought the sequence with the smoke-filled corridor was superb - how tricky was it to film?
Very tricky - we had to do it very quickly. No one could see anything. We couldn't really see if the shots were in focus even. Everyone was suffering from smoke inhalation, but it was worth it.
AllowIt says: How long would you survive an attack by these aliens, and would Adam survive longer?
Adam could remove his clothes, get down on all fours and blend in. All I'm saying is he's hairy, mind. He's not going to find that insulting, is he? I on the other hand would pretend to be a lamppost.
triskaidekaphobia says: Was it a challenge to get the kid's dialogue spot on? I'm assuming you don't speak "street" yourself?
I did months and months of research talking to young people around South London, talking to them about the story and picking up the argot. Then once I'd written a few drafts we let our young cast get their teeth into it, and adjust it so they felt it was credible enough. But it is supposed to be a bit larger than life. After all, it's a sci-fi film.
dannydyer's chocolate homunculus says: I was lucky enough to get work experience on the Attack the Block set last year whilst shooting. Can you offer any advice on how to get more experience or even how to get a film made in the UK during this recession?
My answer to this question is there is no excuse not to just do it. You shouldn't wait for anybody else. The technology is there to make, edit and distribute your stuff. So just produce, produce, produce and wait for them to come to you.
Highlander2189 says: If you were to use any name of a character, from any film or TV series, as an alias, which name would you choose?
I would call myself Professor Caractacus Potts, cause then I'd blend in.
VeryNicePoison says: Hey Joe! What's going on with Ant Man? Will he get a cameo in The Avengers?
When it comes to Ant Man, I am only a humble writer, so I can't speak with any authority on that matter. But I can say that Edgar and I are very excited about our script. I've been working on Attack the Block non-stop for the last year and a half, so I'm not up to date on the latest Avengers developments, but I am pretty confident it will be amazing with or without Ant Man.
xrsd says: Is there any one line in the film that your most proud of?
No. I wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of any other lines. You know dialogue is very sensitive, and I love all my lines equally.
Dann says: What's the song that the guy who is after Moses always sings? That goes "brap brap brap" at end?
It's called 'Get That Snitch'. It's a very beautiful, sensitive and moving song. It's one of Harry Potter's favourite songs, and it's available for download on iTunes RIGHT NOW (I think).
ade777 says: When casting John Boyega what would you say he did to stand out from the rest of the auditionees?
The thing that made John Boyega stand out was his acting. He is a brilliant actor. I am pretty much 100% confident that John Boyega will go on to be a major star.
TintinFan says: Mr. Cornish, I'd like to say I'm a huge fan of you and your work, you're one of my idols as an aspiring filmmaker/screenwriter. I was wondering what you could tell us, if anything, about your experiences of writing Tintin for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and what impressions you had of the two.
Thanks mum. Working on Tintin was an amazing privilege. Spielberg and Jackson are lifelong heroes, so it was a dream come true to get to work with them. Other than that, I am sworn to secrecy. I am as excited to see it as you are.
Jimmywills says: I made a video for yours and Adam's song wars, it was the one with the donkey and the hats! Do you think I too could one day make a film like Attack the Block?
No. Seriously, give up. Spend your money on seeing my films. Not really: you can do anything you want if you just believe in yourself.
PhilDickinson85 says: What was the inspiration behind the aliens in Attack The Block?
The '80s creature features that I grew up with, the illustration of the monster on the side of the Space Invaders cabinet, which is such a great design. Also, the creatures in an old SNES game called Another World (although it originally came out on the Atari ST).
princesskellypompommcbelly says: I've been watching the monster films on Film4 to coincide with the release of ATB. What's your favourite monster film?
Very hard to choose one film. The Thing, it's hard to beat The Thing. What could possibly beat The Thing in a fight? I don't think anything could, because it would be so confused by The Thing's body-hopping, splatter-morph behaviour.
Podmax says: Now that you're getting more famous and sexy by the day, is there any future for the Adam and Joe show or is it winding down? Loveyoubye x
I'll try and keep it going for as long as we possibly can. We love our audience and we love doing the show, but I don't want to get the shingles again.
Rooby says: Hi Joe, is the movie likely to get picked up in the States? Do you think they could deal with the lingo?
The movie is being distributed in the States by Sony Screen Gems. They can totally deal with the lingo. Remember they loved Gregory's Girl, Trainspotting and Snatch. They can deal with Attack the Block. In fact, they dig it.
MacCready says: Have you received any formal training in filmmaking? Or have you gained all your skills just by observing your favourite movies?
I went to Bournemouth Film School for 3 years. The training wasn't particularly formal; we were allowed to wear whatever we wanted. But watching movies, loving movies, talking about movies is and was every bit as important to me.
TomRowe says: Jozz-stick, I noticed some lovely little nods to Edgar Wright's directing style, how much influence/help did he offer during production?
I did my best to try something completely different. I would be foolish to attempt to ape Edgar's style, as he is so unique and clever. But I'm flattered if you thought I matched him even momentarily.
jetpacmagazine says: My favourite scenes were in the first 10 minutes, setting up the block as a character in its own right - the cinematography was darkly delicious. Did shooting on location steer the look of the film, or did you have it all mapped out in your head?
We had it all mapped out. We planned and planned for months and months. It was important to me that the film was set entirely in the dark like many of my favourite films, Blade Runner, The Warriors, Alien. Setting things at night forces you to think about light, and we thought a lot about light.
Quentin_Cappucino says: Did you base the aliens in Attack The Block on Animal from The Muppets? Also, who is your favourite Muppet and WHY?
No I didn't. But the aliens in Attack the Block would be very flattered. Although they aren't so good at drums. My favourite muppet is... does Oscar the Grouch count? I was tempted to have him in the bin with Biggz in Attack the Block.
|Nick Frost in Attack The Block|
Stephen! says: On Front Row a stupid women was trying to insinuate the language was racist in someway (What did the American teen gangster wannabe say to the man with the hat fetish? "I am gonna pop a cap in yo' ass...") How do you respond to that?
I think Attack The Block confuses some older people. They get anxious and worried when they don't have to. It's a movie about aliens.
ameba2k says: Do you feel that your attitude towards film making and writing has changed over the years? Do you still have the same enthusiasm for creativity you had back in the day?
Having finally made a film, I will not be as casual or dismissive about movies as I once was. I have massive respect for anybody who completes a coherent feature-length film.
Rooby says: I know it's a long way off, but what treasures have you in mind for the DVD / Blu-Ray launch of ATB?
The ATB disc will have a really good 50-min making of and lots of other bits and bobs. Edgar and I recorded a commentary the other day. I'm a massive DVD and BR fanatic, I have thousands in my house. One day they will collapse and bury me and no one will be able to hear me scream. It's very important to me to make a cracking disc.
Quentin_Cappucino says: Favourite film of 2011 so far?
I've hardly been to the cinema this year except to do Q&As. So I'll have to pass on that.
AllowIt says: Were you disappointed that your theme tune wasn't used for the Quantum of Solace?
Yes. Honestly they were fools. Imagine how it would have improved the box office. I'm ready and waiting for the next one.
5Shilling says: I love the Steven Price and Basement Jaxx soundtrack. Was the dub step-inspired theme something they came to you with or did you have an idea for the kind of sound you wanted the film to have?
My pitch for the ATB music before any of those individuals had become involved was "John Carpenter and John Williams go round to Roots Manuva's flat in Kennington, get very high and compose a score". I think Steve, Felix and Simon did an incredible job. I'm proud to have their music on the film.
fightclubber says: Does Antman have a serious tone like Dark knight or is it more comic in style?
Can't say. Don't want to give anything away. I believe movies are better, the less you know going in.
TS Beth from Kev's hbo #26 says: Who are your favourite directors working today?
Again I wouldn't really want to pick favourites. I love movies, that's all there is to it basically.
Belmont101 says: Would you ever do a Spielberg and in twenty years re-release the film where all the knives and weapons are replaced with walkie-talkies?
Very good idea: we'd also take all the swearing out, and the smoking, and get Hugh Grant to re-dub all the actors.
theeverlasting says: Your new film keeps getting compared to the work of John Carpenter, are you proud of these comparisons? I would be!
Yeah, that's an incredible thing for anybody to say and I don't believe it for a moment. He's a genius and a legend and an icon.
Quentin_Cappucino says: I'm eating a sandwich. Joe, what's your favourite sandwich?
I like some paperclips, a bit of tyre and sand on granary.
Todge says: Joe, do you like the pasties that are named after you?
In truth I don't like Cornish pasties. I'm not a big fan of pies every since I saw Sweeney Todd on stage as a child.
wootwoot says: Greetings young Joe, Prue/Fruitylexia here - I think my question got lost, or can you not understand the Australian accent I'm typing with? Have you any inside knowledge about when Oz Squadron can expect to be able to watch this amazing film that all these other lucky buggers have seen but we haven't yet?
Hello Prue, nice to hear from you. Attack the Block has been picked up for distribution in Australia, not sure when it might come out though. Keep your eyes peeled and maybe you can tell me.
jetpacmagazine says: I love Biggz relationship with his mum in the film, acting all tough with his mates and then a soppy kid on the phone... grounds the characters and shows they're not all bad. But I also love how the characters don't suddenly become repentant.
One of my favourite films is called Lacombe Lucien, directed by Louis Malle. The lead character in that film, like the lead characters in many 70s and 80s films, has a moral ambiguity to him. I really appreciate that you picked up on that in ATB and enjoyed it.
Stephen! says: Would you rather fight one giant duck or 100 mini ducks?
The giant duck. I've seen Jurassic Park: The Lost World. It's clear that multiple enemies are more of a threat than one T-Rex. It's the numbers, it's the impossibility of keeping track of them all. The way they would swarm and quack. It would be confusing. One giant duck could easily be taken down with a kick in the balls. Ducks definitely do have balls.
Thank you very much for all your questions. It's been an honour and a pleasure. Ratings Empire, ratings Empire's readers. (That's street talk for respect).