Exclusive: Son Of Rambow's Mum Speaks

A chat with Jessica Stevenson

It’s all go for the alumni of Spaced in 2007. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright have been difficult to miss around these parts as they launch Hot Fuzz; Michael Smiley (you might know him better as ‘Tyres’) is up to his knees in spooky stuff with a role in Outpost, currently shooting in Glasgow. Jessica Stevenson meanwhile, has been keeping busy on the Mitchell & Webb movie Magicians, but also plays a key role in Garth Jennings’ forthcoming film Son Of Rambow. We were chatting to Jessica recently, and she told us all about it.

”It’s a great little film, Hammer & Tongs have been working on it for about six years,” she told us during a break on the Magicians set. “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy obviously came in the middle of that, and as a kind of result, that film was successful enough for them to get Son Of Rambow off the ground. It’s a pair of eleven year olds starring in this buddy film, as they try to make this film called Son Of Rambow, which is a kind of hybrid / off-shoot / ‘inspired-by’ remake of First Blood.”

With Stevenson clearly on an enthusiastic roll, Empire wasn’t about to interrupt. “One of the boys, Will, is Plymouth Brethren, who’s never watched television before, and isn’t allowed to watch television. But he sees a video of First Blood in the house of his new best friend, Lee Carter. Lee isn’t Plymouth Brethren, and lives with his brother but no parents, in a kind of domestic annex of an old people’s home while his real parents are off in… Spain or somewhere. So they’re kind of opposites, and become friends. Lee wants to make a film, and Will agrees to star in it and help him, so the film is about them making the film and becoming friends.”

But where does she fit into all of this? “I play Will’s mother, and there’s a little story going on there. The film’s partly about freedom – you know, kids on bikes and having total freedom to do whatever they want. And Will has to rob that freedom, because he comes from a very strict upbringing, and that’s the part of the story that I’m involved in – through Will, I make some quite big decisions, but it’s mainly led by my boy.”

When we bring up the subject of films about kids from this side of the pond, Jessica beams. “It’s so terrific having a really good British kids film. I’m a big fan of the ‘80s but the films from then that really stayed with me were American – I love The Goonies, and Bugsy Malone (although okay, that wasn’t American, but it projects an American sensibility) and Neverending Story, E.T. Its so great to be part of a kids film that I think is going to be really good – I can’t see how it couldn’t be – it’s been really well shot and well written, that feels like home. So I was thrilled to be part of that - it feels very exciting.”

There will be more on Son Of Rambow in the forthcoming issue of Empire.