New Voice Project’s Lorenzo Conti meets acclaimed film producer Andy Evans (‘Set Fire to the Stars’, with Elijah Wood, and ‘Keepers’ with Gerard Butler).
What makes your films unique?
We set up our company to tell stories from a different angle, not the obvious. Our first film was about Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet. He went to America in the 1950s, but rather than telling a story about Dylan Thomas, we tell the story played by Elijah Wood – Frodo from “Lord of the rings” – who brings Dylan to America and ruins his life. A lot of our films are inspired by some elements of truth. Dylan Thomas existed, we’ve just done a film about three lighthouse keepers, who disappeared in 1900. They’ve never been found, and none knows what happened. We tell the story that might have happened to these people.
What is the current state of the international film scene?
It’s very tough. At the moment, the world of film is split: you have huge blockbusters – Marvel, Wonder Woman – they spend hundreds of millions of pounds, and everything else is independent. We made our recent film with Gerard Butler. He normally does big Hollywood action films; the film we’ve just done with him cost 5 million pounds, whereas one of his action films would be for about 100milion pounds. We spend a lot of time working on the script, and Gerard Butler did our films because he loved it. We call the script “actor-bait”
Why do you like cinema more than theatre?
Theatre is great because it’s live, it happens there and then, but I prefer cinema because it can be more magical. You have the time to create an experience that is as good as it can be, and you can present it in so many ways. It’s so accessible and exciting, you can just turn on the phone and watch a film.
Are you a flexible or strict producer?
Producers have to be flexible, because once you’ve started making the film you have to complete it, you can’t say something or notice something that stops the film being made. You have to work to compromise. Producers – like every project manager – have to look at everything that’s going on, spot the problems and find a way to fix them. But a producer has to be strict with certain things: we can’t pay Gerard Butler 20milion if the budget is only 5milion.
Give me a quick anecdote on Gerard Butler?
Gerard Butler is Scottish – our film about lighthouse keepers is set in Scotland, and I think people will be surprised when they’ll see him acting in this role. He has done action films like “300” in the last 10 years, very high-profile, but this is a real emotional and incredible performance, and I think people will not believe it’s actually him.