Julian Gilby chatting to writer/director Eran Creevy and DoP Ed Wild instead of a formal interview with clips and explanations turned out to be a down to earth, fun and informal chat about the work the guys have done together and how projects like ‘Shifty’ and ‘Welcome to the Punch’ plus Eran’s new film ‘Autobahn’ came about, the scripting and making of them and the things they could impart that would help us with our careers.
Eran had initially gone and handed his CV around to production houses in Soho until he eventually got a job that led him to his current career. Shooting commercials he met Ed Wild and they got along well working together. Eran eventually wanting to make his own project and knowing that nobody was just going to hand him one, decided to write and direct his own. Having grown up in an Essex town he wrote about the world he knew, that he had grown up in and those people he understood. ‘Shifty’ was a success, won among other things a BAFTA and so he had a basis to springboard another project off the back of that success.
Shooting a Nike commercial in France, Evan and Ed were talking about the work they were doing there and wondering why British drama was so gritty compared to the polished style of places like Hong Kong and director, John Woo. They decided they wanted to make a slick Hong Kong style film set in Britain. ‘Welcome to the Punch’ was written and the title came from a pub called The Suffolk Punch that Eran liked the name of. With his agent whipping up a buzz based on the success of ‘Shifty’ finance came from an American company and the film was green lit, but they still struggled with just one feature on the resume to get the right cast on board. His agent and producers did some hard work and got the script to Ridley Scott who liked it and came aboard as Executive Producer, helping to get a great calibre of cast led by James McAvoy and Mark Strong. Eran had some advice to give about not sending out a screenplay until you’re happy with the draft because the first one you send out, no matter how many rewrites and revisions you do is the one people consider they’ve seen and they’ll often not look again if they didn’t like it. He also approaches his finished films with a pragmatic appraisal to see where he can do better in future. ‘Welcome to the Punch’ he says he is 60% happy with and that’s because he feels he held on too tight to the project. The 40% he wasn’t happy with, rather than being a disappointment is more of a lesson learned for future work.
Ed Wild, talking about preparing and shooting ‘Punch’ says that when you read a script as a cinematographer it’s the feel of it you’re looking to create. Going out around London to shoot tests in various formats, they chose to go with digital to give the film a hard vocabulary that would show off contemporary London. Ed didn’t want the look of the film to pigeonhole it alongside similar looking films thus forcing it to be judged as similar in quality and content. Wanting to take a fresh look at London they chose to shoot without showing the familiar buses, taxis and signs which were either shot around or removed digitally from the frame. Eran believes in going with the characters and letting that dictate your action within a story. Having an Exec Producer like Ridley aboard meant they got very helpful notes and shortened the script avoiding some overwrite because Eran felt during the writing process he hadn’t managed to really nail McAvoy’s character. Making a cops and robbers film you can be cleaner with exactly who your characters are, he suggests and in production too, there needs to be character balance. Mark Strong was a little too strong overall in the end “He was like Darth Vader, man!” jokes Eran, and so they cut some of his scenes to restore some equilibrium to the film. ‘
Welcome to the Punch’ was well liked especially for it’s look and Eran’s next project Autobahn was then green lit with Zac Effron in the lead but when he needed to withdraw from the project Eran took the time to improve the screenplay by bringing in a new writer to go over it while he focused on directing and finding a new lead. The project is currently set to begin shooting next March with Nicholas Hoult and Amber Heard now set to star. It’s an ambitious film and sounds like being exciting both storywise and to make. Eran though, now wants to write a follow up film set in the ‘Shifty’ universe in that closer to home genre and is currently working on writing that.
Leilani Holmes at the London Screenwriters’ Festival
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