Set to premiere at the London Film Festival on October 17th, writer/director Rebecca Johnson’s Brixton-set drama stars the likes of Jessica Sula, Lucien Laviscount , Ntonga Mwanza and Naomi Ryan. ‘Honeytrap’ is a tragic teen romance, inspired by true events. It tells the story of fifteen-year-old Layla, who sets up the boy in love with her to be killed. Anchor Bay are releasing ‘Honeytrap’ in cinemas early 2015, yet there’s still a few tickets available for a public screening at the London Film Festival on October 18th.
Can you tell us about this complex young girl, Layla? What appealed to you about the role?
Jessica Sula: Layla is a young Trinidadian girl, fifteen years old and she’s been living with her grandmother. She was abandoned by her mum when she was young, who came to London to make a new life for herself. She is an introvert, she hasn’t had many friends and she’s extremely influenced by pop culture, by the sheer perfection of people in magazines. Beyoncé is her queen and she wants to aspire to be everything that she is.
I semi grew up in Trinidad when I was very young. My mum is a Trinidadian lady, and I love the fact that Rebecca was actually exploring a story about a young girl in gang culture but not necessarily about gang culture. I think that’s something that hasn’t been explored a lot. The fact it was such a passionate script from a female writer-director and it was from a different vantage point.
Some people will look at Layla with premeditated ideas of what she’d be like. How did you approach the character?
Jessica Sula: I think when you come across certain projects the reason things click and you want to do it is because you recognise something in the piece and it’s not explainable. I understood where Layla was coming from and who she was. But every project is trial and error. You try it one way and maybe certain parts don’t work and you try something else until you find something that feels right, and that the director feels is right. ‘Honeytrap’ really put me out there. I was really vulnerable going, ‘hey, this is me, I’m going to explore this person in front of everyone, I’m not going to hold back, I’m not going to be afraid of going to some really difficult places’.
Making its World Premiere tomorrow (October 14th) at the BFI London Film Festival, ‘Testament of Youth’ is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance. The film is based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, a story that has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times. ‘Testament of Youth’ is led by Alicia Vinkander as Vera Brittain, and the stellar cast also includes the likes of Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Joanna Scanlan, Hayley Atwell, Jonathan Bailey, Alexandra Roach, and Anna Chancellor.
Set for January 16th, 2015, ‘Testament Of Youth’ is directed by James Kent (The Thirteenth Tale, The White Queen) and produced by David Heyman (Gravity, the Harry Potter movies) and Rosie Alison (Paddington, The Thirteenth Tale) for Heyday Films. Award-winning writer Juliette Towhidi adapted the screenplay. Tickets are still available for public screenings on the 14th and 16th of October at the London Film Festival.
First of all, how did you come to be cast as Vera Brittain?
Alicia Vikander: I attended the premiere of ‘Anna Karenina’ two years ago and my agent, a friend and I were all talking about what scripts we had read recently when he told me about a book called ‘Testament Of Youth’ being made into a film. He said it was one of the most amazing roles for a young woman out there. Initially the timing was wrong on both sides but when I heard last autumn that it was all systems go to get made, I immediately got a hold of a copy and read it.
I was already in love with the script and had read the book and so did all I could to be a part of it. When I met Rosie Alison and James Kent and the other creative people involved that’s the point when I knew how much I wanted to play this part. I need to meet the people that want to create the project and feel the whole aura and energy around it. Rosie and James were so passionate and wonderful that I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
After completing the critically acclaimed and multi-award winning Channel 4 series ‘Top Boy’, director Yann Demange was ready to embark on his debut feature film. Despite developing and reading numerous scripts he had not found his next project. One screenplay he did not anticipate connecting with was a thriller set in Northern Ireland during the early years of the Troubles. However, after reading the script, he was gripped by the story of ’71, it struck a chord and the main character resonated with Demange.
Just as Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) personified the quintessential romantic match, Amy’s disappearance has all the markings of an emblematic domestic American crime. But her vanishing becomes a kind of hall of mirrors in which tantalizing and savage secrets lead to tantalizing and savage secrets. The events that unfold are thick with shocks and complications, but the questions that remain are what cut, with razor-sharp precision, to the bone.
Co-starring the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Carrie Coon, ‘Gone Girl’ is directed by David Fincher and opens on October 3rd. The film is an adaptation of the 2012 novel of same name by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the adapted screenplay.
Rosamund, I can imagine the role of Amy was incredibly unique for to play, in that she’s a character with unending layers. Was that the challenge and the allure of the role?
Rosamund Pike: For sure. I was quite intrigued by this idea of marriage as con game – the idea that we’re all selling a version of ourselves. And Amy is such a remarkable creation. It fascinated me that she is always performing, perhaps in part because it points back to the life of an actor. The challenge of being Amy is that nothing that happens with her is quite what it seems on the surface. In playing Amy, I get to explore so many different aspects of the feminine brain. There are scenes where Amy is playing two different things to two different people in the same room – and the audience has to see both.
As a huge fan of both Jimi Hendrix and André Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) I’ve been closely following this film for a while now. From writer-director John Ridley (Oscar-winning ’12 Years a Slave’ screenwriter), ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’ charts just over a year in a man’s life. The year James Marshall Hendrix blossomed and became Jimi Hendrix. The year he spent as a young musician trying to make it on the streets and in the clubs of London with the lovers, friends, and musical collaborators who were a part of his legendary life and inspired him. Starring André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix, ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’ features a stellar supporting cast in Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Burn Gorman and Ruth Negga. The film opens in the US on September 26th and in the UK from October 24th.
As an artist yourself, someone who people would consider a trailblazer and ahead of the curve, what is about Jimi Hendrix’s artistry that has appealed to you?
André Benjamin: Hendrix to me is the greatest performer that ever lived, not just in rock, but period. He’s the greatest performer and artist that walked the planet. Since he stepped on the planet, until now, there’s no one who has trumped what he has done. He threw his whole self into what he was doing. People don’t just come out of the sky and be Hendrix. Hendrix would sit on the side of the stage and watch other people do things. All the tricks Hendrix did – the teeth, the guitar – other guitarists had done that before him. Chuck Berry and all those guys. He was a kid when he was doing it, but he knew how to soak up everything and make it his own.
Nobody on this planet is an island. Everyone is influenced by somebody but Hendrix put it all together: musicianship, passion, style, sexuality. The women loved him. It was everything. As an artist, that’s what you dream of. You dream of being a great writer, you dream of being a great musician, you dream of attracting the people you want to attract. That’s what you dream of. And he was that.
Based on Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels, ‘A Walk among the Tombstones’ stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex-N.Y.P.D. cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime…nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again. Written and directed by Scott Frank, ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ hits cinemas on September 18th. Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour, Mark Consuelos and Astro co-star.
I really enjoyed how ‘A Walk among the Tombstone’ explores Matt Scudder’s broken past and current recovery as a gateway for some thoughtful thematic material….
Liam Neeson: I loved that. That was something that really attracted me to this film and this story. It was great to get the chance to do this, which was very much one of those sorts of characters that’s not good in the relationship role and tortured. In Matt Scudder’s case, of course, he’s a recovering alcoholic. Those guys wake up in the morning, and they have to think of a reason to get up, and then, once they’re up, to not have a drink. It’s like all these little heroic battles they have that they fight with and against every day of their lives. Scott brought that out very beautifully in the film. Scudder is not larger than life. He’s just one of us really. But his career was in the police force. These guys see a side of humanity that we just don’t want to know about on a daily basis, and his training and his ethics kick in in the movie. He’s like someone doing a crossword, and there’s some clues that keep niggling at him. He’s just determined to finish it, you know? To get behind it. And he’s intrigued, like these really good detectives and cops are – they’re very very intrigued with joining up the dots.