Movie Interviews

Published on June 29th, 2017 | by gareth


Iqbal Ahmed And Director Joe McClean Interviews


Iqbal Ahmed’s The Answer may hint at an “insidious element brewing underneath the surface of humanity”, says the filmmaker.


What do you think makes a good science-fiction movie?

A good sci-fi movie needs to take you on a wild journey but it also needs to relate to TODAY.  The best sci-fi writers and filmmakers have always built unique worlds.  However, even though the worlds are different from our lives today, those worlds should be relatable enough to feel prescient. The best sci-fi movies make us look inside ourselves throughout the movie.  In many ways those worlds are created because of faults and humanity. And the films serve as warnings for where we might be headed if we can’t balance technology and our own human faults.


On another level I also think that sci-fi movies are fun. We see new worlds, we see new gadgets, and we frequently ponder the end of the world in far-fetched circumstances.  What’s not to love?


Can you talk about any films or filmmakers that influenced The Answer?

There are so many. My list of references could go on for days, but I think primarily directors like Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Tarkovsky and Kubrick all influenced me in different ways.  Alfred Hitchcock was probably my strongest influence though. He could always elevate a plot driven genre movie. Whether it was through dramatic performance or through well-designed visual language, he had a way of executing films incredibly.  He was always able to elevate a B-movie premise into an A-level film.


How did the script change over time? Was the earliest draft a lot different from the shooting script?


The script actually stayed consistent from the very beginning. I knew the kind of story I wanted to tell, so occasionally a location would change, but the overall structure remained.  Occasionally I would compress scenes for the sake of being able to shoot in fewer days, but the general story was always the same.


What is the message of the movie?

You know I never build a movie to send messages to an audience.  I definitely care about themes. I definitely care about a relatable journey. But I never purposefully build a moral or a hidden message into a film. I think audiences are too savvy for that.  But on a broad level I think a message can be that you never really know what you’re capable of doing. So at its most fundamental level I hope this movie can inspire others to go beyond their comfort zones.


Are we living in times where this could actually happen, in your opinion?

That’s a great question. For better or worse I think there’s always some insidious element brewing underneath the surface of humanity. We live in scary times politically, so there is always one faction plotting against another. Who would’ve thought that making a movie about an alien invasion would actually be light-hearted compared to the political issues we’re facing nowadays?

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5 Questions with Joe McClean -director of The Drama Club

Now on VOD from Leomark Studios, The Drama Club sees a former – you guessed it! – drama club come together after twenty years. Writer/director Joe McClean tells us which films influenced his yarn, including the tone, and speaks about the underlying message of the movie.


What do you think makes a good dramedy, Joe?

Life is the best dramedy. So I guess, for me, it would be realistic dramas that don’t ignore the fact that laughter doesn’t just go away when bad things happen. The Truman Show is hilarious, but it has incredibly dramatic story arcs and a powerful message. Is it a dramedy? Damn. I don’t know.

Can you talk about any films or filmmakers that influenced The Drama Club?

I think it’s pretty obvious that Kasdan’s The Big Chill was an influence.  There are others though. Even though they’re not similar in plot, and I certainly don’t compare my ability to these filmmakers, movies like The Breakfast Club, Planes Trains and Automobiles, and A Fish Called Wanda are all big influencers on me.

How did the script change over time? Was the earliest draft a lot different from the shooting script?

Two big things changed. First, I hated that the experiences I was drawing on to write the script were all so white. I wanted to stay true to what my experiences were, but I also wanted to shine light on the system that put me in that bubble. That’s how Hannah’s skin got darker and what inspired the conversation about race. Another thing that changed was the ending. There were 7 or 8 different drafts of what happened to Luke under the bridge at the end. The thing I kept bumping into (and I’m admitting a personal creative failure here) was how ridiculous it felt to me that 2 of the 8 characters moved toward such drastic actions within one 24-hour period of time.

What is the message of the movie?

Friendship. And also I think it’s a broken paradox. Some people say, “People never change.” Others say, “We grow from our experiences.” I think both are true.  We are constantly growing and changing, but we never change.

How personal a project was this?

Very. But every project is personal. This one has the added benefit of lining up with my own mid life crisis period, which is full of What-Ifs and Remember-Whens.





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