Senna walked away with two awards this evening which we are very, very pleased about! MASSIVE congrats!
At this stage now, walking up the carpet for BAFTA,did it ever occur to yo, when you began making a movie about a racing driver barely known to non- Formula One fans, that this would be the result?
‘No, not at all. While you’re making the film you’re just trying to get through the process. You’re not really thinking about this side of it,. What happened quite early on, because the nature of the film – made entirely out of archive – it’s not like you have a development process with the script. You had the material, we’d edit it and we’d show it to people. Once we’d got people into the room and showed it to them, they liked it. So we knew very early on there was something there, but it took two,three years of editing to get it right. But right from the beginning people would come back again and against and again to watch the film as it was changing, and they’d bring their friends. Most of them were not into Formula One. Quite young people in the office, whose Dads tried to get them to watch a race, and they’d never seen a race in their life, but they’d come back again and again because there’s something about Senna and his charisma that pulled them in, and people would laugh and they would cry.’
The film is up for best editing as well…
‘Yeah, which is amazing. It’s really great For them to be recognised with Hugo and those huge movies, and to be the only doc, to break out of the documentary category is great.’
Were you disappointed to miss out on an Oscar nomination?
‘At the time it was disappointing, because we were considered by people to be one of the favourites for the longlist at least. We didn’t make the top 15, which is a bit of a surprise, but that’s part of the process of making movies, you shouldn’t take it as if it’s going to happen. If it happens, enjoy it, if it doesn’t, don’t take it too seriously. That’s what we have to do really.
How difficult was it to create a coherent narrative from archive material?
‘That was a gamble, that was a big gamble. Everyone kept saying to us ‘When We Were Kings’ has interviews, ‘Touching The Void’ has interviews, ‘Man on Wire’ has interviews – go and interview someone, but I think it’s all here. We did need to do interviews for research, but my instinct was – play it like a drama, even though it’s a doc, play it like a drama and just let the images tell the story. That was hard; it took a couple of years to get everyone to believe it, but bit by bit people thought this was the only way to make the film. The problem is when you’ve got a hole in your story. Normally you just go and interview someone and you plug the hole, but we had to go looking all over the world for the particular scene that would go perfectly between that scene and that scene to tell the story. I never like doing it the easy way. I don’t want to make it complicated, but if it’s worth the journey of trying and experimenting, as well as trying to communicate a particular story, when it comes off it makes you particularly happy.’