In The Rise, Luke Treadaway, Matthew Lewis, Gerard Kearns and Irwan Rheon play a group of close friends who plot a heist that will set them up for a new and more comfortable life. We recently sat down with Treadaway, Kearns and Lewis – Rheon was delayed getting to the interview venue, so we spoke to him separately – about heist movies in, getting to know one another and the shenanigans that happened on-set.
As in the film, the trio get on spectacularly well, with a constant level of matey banter. It certainly made the interview fun, although it also made transcribing it quite hard work. We began by talking about their favourite heist movie.
Mathew Lewis: The Italian Job for me, I reckon.
Luke Treadaway: Does Shawshank count as a heist film? It’s an escape, isn’t it, not a heist.
Gerard Kearns: Yeah, but he does do the heist job on the prison officer, in that sense. It’s not classed as a heist film, but he does do it.
LT: I think that’s a bit loose. I think a heist film is like Ocean’s 11 or Ocean’s 12 and stuff like that.
ML: I’m going to go for The Italian Job, I’m going to go for that. The original.
LT: Yeah, I’ll go with that.
GK: We’re all saying The Italian Job.
Was there much conversation on set about heist films?
ML: It’s weird, because I don’t feel like it’s a heist film.
LT: That’s how it’s been sold.
ML: Someone was talking about it being a heist film, and people say “what is it?” what am I going to say? “it’s a heist film”, but it’s about the four lads, and that’s what all the conversations that I had were about. It was about the relationship between the four guys, which I feel is the most important thing in the whole picture, and the heist thing is just the backbone that carries it on.
LT: Gerard’s character got to do some of the most heist – you were there for all the fire stuff.
GK: I got set on fire.
LT: And all the tunnels and stuff like that. I didn’t do much heist-y stuff.
GK: You measured the vault. We had to do that, that was a bit heist-y. Irwan got to use a sniper rifle.
LT: The crossbow. And he had to pull himself through roofs and stuff.
GK: That was heist-y.
ML: He dropped through the skylight, didn’t he.
LT: I think the most heist-y thing I did was time you welding something to a thing with a stopwatch.
ML: I climbed a ladder. That was pretty cool.
LT: I threw a brick through a window.
ML: Well, you tried to throw a brick through a window.
LT: They managed to convince a local shop owner – it had a small crack, and he needed a new window – to let us throw a brick through his window one night for a scene. And it was the scene where Matt was up a ladder, fixing the security alarm.
ML: The guy neglected to tell anyone that it was security glass.
LT: So we were there, huge build-up obviously, a lot of rehearsals. “We’ve only got one shot at this guys” I’m like, “don’t mess it up, don’t mess it up,”. I’m there working on my arms beforehand so I can aim it really well. And then I went for it. Threw it, and it literally bounced off.
GK: So what did you do?
LT: Threw it another ten times.
ML: Stu [Stuart Bentley – the Director of Photography] made it work. Somehow. We did it about ten times, and the guy , after the first take was like, “I were gonna say it’s not gonna break”. Cheers pal.
LT: But that was funny.
GK: Is Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels a heist film?
GK: I loved Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I thought it was a great heist film… Is crime heist? What are the rules? We need boundaries
ML: You’ve got to rob something that’s difficult to rob, like steal a jewel or rob a bank.
LT: You’ve got to make a plan, you’ve got to have architectural plans of a building.
ML: You need blueprints, a montage, a getaway driver
GK: The usual suspects, is that [a heist]?
Did you know each other before starting work on the film?
LT: Us three didn’t, no. I knew Irwan a little bit from drama school, but not really, he wasn’t in my year, so I only knew him a little bit.
ML: Rowan was dead keen – obviously, the chemistry of the lads, they’ve known each other since they were kids, and I think that was the only conversation I had was about their relationship. We were so keen to get that right, and Rowan wanted to really hit that. We spent a lot of time together, Luke came up a couple of times to watch rugby in the pub with me and my mates.
LT: We went ice skating together – we didn’t. We played went and played golf one night, we played poker at your house one night. We were playing guitar one evening.
GK: We’re like a band.
LT: We were
GK: We are. The four of us. Matthew on drums, Irwan, lead guitarist…
ML: It’s definitely nicer doing a movie where you get on with people.
LT: Definitely, and we all seemed to get on pretty well.
GK: I really bloody enjoyed it, and I loved it when it was all four of us together.
LT: They’re the best scenes for me. Golf, smashing a golf ball against that guy’s building.
GK: We hit this guy’s window and he called the police. And then Matthew pulled out his driver, and I said, “see how far you can hit the ball” and he just whacked it, and it just went. And I asked him, “where do you think that went?” and he said, “I don’t know, but we’ll never speak of this again”. We were just waiting for something to happen.
LT: It was basically a scrap yard we were filming on, and we were just hitting balls toward this guy’s big, old workshop kind of thing, and it looked broken.
GK: They said, “hit it that way, don’t hit it over there”, and slowly we were like temptation, and camera angles…
LT: I couldn’t hit a thing when we went to play golf a few nights before, then that day my arm was in and I kept hitting them.
GK: You were in the zone.
ML: [I asked] “are you sure we’re allowed to hit it round here”, and they were like, “it’s fine”. Then we saw this guy going, “are you hitting golf balls at my fucking warehouse?”
LT: We were in the middle of nowhere. He could have called his mates out. I think the police came nearby, and the producer got rid of them.
So, chipping golfballs across scrapyards, and throwing bricks through actual windows. Sounds like you didn’t really have the trappings of these big sets.
GK: It was kind of the ‘grim up North’ scenario, but I don’t think it actually was that. Because the way Stuart and Rowan did the shots, it was very cinematic.
LT: Professionally done from their aspect.
ML: I liked it. I’d love an environment like that to work in all the time.
LT: I think that’s always the way, when you’re filming on location and it’s a low budget independent film, and there’s going to be a certain element of you’re there and you’re getting changed in the middle of nowhere. It was great though, I love making films like that.
ML: When it came down to it, we were up against it with time and stuff, everyone was like, “seriously guys, we need to get this”, and you knuckle down and the pissing about stops and you get on with it, but everyone was having a lot of fun.
LT: I think it is good in the films like that, because no one’s there for the massive pay cheques, no one’s there for the glamorous location shoots, although Leeds is quite glamorous, but there’s a really great feeling of everyone going there and working and trying to do their best, as Matt said. There was a guy with a crap supped-up car, who was showing off around the working men’s club.
ML: We’re a full on crew out on location, so this guy was trying to show off. He had a bird in the car as well.
LT: This local lad, showing off his car that wasn’t great, but was really loud, and he just kept burning round, which was really annoying because we were trying to do dialogue. He was probably showing off because the cameras were there, and he went down this street really fast, and tried to do a handbrake turn at the end, and went over the kerb and into a wall.
GK: was he all right?
LT: Yeah, he was fine. Just enough for it to be really funny, but you didn’t have to worry about him.
ML: Didn’t come back, did he?
LT: No. It was absolutely hilarious.
The Rise is out on DVD and Blu-ray today.