We got to interview writer / director, Tom Tyrwhitt about the movie which you can see below:
Tom Tyrwhitt: I didn’t really look at any London films when writing or directing Hush Your Mouth. I wanted it to have sections and sequences that were all about action and sound and colour – parts of the film that would be all about feeling. I watch directors like Alejandro Jodorowsky who made just a few great films in his life – El Topo for instance is brilliant, extravagant and indulgent but it is all about getting the audience to feel things by watching them – a piece of work that could only be a film – never a book or a play – I love films like that. It’s always good to refresh your eye and mind by watching films from other cultures that are not desperately trying to be American – Satyajit Ray from India for example – and his Apu Trilogy that gives a real sense of an urban non-Bollywood India and starts with a long sequence of the young hero just enjoying a rain storm and getting thoroughly wet – or more recently Korean films like Old Boy by Park Chan-Wook which really lay down the gauntlet to any film-maker working today.
You’ve got a diverse cast with some great young talent on show – what were you looking for from your actors?
For Hush Your Mouth the main attributes I wanted in the cast were:
- An understanding of when to speak and when to listen
State? State suggests something that is fixed, whereas British film and film anywhere, is always in flux. The Film Council going will make a difference – quite what we don’t know – maybe we should have more of a French system with a levy on box-office that rewards those that try and succeed. I don’t know, but I do know that there is more to be proud of here in the UK that we give credit for. If you get a room full of British film makers the overwhelming emotion and mind-set is defensive – far too scared of funding bodies, agents, stars and the successful, far too in the thrall of American ways of story-telling and therefore an American political paradigm.
I hope Hush Your Mouth won’t fit in – I hope, on the contrary, that it may stand-out.
It’s always hard to make films and it’s interesting that you frame the question in the passive “get a film made” – it is almost always the way we, in UK, speak about film-making. I think we are far too in awe of the US — don’t get me wrong I love Hollywood studio pictures and American Indy films but we always look in envy at America and that puts us on the back-foot. We always moan about how hard it is to make films here and importantly think that stories always have to follow an American idea of story-telling – they are so many other traditions worth looking at – Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian. No one told me or anyone else that I had to be a film maker. It is a privilege to lead a team of actors and crew to turn pages of text into living, breathing cinema and it should be hard.
Even if you have made ten or even twenty short films, a feature is a different animal – the audience’s expectations of the experience they will have is different and in many ways a higher and more exacting expectation.
I don’t know if Hush Your Mouth was the right film to make; it cost an awful lot financially, emotionally and physically, but you can’t stand next to your film, whenever it is screened and bitch and moan about how we didn’t have resources. You have to send it out in the world, alone, not dressed up and see of it survives – see if makes any friends.
What’s next for you?
My next project is one I’ve been working on for a while now but it is really starting to come together and should be shooting next year. It is about a would be girl DJ in late 70s England who bootlegs a rare record, makes a tonne of cash and then wracked with guilt takes the money to Memphis USA to find the songs singer and give him the money she feels she has stolen from him.
You Get To Me is inspired by my love of soul music – my first short film A Little Faith was about a young dancer (it is included in the DVD extras on HUSH YOUR MOUTH) – I really got into rare tunes and went to America to do research – Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Atlanta and spoke to lots of singers, players and producers – some of them famous like Al Green but a lot of them unknown. My story is set in late 70s and has at its centre a stolen song. I am working with Phantom Limb, Graham Kearns (George Michael’s guitarist), Foy Vance, as well as getting help from the likes of Ann Peebles and William Bell, to create a really exciting soul soundtrack.
Nick Hoult is attached to play the male lead Jimmy – and we are looking at real US singers such as Solomon Burke to play alongside our British cast.
Thanks to Tom for his time to answer our questions. Hush Your Mouth is now available on DVD.