Adapted from the graphic novels written by Paul Tanter (who makes his directorial debut here) it’s a visually ambitious film with a narrative scope which clearly extends beyond its modest budget.
Before the screening, we had the opportunity to chat to some of the figures from behind and in front of the camera (and in some cases, both).
Co- star Alan Ford (aka Bricktop in Snatch) on why the Brit’s love the gangster genre:
It’s nothing new. People have always liked the villains from that type of world, going right back to Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist.
Does he ever tire of being offered roles as the bad guy?
I never think that. Work is work and I’m always happy to do it. It’s better to be typecast than not cast.
Co-star Dexter Fletcher (no stranger to the genre) on why these types of film are popular with audiences:
People always like films about good vs. evil. The idea of good triumphing over evil is something that people like to see as we all want to believe the world is that kind of place.
On whether we can expect a cameo of some kind in X-Men: First Class, given his appearances in Matthew Vaughan’s previous features?
There was talk of it, but in all honesty, I’m not in it. I’ve directed my own film and unfortunately, that was very labour intensive, so that meant I couldn’t play the part of a CIA man he wanted me to do.
On his directorial debut:
It’s called Wild Bill and it’s my take on a western, but I’ve set it in the East End of London. It’s about a man who is released from prison and comes home to find his two kids living alone in a council flat. The backdrop is the Olympic stadiums being built and ultimately what the character has to do is save his kids from the local drug dealers, but in doing that, we gets himself into serious trouble. We’ve got Andy Serkis, Eddie Marsan, Olivia Williams, Will Poulter (Son of Rambo, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Jason Flemyng in it.
Jack Falls was a great experience. The best thing about it for me was getting to work with so many legendary British actors. Alan Ford, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher. We have Hellraiser’s Doug Bradley in there and Zach Galligan from Gremlins, who I worked with on my debut feature, has a little cameo. We’ve been incredibly lucky because the actors we’ve worked with have been really nice and accommodating, and they’re guys who take the work and their characters seriously and are very open to chat and discuss ideas.
His upcoming projects:
He have (comedy ensemble) How to Stop Being a Loser, which features Richard E. Grant and Gemma Atkinson, in post-production and we’ve also just wrapped Airborne with Mark Hamill. Next on the cards is a film called UFO.
We asked writer of the trilogy and co-director, Paul Tanter, about the ideas behind giving the film its unique look:
With the first two films in the series, we did kind of go film noir with them, but we didn’t push it to as far as we could and they ended up being shot quite traditionally. They were very much normal, linear films, shot in colour and we would go for black and white with some of the flashbacks.
With this one we knew from the start that we wanted to do something a little different because we purposely wanted to push ourselves a little bit and get bigger and better. We said from the start let’s go back to the graphic novel for and try and adapt that look on the screen. With this one, we’ve gone for the high contrast black and white, with splashes of vivid colours which really stand out.
I think doing that, we’ve tried something which hasn’t been seen in another British film as yet, and I hope we’ve pushed things forward a little, particularly in terms of it being so low-budget too. We are an independent film – we’re not studio-backed. We’ve had to be as resourceful as possible with Jack Falls.
Producing and acting in a project is easy and difficult at the same time. You get the films made how you want them to be and you have the opportunity to get involved in films you want to be part of. Being the actor, you get a good sense of wanting to tell the story, and then you’re wearing the producer’s hat you’re saying how can we do that? It’s the best of both worlds as you’re both doing what you love and you are the makers of your own work.
On working in a creative collective:
We do cross share a lot of stuff. We’ve got lots of people in common whom we work with. It’s a big collaboration because you can’t actually ignore how small the industry is and you’ve got to be able to lean on it to help each other.
It’s interesting to note that the filmmakers here are doing things on their own terms, having been able to carve out their own brand of low-budget projects, designed to appeal to a wide audience, and made up of an eclectic list of familiar and cult faces (the first film, Jack Says, featured the late Mike Reid and Eric Cantona amongst it’s cast!). It’s an interesting and appealing business model that any future UK directors and producers who are toying with setting up their first projects could learn a great deal from.