Mini-interview: 5 Qs with Steven Knight
British filmmaker Steven Knight is a published novelist (four books), a screenwriter ("Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things") and a game creator ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"). His directorial debut was Jason Statham's "Hummingbird" from his own screenplay.
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Now, Knight has directed a daring one-man movie, "Locke," starring Tom Hardy as man driving to his destiny. It opens this weekend. I asked Knight five questions:
Q. I can't say I've ever witnessed a heroic character like Tom Hardy's Ivan Locke in the movies before.
A. What I chose to do was tell the story of an ordinary man who goes through an ordinary tragedy. It's not going to make the papers. It won't make the local news. It's not a gunfight. Not a kidnapping. It's something I hope people can relate to in their own lives.
Q. Hardy's character is rigorously moral, but in a way and on a level that's inspiring, isn't it?
A. The idea was to point the camera at a different sort of hero. This man is not Jason Bourne. He is heroic for completely different reasons. He's flawed. He made a mistake. Now he's doing this to make amends. He takes responsibility for his actions and he decides to take charge of his own destiny.
Q. This movie takes a lot of risks, asking the public to spend time with a troubled man driving around in his car all night.
A. It takes six or seven minutes to become engaged with this character, Ivan Locke. One of the best things people tell me is that they forget they never see the other characters. A couple of people have insisted that they did see them.
Q. You clearly believe in the power of the spoken word to carry a story, even in the visual medium of film.
A. In a film like this, you're invited to use your imagination to fill in the bits that aren't there. It's a challenge. I had people after screenings tell me, "This is the journey my dad didn't make." Or "This is a journey I didn't make." People really do take highly personal things away from this movie.
Q. Dickon Hinchliffe's score is almost an unobtrusive silent partner on this project, isn't it?
A. You could have made this movie without music, because, in a sense, that would be part of the sparseness of it. But he (Hinchliffe) managed to introduce music in such a subtle way and you go with it in a way that doesn't affect the intimacy of it. It actually really enhances what we see. I think the music makes it a bit universal, which is great.
• The After Hours Film Society presents the comical profile "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 5, at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. General admission costs $9. Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com.
• Glen Ellyn native John Shepherd, now president of MPower Pictures in Santa Monica, California, is presenting his family-life documentary "Irreplaceable" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at the Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton. View the trailer at irreplaceablethemovie.com or go to studiomoviegrill.com.
• The Midwest Independent Film Festival presents the Chicago premiere of the South by Southwest hit "We Always Lie to Strangers" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at the Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St., Chicago. A filmmaker's panel starts at 6:30 p.m. Go to midwestfilm.com.
• Palatine's Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival presents Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 mystery classic "North by Northwest" (with Bernard Herrmann's great score!) at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 7, at the Star Cinema Grill, 53 S. Evergreen Ave., Arlington Heights. Tickets $5, plus a service fee. Go to bit.ly/1hJXMKs or to bwiff.com.
• What are the greatest movie chase scenes ever made? Dann & Raymond's Movie Club counts down the top 17 greatest action sequences in "The Great Chases!" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Arlington Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights. Free admission! Free popcorn! Go to ahml.info.
• The Chicago Critics Film Festival has moved from its original Rosemont location to Chicago's Music Box Theatre for its second annual event May 9-14. Go to bit.ly/1rMlxsZ for a rundown of movies and special events with festival guests such as genre movie icon actor Dick Miller.
• Dann Gire's Reel Life column runs Fridays in Time out!