BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Chip off the old Attack the Block

Very incisive interview with Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), click above, highlights include Joe Cornish, 1st time feature film director, divulging an interesting way to research a film:
I’ll tell you what I did for the dialogue in Attack the Block is I figured out the story in treatment form. Then I got an illustrator friend of mine to draw drawings of various plot points. Then I went around loads of youth clubs in South London, talked to big groups of kids. I talked them through the story. I showed them the images, and I said to them, “What would you do if this happened? OK, then this happens. What would you do? Then this happens.”

I recorded everything they said. We went to 20 or 30 of these groups with 10 to 15 kids in each, recorded everything they said. I went home. I treated it like foreign language course, like Linguaphone or something. I put headphones in, and I typed it all out. So I ended up with three massive files of debates and reactions.

Then my first draft I built out of it. So a lot of the lines in Attack the Block were actually said by real kids – “too much madness for one text” – those are real things real kids said in response to my narrative. Because I not very street; I’m a tiny bit less street than Prince Charles and I could not have…I had to be authentic, so I had to go to the source.

I like Joe's openness here, he doesn't know how people on the streets act so he goes full out to discover this. Seems like an awesome way to absorb a culture and discover character background and behaviour.

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