6. Filmmakers' Notes
- Will Gould
8. Suggested Publicity
9. Principle Cast and Crew Question and Answers
- James Layton
- Lee Williams
- Will Gould
A CHARLES LAMBERT PRODUCTION
RUNNING TIME: APPROX 80 MINUTES
COMPLETION DATE: SPRING 2000
UK CONTACT: Tel +44 (0) 7711 420 561 Fax +44 (0) 207 266 0207
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A CHARLES LAMBERT PRODUCTION
AND NARRATED BY BOY GEORGE
HAIR AND MAKE UP DESIGNER
MUSIC COMPOSED AND CONDUCTED BY
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
SCREENPLAY ADAPTED BY
AND MATTHEW READ
BASED ON A PLAY BY
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ONCE UPON A TIME, not so very long ago, in a little village
called Kromer lived Seth and Gabriel, two beautiful young wolves. Their
appearance is essentially human, except for pointed ears, coats of fur and
fine bushy tails. Seth is a newcomer and Gabriel, a more experienced and
cocksure wolf, is taking him under his paw - there is a spark between them.
Nearby in Broome Hall, Fanny, a wicked old maid, and her goofy
accomplice Doreen are plotting to murder their mistress, Mrs Drax. In the
dead of night, they administer the fatal dose, wheel their dying mistress
into the woods and frame the wolves for the crime.
Stirred up by the local priest, Mrs Drax's son leads a
torch-bearing mob in pursuit of the wolves...
Who will live happily ever after: Maids or Wolves?
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Most British films never see the light of day, let alone low
budget features - the odds are stacked against you.
The Wolves of Kromer was shot in four weeks for £37,000.
Amazingly, Discodog Productions have secured cinema release for The Wolves in
eight countries, including the UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Canada, Holland,
Belgium and Luxembourg.
Screened at select film festivals last year, it was picked up
by distributors and premiers in the USA and Canada in Novembe r 2000 and in
the UK in 2002.
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For further information, interview requests and videos, please
Katie Collins +44 207 494 6012 or Fergus Gilroy +44 207 266 0207
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The Wolves of Kromer is where Agatha Christie meets the
Brothers Grimm. It is both black comedy and love story and it is from these
surprising juxtapositions that the film derives its vitality and unique
The dual narrative switches between the maids as they plot to
kill their mistress, Mrs Drax, and the developing relationship between the
two young wolves. The maids' initial bungling of the murder brings a more
conventional set of characters onto the scene in the shape of Mrs Drax's son
and his family.
The exciting diversity of the characters and the lively
narrative are matched by the rich look and texture of the film. Here again
contrasts are to the fore. The young stars appear urbane, clubby and
glamorous, talking a contemporary patois, living contemporary issues, but the
world they inhabit is far from the metropolis. It is in fact a timeless world
of hills and valleys, waterfalls and lakes; moonlit love scenes beside rivers
and amidst woodlands. This idyllic landscape may also be seen in stark
contrast to the witchy, drab and dungeonous atmosphere conjured for the maids
through skilful set design and cinematography.
Discodog Productions is a young European company dedicated to
cutting-edge and dynamic script-driven film and television projects. Discodog
Productions stands for originality and creative imagination, with a keen
The team has been brought together by Charles Lambert, graduate
of the screen-writing MA at East Anglia University. For The Wolves of Kromer
Discodog has brought in twenty-two year old director Will Gould, University
of East Anglia film graduate, and National Film School cinematographer and
editor, Laura Remacha and Carol Salter. The score has been composed by Basil
Moore-Asfouri, student of Conservatorio di Bologna under Ennio Morricone.
The experienced British cast, including Angharad Rees (of the
hugely successful BBC series Poldark), Rita Davies (Monty Python's Holy
Grail) and Margaret Towner (Star Wars Prequel), are joined by two models, Lee
Williams and James Layton, who give powerful performances in their debut
roles. There is a cameo by former Cabinet Minister, John Biffen, and narration
by Boy George.
The eighty minute feature film was shot in four weeks. It has
been sold to eight countries for cinema release and premiers nationwide in
the USA in November 2000 and in the UK in January 2001.
CHARLES LAMBERT writer/producer
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The Wolves of Kromer is a very personal project. I was studying
for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. It was the
final day of the Spring Term. In the morning I received a call from a
director commissioning my first play for the Studio Theatre in Norwich. In
the afternoon I received a call from my mother from a hospital in London
where she had just been diagnosed as having cancer of the pancreas with three
months to live.
The following weeks were spent writing in her room in the
Marsden Hospital and then finally at our house in Shropshire. I never
finished the play in time for it to be performed in Norwich.
After my mother died I realised I would probably have to sell
the family house. I was determined to write and make a film that would
capture its memory and dedicate that film to my parents. That winter I
discussed it with Will Gould, who agreed that locations in Shropshire would
work well. Ultimately, most of the film was shot inside the house and on the
land around it. My mother died in Mrs.Drax's bedroom.
I am now coming to the end of a PhD in Scriptwriting at UEA.
The practical experience of making the film as part of my studies has served
to ground the critical and theoretical sections. From a personal point of
view it has been an industry driven out of grief. Now it's time to move on,
it's very comforting that the film exists as a link with the past.
It was January '97 and Will Gould was directing a short in
Spain. Torrential rain, the worst they had experienced for forty years, was
hampering the shoot. I remember one evening sitting with Will and Matthew
Read (Wolves co-adapter) in the kitchen of a small farm house, huddled around
a dying fire. Cold, damp and with no electricity. We were bicker ing about
whose turn it was to go outside and cut some more wood. So the conversation
comes round to what the next project might be… It was a bizarre moment. We
all turned to each other and the same thought was on all of our minds. It had
to be The Wolves.
The film has been written, directed, shot, edited and produced
by graduates from UEA and the National Film School, both renowned as
Britain's premier breeding ground for young talent.
I had seen a series of Will's shorts and was very impressed. I
was bowled over by his vision and innovation. The rushes from his Spanish
film were stunning, despite the el nino conditions. His ability to make a
story work under the most challenging circumstances, combined with his innate
talent, made him an obvious choice.
Rumours had been circulating about this incredibly gifted New
Zealand cinematographer in her final year at the Film School. A slight
maverick, Laura Remacha is always up for trying something in a novel manner,
something new. At every stage of production, from script development to the
final editing, we were trying to create something completely different and
fresh. Laura fitted the bill perfectly. She has done an outstanding job with
We showed an editing agency the rushes. To our delight every
editor who saw it was captivated and excited to do the job. I was determined
to find someone with experience, who was sensitive and who understood the
different levels of the story. Carol Salter was the clear choice.
As with any independent production you go through difficult
moments. However, there were a bewildering range of people from all walks of
life who were prepared to offer their services on a deferment basis. The
universal appeal of young love battling against the hypocrisy of an older
generation, echoing the timeless story of Romeo and Juliet struck a chord.
The star of the hugely successful BB C series Poldark, Angharad Rees, was so
attracted to the script that we secured her in a leading role. The former Conservative
member of parliament, Lord Biffen, offered to play himself. His wife in the
film is played by the well-known theatre actress, the Honourable Venetia
Laing. We have also received incredible support from the local community in
Shropshire where it was filmed. The pop icon Boy George is the narrator.
For most of us this has been our first feature, though none of
us were alien to the film making process. It was exciting to see the
directions people are already moving off in. At the time of writing our two
lead wolves James Layton and Lee Williams, on the strength of taking round a
tape of their wolf rushes, have been picked up by two of London's most
I am very grateful to all those established in the business who
have taken an enormous amount of time and trouble to help realise our vision.
I think that when they see the finished product they will feel pleased with
WILL GOULD director
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Essentially, it's a love story. Like Titanic. Except with
wolves. And no boat. And that's what attracted me to Charles' script: a story
that played out the simplest of emotions - love - in a fresh, original way.
I've made a number of shorts before, but as a feature this was the ideal
project to jump in at the deep end…or was I pushed?
Like all low-budget features, there was an element of the
'to-hell-and-back' and 'I'm-never-ever-ever-doing-this-again-ever' feeling
during shooting, but a great cast and crew (all, graciously, on deferred
payment) really pulled through for me. Occasionally I even smile when I
remember those four weeks in the valley. Only very occasionally.
Off-beat scripts are also harder to command because nobody really
has an idea of what the outcome will be. With a strict genre piece people
have expectations, and, as a director, there are rules and guidelines you
either follow or consciously deviate from. The Wolves, thankfully, seems to
have found its own little world, and peculiar though it is, I think we all
relate to it in one way or another. The old order vs. the new order, the
hypocrisy of the respectable, and, most prominently, the boy-meets-boy l ove
story. It's an old story, but it's a good one.
SUGGESTED PUBLICITY ANGLES
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BUDGET FEATURE OVERCOMES THE ODDS
Against all odds micro budget student feature gets worldwide
First-time producer Charles Lambert chooses twenty one year old director, Will
Gould on strength of his student short films.
Casting in London with no money problematic - agents take it seriously until
they ask to see Lambert's track record and budget, then the calls are no
One agency, however, comes through with incredible wicked old maids and model
agencies supply the two leads
Shot on location at produc er's home village in stunning English/Welsh
countryside, the thirty five strong crew and twelve principle actors lived,
worked and slept on top of each other for four weeks.
Exploding generators, national service companies pulling key locations
because convinced 'The Wolves' was hard core porn, broken down vehicles etc
were all overcome………..to get film in the can.
Lack of money means a year's delay until a vid cassette of rough cut is
Los Angeles Outfest Festival agrees to screen film from vid-cassette
projector and wins prestigious Directors Guild of America for Director, Will
Variety reviews film in US "..executed with considerable elan."
Cult following predicted.
Further delay as a number of sales needed to finance final work on the film -
cinema distribution in eight countries, including UK and US set up, but sales
agent goes into liquidation.
The Wolves of Kromer's success is testament to the vision and determination
of Lambert to see a life long dream come to fruition in the face of what most
would have seen as insurmountable hurdles.
The UK is still one of the most difficult countries to get a film off the
ground in, with 77% of all films made here receiving no distribution
The Wolves is a fantasy tale of murder and prejudice, that uplifts at its
end, leaving its audience thought-provoked and hopefully better people. It
was the script that attracted virtually everyone to the project. "I
wanted to write about prejudice in a different way, that no-one had seen
before, that would actually have the audience behave differently when they
"No-one would finance the film two years ago. Lottery were scathing of
the script ("Script is deft, with more than a few pin sharp lines."
Variety 7/98), so I had to beg and borrow enough to hire a camera and
everyone worked for deferred fees."
Commercially, Lambert and his cast and crew now know their foresight and hard
work has been worth it. Agent s that wouldn't return Lambert's calls when the
project was in pre-production have had to be turned away, now the film is
The film was awarded a major US award for Outstanding Emerging talent and has
won distribution in eight countries. New international sales agent has
recently taken on the film which promises further worldwide sales on TV,
cable and video.
Lambert is already involved in three projects for 2001, but remains
philosophical "Getting your first film off the ground is a big a challenge
as I can imagine; it's worth it, but never underestimate what it takes…
you've got to want it more than anything else in the world."
TURNED HELICOPTER PILOT LANDS LEAD ROLE
James Layton was one of Models 1's most successful male models,
fronting campaigns for Versace, Gucci and Donna Karan.
Landing a plum lead in Discodog's first feature film The Wolves, beginning a
career in film hadn't been high on his agenda, but flying helicopters was.
Acting came easily to James "The transition from catwalk to front of the
film camera was a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be - I was quite
nervous at first - but it was a brilliant script and everyone seemed to have
total confidence in me, which made it a lot easier".
First-time producer Charles Lambert auditioned over 50 hopefuls from London's
top model agencies, before finding James. "He was perfect for the role
and although James hadn't acted before he was very natural from the start -
his character really began to come alive in the video of his auditon."
Will Gould - The Wolves' 21 year old director - adds "I'd love to direct
James again; he's a very versatile actor."
Will James pursue a career in acting? "Helicopters have always been my
passion, but my goal is now to be a stunt pilot and fly helicopters in
Hollywood. The Wolves of Kromer was an amazing experience and I want to
pursue film - just in the air and not on the ground!"
OLD IS WHERE IT'S AT - TWO OLD LADIES LAND LEAD ROLES IN BRITISH HIT
Not since Arsenic and Old Lace have two female leads been cast
in their seventies.
'The Wolves of Kromer' is Charles Lambert's Discodog Productions' first
feature film and stars two old maids who murder their mistress and frame two
innocent wolves for the crime… It's a tale of lust, greed, murder, betrayal and
sexuality and the two leads are in their… seventies!
Lambert, 32, also wrote the screenplay to the film. 'I grew up in a community
with a lot f older people and have always felt that the older generations are
not properly represented in society. I wanted to write a film where I could
cast at least two older people in the leads in a completely unconventional
way - basically, we're all the same, old , young, good, bad and I wanted 'The
Wolves' to be a real leveller. I think it's worked. Old people are where it's
at - they've been through it and come out the other side..'
Margaret Towner, who you last saw in Star Wars - The Phantom Menace and
worked on The Wolves for deferred fees, leapt at the offer of the part of
Fanny 'it was so unconventional and fun - this as not the sort of role I get
offered very often and it was far too interesting to turn down!'
MIZZ MODELS IN FILM SHOCKER
Two former favourite Mizz models, James Layton and Lee Williams
(the face of French Connection), are currently appearing in the fantasy
fairytale movie, The Wolves of Kromer.
Lee and James play 2 wolves set up for a murder they didn't commit. Things
get complicated because they fall in love and end up kissing each other
(which they said was a bit odd…)and Lee also falls for Polly, played b y
gorgeous Leila Lloyd-Evelyn.
'It's a brilliant film though and kissing Lee wasn't sooo bad. It's all about
lust and greed and murder, sexuality and betrayal - it's brilliant!' says
So will these two love gods be returning to the pages of Mizz? Unfortunately
not: Lee is concentrating on acting (you'll have seen him in Channel 4's
"Boyz Unlimited", "Elephant Juice" and the critically
acclaimed "Inverted Cannon") and James is off to Hollywood when he
finishes his helicopter pilot's course I a few months. 'Helicopters have
always been my passion and I'm going to be a stunt pilot in LA.' Which means
we'll be seeing a lot more of him on our screens…
CAST & CREW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
JAMES LAYTON - 'Gabriel'
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1. Was this out of the bl ue or was acting something you'd been
thinking about moving into?
It was definitely something that I wanted to do, but I never had the
self-confidence to go into it directly. I expect that had the chance never
come up, I would never have got into it in any way. I could have been
involved in stage productions at school, but I was never interested in stage.
I've always found the idea of the repetition of theatre very bizarre, a bit
like 'groundhog day' and often too surreal. I love the fact that with films,
you can put it all down in two or three takes and then you never have to do
it again. If I had to do the same scenes every day, I think I'd go mad.
2. How did it start / how did you get into it?
I was modelling before and had been for a few years. I was literally asked if
I was interested in casting for a film, but few details were given to me by
the agency. When I arrived at the casting, I was asked if I minded playing a
gay part and I said I didn't. Some others had simply left. I read for it and
received a recall a few days later. I read again, with Lee this time, and was
offered the lead part later the same day.
3. How did you enjoy making the film?
It was fantastic. I don't think the reality of it set in until the day I
arrived in Wales at the set and even then, everyone was so easy going, that I
didn't feel under any pressure. For the fist few scenes I was incredibly
nervous and couldn't relax at all, but it didn't take long to get into it.
Being around experienced people helped a lot. Overall, I think it's got to
have been one of the best experiences of my life. Even if I never do it
again, I can always say I played the lead role in a film!
4. What did you think about the script?
It was totally differ ent to how the film actually turned out and I had to
read it a few times to really get it. It wasn't something I'd tried to do
before and it's amazing how different things are on paper and how much it
takes to turn it all into a film. I was a bit worried about how I'd handle
the more cheesy parts, but when it came to the crunch, they made sense and
they seemed to fit into it all quite well. They're supposed to be taken with
a pinch of salt!
5. How was it kissing another bloke when you're not gay?
I wasn't overly thrilled about it, to say the least, but my girlfriend was on
the set and just took the piss out of me relentlessly! If you act, you act,
it's a simple as that. You're playing someone else, so in my eyes, if that's
what it requires, no problem.
6. What did you like most about the film?
The atmosphere on set. I grew up around the film industry with my mum and dad
both working in TV and film. My uncle also directs and writes. We are very
similar and are close as a result and having spoken to him about it since, I
have found out that it is secretly something th at he wanted to have a go at,
but like me, never really had the faith in himself. The atmosphere was like
it had been when I was with my dad and uncle an sets in the past. There's
usually a great feeling of camaraderie, and sometimes a serious tension. In
those times, you either have to try and liven things up, or just keep
yourself to yourself. Judge the situation.
7. What are your plans to get into stunt helicopter flying in
I learned to fly aeroplanes and helicopters since the film and wanted a skill
behind me. Devoting your life to acting is a serious risk to take and I
wanted to be able to do something that I enjoyed that I could take back into
the film industry with me. I love the idea of flying helicopters for film
just because of the versatility of the job. To be able to still work in
that environment doing something as fun as flying helicopters would be ideal.
I would love to act again and it would be a fantastic career, and possibly
take helicopters with me. J.R.Ewing managed it in 'Deadly Encounter' and got
to do some fantastic helicopter work as well! That would be great!
8. How di d you get into flying helicopters?
For my 21st birthday present, my dad gave me a flying lesson with a friend of
his. We went up and I flew and we did a few aerobatics. At the time, a friend
was learning to fly light aeroplanes and I had just moved out of London, back
to my parents house and had some money saved up. I just decided to learn to
fly. Once I'd got my license, I decided to take it further and go for my
commercial license. I didn't want to be an airline pilot though and, apart
from instructing, there weren't many opportunities. I've always been
fascinated with helicopters and there was a helicopter company next door to
us at the airfield. I went up for a trial lesson and was hooked immediately.
I then went off to do my commercial license on helicopters instead.
9. What's been your closest shave with death?
A guy that I was teaching to fly closed the throttle on me at 2,500 ft! We
were practising engine failures. There is a strict routine to keep it safe. I
called an engine failure and in moments of pressure, especially when people
are still quite new to something, they do the wrong thing. Normally the student
sets it up in the glide and the n the instructor rolls off the throttle. This
time, he rolled off the throttle by mistake before setting it up. In
situations like that in small helicopters , you've got about 1.3 seconds to
get the lever beside you down before the blades stall and fold up. Then it's
game over! Luckily I managed to get the lever down, in fact I nearly put it
through the floor from doing it so hard! You'd be surprised how quickly you
can react if you need to! I certainly was! There was a moment of silence and
we just dropped for a second, and then it all came back to life as the blades
sped up again. The poor guy went green and was shaking so much that he
couldn't fly it anymore. I think we ended up with the giggles on the way
back, purely from nerves. It really shook me up.
10. When you're on the pull do you tell girls you're an actor
or a pilot?
I don't think either work that well. If you tell them you're an actor, they
want to know which Hollywood films you've been in. That's usually enough to
end it there. If you tell them you're a helicopter pilot, they just want to
go up in one and then get fed up. I think I probably end up waffling on about
11. What would be your ideal role?
I like to think I'd be able to do a 'Midnight Express' type role or 'Paris,
Texas'. Something gritty and raw where you have to be a really great actor to
do it. It would be insanely intense trying to do that and incredibly testing,
but I love the idea of it. I'd love to do stuff from 'Schindlers' List'
through to 'Dead Poets Society' and 'Boogie Nights' which is one of my all
12. What female lead would you most like to play opposite?
I suppose it depends for what reason! I can think of plenty that I'd like to
be in the same room as, Cameron Diaz for example! I expect it would be the
same list as most guys.
13. Is life as a model all about girls and glamour? What's it
really like being a top model?
Modelling is definitely not glamorous, unless you're right at the top. If
you're not, you get treated like an accessory. I'm really stubborn after a
while. I can take so much and be polite and reserved and then I get fed up
and dig my heels in. I don't think that's a great attribute for a job where
you really need to be able to grit your teeth and get on with it. I'm more
mature about it all now and have a much more relaxed attitude towards it.
14. Is there a lot of work for stunt pilots in LA?
I think there is a lot of helicopter work for films in America in general,
but it's quite a closed market. It tends to be done by the same people all
the time and once a director has worked with a guy that they get on with and
who does the job well, they will tend to stick with the same person. It's
difficult to get into and people always try and put you off, but it's not
impossible and you just have to persevere. A bit like any job that a lot of
people want to do.
LEILA LLOYD-EVELYN - 'Polly' ;
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1. How did you hear about the film?
One of the writers, Matthew Read, had asked to see another actress on my
agent's books and they also put me forward for Polly.
2. What were you doing beforehand?
I'd just finished a production of Jean Anouilh's 'Restless Heart' at
3. What did you like most about the film?
My favourite aspect of the film is its off beat sense of humour. Peculiarly
English! It's great that it's going down so well at the festivals in the
States - I'd always heard that our quirky sense of humour didn't travel so
4. Do you prefer performing on screen or in the theatre?
I love film but I think for most actors trained in England, it's much easier
to perform on stage: the majority of our drama schools focus on creating
great stage performances. On screen there isn't really the same opportunity
as there is in theatre to find out what works and what doesn't. I was really
impressed by Kate Winslet in 'Holy Smoke.' She's so at home in front of the
camera. I'd love to be able to give screen performances which were as strong
and gutsy as that.
5. Was 'The Wolves' your first main feature?
Yes, in fact 'The Wolves' was my first feature full stop.
6. What was it like acting opposite two of the hottest models
on the block?
I hate getting too drawn into the whole body glamour thing, but then on the
other hand, it was good fun working with the wolves… James is really lovely
and unaffected and let's face it, it's always great to be around beautiful
people, isn't it?!!
7. What would your ideal role be?
You know, the crazy thing is I really don't have an ideal role. I love it
when I get the chance to surprise myself. My favourite roles are always
feisty and extrovert, but it'd be so dull if that's all I did. Ultimately, I
think others are probably a better judge of what I can best bring to
different roles than I am!
8. What lead would you most like to play opposite?
Johnny Depp! It's not just an 'oh-my-god-he's-so-gorgeous' thing (honest… but
it does help!) but in la-la land he's my first choice. I really admire the
way he never goes for the easy options - he brings this lovely vulnerable
quality to his roles… I just don't think you see that very often in men on
screen. I always look forward to his films and always go and see them.
9. Why were you drawn to your character?
She's so stroppy! She's got such a great mind of her own - I love her!
10. What was it like working on a low budget film?
As far as I'm concerned - no problem. I don't think we suffered at all,
except that you don't get to do as many takes as you can on a bigger budget.
The best bit of it was getting the chance to stay for a month in a really
beautiful part of Britain, which I wouldn't normally do.
WILLIAMS - 'Seth'
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1. How were you scouted for The Wolves of Kromer?
I didn't have an acting agent at that time, but a mutual friend recommended
me to the producer.
2. What led you to take the part of Seth?
I read the script and I was really, really moved. I was in tears and that
night I slept with it under my pillow. I really wanted the part of Seth!
3. How did you find filming in a drafty country house in the
middle of a Shropshire valley after the glamour of a career in modelling?
It was sometimes a bit of a challenge! I had to get friends of mine to send
me parcels of food to survive. No seriously, it was all part of the fun of
low budget film-making.
4. You're now committed to a career in acting. How's it going?
Really well. I was able to use my performance in "The Wolves of
Kromer" to get a great agent and I've been doing a steady stream of TV
and feature work since. There's been "Boyz Unlimited" for Channel 4
and some features included the critically acclaimed "Inverted Cannon
" as well as the Amy Jenkins project, "Elephant Juice". You
can see me now as the face of French Connection TV.
5. Did you always want to be an actor?
I started acting when I was at school, but then went to Central St Martins to
study for a degree in fashion and put acting on hold. After a few years
modelling I really wanted to get back into acting and I guess with The Wolves
of Kromer it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. It
really worked out.
6. You studied fashion for a while. How important a role does
fashion play in your life now?
I really respect magazines like Arena, Vogue and ID and I have worked with
Vivien Westwood. I also have a lot of friends in the fashion industry. Being
at the leading edge of what's going on in fashion is important to me, but
it's definitely not the be all and end all of my life.
7. Do you have any plans to move to the US?
I'm not sure what my plans are at the moment. I'm keeping all my options open
- I'll keep you posted!
CHARLES LAMBERT - producer
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1. The Wolves is an extraordinary concept - what inspired you
to think of the story? Why use the fairytale genre?
Growing up a gay man has given me an outsider's view which I'm sure has
helped create the bizarre, 'straight' world of Kromer. Fairy tales have
always been a key agent in the process that has enabled kids to discover
their places in the world. It seems a good place to begin to establish the
changes. It provides an accessible genre for a subversive narrative - a
grown-up fairy t ale. Wolves themselves are also steeped in tradition of
representing sexuality, the 'other', the outsider, as well as that part
within us of which we may be frightened. Another big influence for wolf suits
was the enchanting costume Max wears in Maurice Sendak's book, "Where
the Wild Things Are."
2. Has it been a very personal project?
Yes it's been a very personal project - it's dedicated to my late parents. I
wrote the original play while nursing my mother in the last few weeks before
she died of cancer. Much of the film was subsequently shot in her house and
the grounds around it.
3. Was it easy to find the two lead wolves?
I felt we needed beautiful leads. It adds to the fun of seeing a film if you
fancy one of the actors - and these two guys are outrageously good looking.
We had no money, so talented, pretty actors were not really an option. A
number of models, however, are really keen to get into acting and are
prepared to work on deferred rates. We did see a number of models who were
quite wooden, but we were lucky to be offered Lee and James. Although they
had very little experience, they really came alive in the audition s. At the
end of filming we gave them tapes with their wolf scenes and they went off
and got top London agents!
4. Was it easy to raise finance for the film?
Yes, because there was no finance! Eight private investors provided money for
film stock and sandwiches. Everyone worked entirely on deferred payment.
5. What were the main challenges during production?
Having no previous experience of producing gave the project a certain edge. I
had to learn everything as I went. I remember laura, the cinematographer,
coming up to me on the first day of filming to confirm whether we were to
shoot at twenty four or twenty five frames a second and thinking to myself 'I
have absolutely no idea what you're talking about!'
6. How much of a challenge has it been to get distribution in 8
A friend recommended the British distributor take a look at the film and they
immediately went for it. I went over to Sundance and found out about US
distributors and the rest followed after it was taken on by Jane Balfour
Fims, the sales agent.
7. How did you manage to secur e so much talent on deferred
payment and make a micro budget movie?
We were lucky as people were enthusiastic about the script. They felt it was
a chance to do something nobody had seen before. But deferred producing is
really exhausting - for every person who accepts there are at least twenty
who have refused. And when the focus-puller drops out, as happened to us,
when he got offered paid work during the second week of filming, it's an
extra problem. In a real film you'd just make a few calls and pay an new one.
With a micro-budget film you don't have that power. There's much more of a
threat that the whole thing will fall to pieces. Nobody is more grateful than
me to the thirty-five strong crew and cast of twelve who all stuck it out.
8. How did you get into film-making? This is your first project
- what's you background?
I have come to film from studying economics then law. It was while I was
working as an economist in Brussels, sitting day after day in the grey rooms
of the National Institute for Statistics cooking figures on data for
marketing reports about imports and exports of curling tongs and hooded hair
dryers, that I realised I wanted something more from life. I gave up my job
and gained a place on the prestigious University of East Anglia Creative
Writing Course . I realised I would have to take to producing to be sure of
making a writing career work.
9. How did you manage to get Boy George involved?
Early test screenings indicated that some people did not realise Seth was a
newcomer to Kromer at the beginning of the film. A narration which eases the
viewer into the fairy tale world was the solution. Boy George comes across as
an articulate, intelligent man as well as being a gay icon. By having him as
narrator we hoped to signify the film as playful, upbeat, intelligent and
English. We rang his agent to see if he was interested in taking part and
were delighted when he agreed. He's been extremely supportive and generous with
10. Is your passion more with film-making or writing?
11. What's in the pipeline?
I am rewriting my new play Deliciousness for a director and the first chunk
of finance is also in place for financing the movie. It's a black comedy about
a criminal who passes herself off as a therapist and defrauds her clients.
Recently I have been visiting New York to write with a young British directo
r, Lucy Walker, who come from the NYU film programme and whose work I think
is really exciting. We're working on a romantic comedy.
WILL GOULD - director
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1. How did you meet Charles?
We were at uni together - we met in the pub. We didn't hit it off at first,
but I guess we saw how we could help each other - him studying scriptwriting
and me studying film - a perfect combination! He moved in to a house nearby
so we got to know each other pretty well. He grew on me. Like a fungus. And
there's no-one quite like him, that has to be said. And nothing quite like his
2. How did you get involved in The Wolves of Kromer
I'd just shot a film in Spain with Matthew Read (who I've worked with on all
my projects). He's an old friend of Charles', and was set to co-write the
screenplay to wolves with him. I guess he suggested I might be interested - I
But I do remember going up to Charles' house in the country (the very same
house that starred in the film) and reading the wolves for the first time. It
was early in the morning and I sat by one of the huge bay windows as the sun
came up. And there was something about reading the script that got me -
perhaps because I read it in the same room that Charles wrote it - the same
room his mother died in while he sat at her bedside and hatched the world of
Kromer in his head. It just felt honest - under all the fairytale and make
believe - just an honest story about falling in love against the odds.
3. Did you have any previous directing experience?
I'd made shorts, but never on film (larger than super8) and never with a
crew. I'd pretty much taught myself as well, which like teaching yourself to
drive, leaves you with a lot of bad habits.
Then again, maybe you look at things a little differently too. Not
necessarily how you're supposed to look at them, because you don't know any
better. But I've never found myself lost for a shot or anything like that. I
didn't feel 'inexperienced'. At least not until shooting began…
4. Were you intimidated by working with people with more
experience than yourself?
At first, yes. Everyone else was immediately at ease on the set, but I was a
fish out of water - splashing about trying to fathom out how a crew and set
worked, the ins and out of it, the 'politics'. But (for the most part) I felt
great support from those around me, and soon enough it wasn't about
experience anyway - whatever had happened before wasn't relevant. It was just
about the here and now, getting the job done.
And in the end, isn't it better to work with people more experienced than
yourself? I mean, I was just grateful for the class of the crew Charles had
managed to pull together in such a short time. My unease wasn't an issue.
5. How did you feel winning the Directors Guild of America
'Outstanding Emerging Talent' award?
Surprised. Elated. Tired.
But I think the lasting memory from that month in America wasn't so much the
award in LA, but the first screening we had a couple weeks before in San
Francisco. It was the first audience screening we'd ever had, and although I
was nervous, I kind of just figured this was like watching the film (again…)
but on a bi gger screen.
But that day the film changed - it became something else entirely. I mean I'd
heard that a film isn't a film until it'd got an audience, but until I
experienced it first hand, I'd never really understood what that meant. The
audience loved it. They were the most perfect audience we could have hoped
for. They were really into it, they laughed, cried, even clapped. I'd seen
the film a hundred times and it was stale to me, but suddenly it came back to
life again. Now I can only watch it with an audience. It's an audience film.
It needs a collective before it. I don't know why, but it does.
So seeing the film watched by others was a great experience. Getting the
award was the icing on the cake, but the taste of the cake lingered longer.
6. What did you like best about the film?
The tone. The overall feel to it. I think that's the thing I worked hardest
at, to get the balance between fantasy and reality right, so that, basically,
the audience would get emotionally involved with guys running around with
So the fact that the film works at all - I like that best. And if anyone
tells me they cried, I love that! I mean, it's supposed to be a comedy, but I
still prefer it when people say they cried! Does that say something about
7. What attracted you to the script in the first pl ace?
It introduces a new world without explanation. That takes balls. Or talent.
Has Charles got bigger balls than talent? I don't know. Probably talent...
The script was wonderfully off the wall and original. And like I said before,
it was also honest, so I felt I could exploit that honesty to make the film
work emotionally. I mean, it's one thing to go into some other crazy world,
but unless you take some familiar sentiments with you, the audience will feel
lost and confused.
8. How close is the finished project to what you envisaged?
Pretty close. It's difficult to remember back to before shooting, but as far
I recall, the wolves I had in my head wasn't that far from what hit the
screen. What didn't make it? Well, I guess you have to talk about the budget…
We shot for, what, fifty grand with a shooting ratio of about three to one.
Which is nothing. You don't get a second take most of the time - and there's
not a whole lot of room for experimentation. So some of the more
'challenging' ideas (split screen stuff, long-takes, etc) went out of the
window straight away, and the actors had to try to hit the mark first time,
every time. Even basic coverage had to be reduced, so I'd be axing shots
left, right and centre, thinking of more economic ways to tell a scene whilst
keeping to my overall game-plan for the film.
But most of the time the constraints forced us towards solutions we never
would have thought of otherwise, and in the end I'm happy with what we got.
It's got a certain feel to it which I like. Simple. Fairytale.
9. What was your worst moment making the film?
I've had extensive therapy to remove such thoughts. When you ask that
question, all I see is bunny rabbits and green rolling hills.
But anyone who's ever made a low-budget can imagine what it was like for
10. What is the body of work you would like ideally to complete
in the next ten years of your career?
Well, I'd really like to make an action movie! You know, all guns and chases.
That stuff really gets me!
Apart from that, who knows what's around the corner? I envy filmmakers like
Woody Allen, making a film a year, just, you know, making a good living and
practising their art. I'd like to be in a position like that. Have a body of
films. Something to show my grandchildren.
I don't see that happening in ten years, but I guess I'll make a start.
11. What are your top five favourite films and why?
They change from day to day. But let me think…
"Speed". A great action movie! What more can you say? If you're
going to make Hollywood trash, you may as well make it as perfect as this.
"Dead Ringers". I've always loved Cronenberg's films, but this one
just builds so well. It's so sad, so emotionally charged, while at the same
time being so clinical. So as an audience you feel distant but right up
"A Canterbury Tale". Powell and Pressburger were the most
remarkable people making films in Britain during the 30s and 40s, and this
one's a blinder. It's slow to build, but the last twenty minutes just take
your breath away. And with characters like the glue-man, you get the feeling
that these boys could've made a movie in the Kromer world.
"Sunrise". It's just so simple, and because it's silent, it really
shows you a thing or two about visual storytelling. The image is so
"Fire Walk With Me". Lynch gets a lot of shit, and never more so
than for this film. But for me it's a masterpiece. It's difficult to explain
why, so I won't even try. But it just never fails to work.
12. Which two leads would you most like to direct together and
Rudolph Valentino and Marilyn Monroe. Wouldn't they look great…
13. Do you think working in film makes you more attractive to
Not at all! I mean maybe as an actor, but not as a director. I don't think
being a director makes you more attractive to anyone. It's such a selfish and
self-centred profession. I guess it makes me more attractive to me!
Of course if I was making a million dollars a movie, things might be
14. Do people misunderstand what directing film is all about?
Yes, but it's difficult to correct them, to explain what it's really all
about. It's only when you actually have a go that you understand fully. So I
can't explain it here. Get a camera and shoot a movie. Find out for yourself.