British director Jack Spring came to FEST with the film ‘Three Day Millionaire’, which is his second feature film. This black comedy is part of the FEST Special programme. The young director says in an interview for the FEST website that he did his hometown credit in a way with this film. ‘The film takes place in Grimsby, the town where my family is from, and the economic collapse that is the backdrop for the film is something that the town survived in the 1970s and 1980s. For the sake of the film, we moved that kind of economic crisis to the 21st century, to the present time. By the way, Grimsby is a fishing town. We moved the crisis that the city went throughmore than twenty or thirty years later and made a story that could have actually happened, without spending a huge amount of money to create a set from the seventies or eighties, which would have greatly increased the cost of the film’, he said.
The film is some kind of modern fairy tale where everyone seems to at least get a chance at the end?
- Northern England can be gray and depressing, and this entire film has its own optimism from the beginning, the heroes hope from the beginning, strive for a better future and change their life circumstances for the better. Some questions were deliberately left unanswered, but the film in principle very deliberately has a nice ending.
You got popular actor Colm Meaney for your second film?
- The producers with whom I shot the first film had previously worked with him, and that is how I got the opportunity to collaborate with him. When he came to Grimsby, he immediately wanted to go on a tour of the city. The only car we had available was a small sports car and so instead of taking him around Grimsby like a star in a limousine, he drove around town in that small car. But joking aside, he is a great actor, he solved some scenes in a way that I would never have thought to set them. For example, there is a fake presentation in the film that he organizes as a businessman even if he has already bought the docks, but he organizes a town meeting in order to raise the price of his work. And while the woman is giving her presentation, he looks at everyone in the room and makes eye movements to see how others are reacting to the presentation. It is a detail I would not think of, but that is experience.
Do you mean acting experience?
- Not only that. I am only 26 years old and I do not have much life experience, I have not been in the war, I have not survived great losses and I have only just started to find my way in the world of romance, but so to speak, I always knew what made me laugh. People will always need a little laugh. That is why I make films about what I know. The plot of my film, and I did not write thescript, in the original version was supposed to take place in a neighboring town some 10 or 15 miles from Grimsby, but I knew that if I moved everything to my hometown, I could more easily close the financial circle. I knew where I was going to shoot every scene and that this film would change the public;s image of Grimsby, and that there was a way to get money for something like that. Namely, a few years ago Sacha Baron Cohen made a film about Grimsby that cast a shadow of shame on the town, without a single shot being shot in Grimsby itself. It left a bitter taste in everyone;s mouth. That is why I knew that my film had great potential. That is why I had the desire to really try to paint the city.
And how satisfied are you with that task?
- There were many people at the premiere, every cinema hall was sold out, but in Grimsby itself the film was seen three times more than James Bond. The characters in your film botch upalmost everything they can, but in the end, they accomplish the mission they set themselves, with a lot of luck, so the audience is kind of rooting for them?
- I think the characters are believable because I attach special importance to casting. I did not want the mediation of any casting agent, casting director. It was important for me to find the right actors. My casting is very unusual, I myself watched all the recordings that arrived for the casting. For the six main roles, I watched about eight and a half thousand shots. And I chose the ones I really liked.
- For example, I watched the footage of James Borrows playing Curly on Friday at five before dawn, and on Saturday at ten o’clock I already contacted him about the role. As soon as he was hired, I immediately put him on a tour of Grimsby to see what the city means to people. I have similar experiences with all the lead actors. Before the shooting, we had rehearsals for two weeks, so that they could get to know each other and become best friends. We had a great time working together, that is why I felt like crying when I finished filming. I think good casting is my directorial secret weapon. Well, you can always tell when someone got a role for reasons that have nothing to do with art, right?