I recently got the chance to talk to director J.K. Amalou about his new film, ‘Deviation’. Here, J.K. talks about how the idea for the film came about in the first place and which films have inspired him as a director…
Hey J.K. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Deviation’.
Not a problem. Thank you for interviewing me!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Deviation’ is about a nurse who gets car-jacked by a psychopath on the run. The whole film takes place over one night as Anna (the nurse) tries desperately to escape from this madman.
You both wrote and directed the film – how did the idea come about in the first place?
The idea itself came from real-life events. Then I was attracted to the challenge of making a film taking place within one night and within one main location: the car! So in a nutshell, the film is about two people, one car, one night. Time and “location” compression all around. Some people might think ‘Oh, the director has made it easy for himself here…’ But the real challenge was to keep the tension up and going throughout the film. A difficult challenge but I hope I’ve pulled it off.
How hard was it to put the film into production? What tricks as a director did you try to throw in?
It’s never easy to put a film into production. It’s the usual game of meeting potential financiers and trying to convince them to invest (or to be more precise: try to convince them that they’ll make their money back and a profit!).
What’s the reception been like to the film so far?
You either love it or hate it. No in between.
The film stars Danny Dyer, Anna Walton, James Doherty, David Fynn, Alan McKenna and Roy Smiles – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
All of them are good, solid actors so working with them was an absolute pleasure. What made it even more amazing for me was that the film was shot during the coldest winter in 100 years and mostly at nights (with temperatures of around minus 10-12 some nights…) So, physically, it was very tough. However, all the actors got on with it. Better, they all delivered very strong performances despite the adverse conditions. A real credit to them. So, as a director, I can only say that I was blessed.
Let’s talk a bit about you J.K. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve always loved stories. As a kid, I was a voracious reader. Also, I grew up on a diet of TV series and films (I had an uncle who was movie-mad and he used to take me to the cinemas with him…). Then of course, the inevitable happened: when I was 10 or 11, I made a few super 8mm with my mates. Our first short was a Kung Fu film directly inspired by Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter The Dragon’. That didn’t go down too well as the mate playing the Karate expert accidentally split his opponent’s head open with our home-made Nunchaku. We went on to make another short inspired by Inspector Columbo with one mate dressed up as the murderous maid. Both terrible, childish films but, hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. When I finished high school, the transition to film school was natural for me…
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Hard work, sheer determination and… a lot of luck!
What films and TV series have inspired you as a director? Any favourites?
A lot of films inspired me. But the film which really showed me the power of cinema and haunted me for months as a teenager was Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’. In fact, to this day, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘King Of Comedy’ – yes, three Scorsese films – are the films I’d put at the top of my list. They’re not easy films but they’re very perceptive about the human condition: the strong desire for love and acceptance which, I believe, motivates everything we do in life.
God, it’s a tricky question. I love films of all genres and nationalities. I spend my time watching films in fact. I’d have to give you my top 100 to give you a proper reply to this question…
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Billy Wilder, for his acidic wit… Jimi Hendrix, for his music… Audrey Hepburn, for her beauty, grace and philanthropy… They’re all dead. So I won’t have any complaints from any living people complaining they’ve been omitted from the list!
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Ramping up my next film into production: ‘Deceit’, a psychological horror/thriller. Writing ‘Bethlem’, a big budget thriller horror. And a holiday.