From Page to Screen
Best known for his award-winning screenplays, Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, writer and director Steven Knight once again dives into the underbelly of London with Redemption, a film that completes his unofficial trilogy about displaced living on the fringes of society. After watching acclaimed directors Stephen Frears and David Cronenberg bring his previous scripts to life, Knight wrote Redemption with the hope of making it his directorial debut. And with the support of veteran producer Paul Webster, who worked closely with Knight on Eastern Promises, Knight's dream has become a reality. Says Webster, "a writer, Steven has always created a very clear picture on the page. He can see the stories he writes in his head. So to have him direct Redemption felt simply like we were cutting out the middleman."
While some writer/directors are criticized for being too inflexible when it comes to directing their own work, Webster stresses that Knight "is not that person. He's able to ride with the punches and take advantage of strokes of good luck, and it's impressive. He's incredibly calm, which makes for a very calm set, very calm actors and a very supportive set. He's a natural."
Jason Statham, who stars as Joey Jones, agrees. "With Steven everything's rooted in story," he says. "Everything has to have meaning, even the action sequences. He always has a very precise idea of everything he wants and I always felt I was in good hands. That's the benefit of having a writer being the director."
Much of the story for Redemption was born out of Knight's extensive research of the homeless population in London. "If you look into who people are, and how they have found themselves homeless, ten-percent are ex-soldiers," he reveals. "It was just remarkable to me that people who are disciplined in the way that soldiers are in terms of cleanliness, and how they pack their kit and all of that stuff, would end up being homeless. But I discovered that there's actually a direct route between coming out of the army and becoming homeless. It just made me think: ten-percent of homeless people are soldiers; they've got stories; there's bound to be a past. So I did more research and talked to a lot of homeless ex-forces people, and I started to put the bones of the story together."
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