About The Production
Director Jonathan Glazer met screenplay writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto on a project which subsequently fell through. Says Glazer, "We decided to continue to collaborate as we had similar sensibilities about films and what we felt was missing in the business today. They gave me projects which they had originally written as stage plays. SEXY BEAST appealed to me because it has a very simple plot dynamic, but is very powerful and visceral, almost operatic in style. I could share their love of these characters. They also take a lot of risks in their work, because they are not slaves to structure, and I think great stuff can come from that." One of the attractions to Glazer, whose recent experience in commercials and music promos has honed his visual skills, was to work on a piece driven by character. "I was more interested in working in an area which I was weak in, and to collaborate with the writers. Their stage directions are so specific, and illustrate the particular way they see the world they are writing about, so that I could use them as maps." Glazer admits that SEXY BEAST is hard to categorize but describes it as a very simple story about the redemptive power of love. It is set in the world of London gangsters. Says Glazer "The gangster genre creates its own autonomous society, operating on loyalties and extremes - Shakespearean in a way.
Producer Jeremy Thomas, who has brought to the screen the work of some of the most exciting directors of international cinema including Bernardo
Bertolucci, Nicolas Roeg and David Cronenberg, always keeps an eye out for new talent. "I had been aware of Jonathan Glazers work as a director for some time and was pleased to be approached when he was ready to make his first feature film," says Thomas. "This is the first time in many years that I have been so excited by a script and a first-time director." Thomas had seen Glazer's ads and pop promos and is convinced that Glazer will be a major figure on the stage of world cinema
in years to come. "I recognized that Jonathan has an original voice and a strong visual sense which will translate to feature film," says the producer. Glazer had originally trained for and worked in theatre, and having seen his work directing ads which have such strong narrative frames, Thomas had no qualms about the director being able to sustain his story-telling with original visual flair.
Thomas also applauds the script by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, as a fresh and original work. "It's in the gangster movie genre but with an original twist. Here in Britain we have a tradition of gangster movies, with such beacons as Get Carter and Performance, both of which gave the audience something they hadn't seen before, as this does. It's overwhelmingly a love story, set in the gangster world, but with a different vernacular and different approach. Mellis and Scinto are talented writers, whose plot and dialogue are totally innovative."
Adds Glazer, "Jeremy has an extraordinary pedigree, and has eclectic tastes, so he was happy that we wanted to create a film which, although British, has a European flavor and wide appeal."
For Spanish co-producer and line producer Denise O'Dell, the script threw up one big location problem - finding a villa on a hillside where a boulder would be likely to roll down the hill and damage a swimming pool. The script is set on the Costa Del Sol, the traditional early retirement home of choice for those Britons who may have made their cash in less conventional ways, and so the production team searched the coast at
Marbella, Malaga and as far north as Cadiz. Finding nothing because, as O'Dell points out, most people wouldn't build a villa in such a dangerous position, she began looking around
Almeria. O'Dell knows the area well, having over thirty years experience living and shooting in Spain, and points out that David Lean was the first fi
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