Cherry Tree Lane: Paul Andrew Williams Interview

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Cherry Tree Lane: Paul Andrew Williams Interview

By The_Reaper.

I was lucky enough to get you guys a great little tit-bit on upcoming horror movie Cherry Tree Lane with a nice interview and an awesome trailer! Now what is this here Cherry Tree Lane you ask? Well according to some resources and a plot synopsis it’s about the following:

“Christine and Mike are normal parents living in a semi-detached house on suburban street Cherry Tree Lane. They don’t realise it, but a desperate and terrible situation is just minutes away. They sit and eat their evening meal, discussing the day’s events at work. Christine answers the door to a group of three teenage boys asking after her son Sebastian for a kick around. Telling them he is out, she closes the door and returns to her meal. The door goes again. This time, as Christine opens the latch, a sudden unexpected attack leads to a terrifying house invasion. Striking at the heart of the deepest suburban fears and played out in real time, Cherry Tree Lane explores what happens when a living nightmare bursts into the home you assumed was safe.”

Sounds good, no? Well maybe if you see the trailer you’ll see what I mean with how awesome it looks:

As for the interview, upcoming directors and writers might find some wisdom out of the following one from award winning writer/director Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton” and The Cottage) quite invigorating.

Q: Where did you get the idea for Cherry Tree Lane?

I wanted to make something that was more real than Hollywood. Something that the studio system would be too scared to make, but that I knew I could as a British independent filmmaker.

I wanted to make something about genuine fear, something that cinema-goers could connect with. It’s a big fear of my girlfriend’s and we’ve talked about it a few times. It’s a classic human fear – the fear of what is outside your front door. Of the unknown coming inside your home.

Q: How does it differ from your previous films, London to Brighton and The Cottage?

They’re all different. It’s just its own thing. There’s going to be elements from both of those films in this film, but I think it’s just different in the sense that it’s got it’s own style. The only thing you could send that was similar is the quality of the acting, that’s the same that’s gone through all of them.

Q: How long was the process from initial concept to filming Cherry Tree Lane?

The concept was ages ago, but I wrote the script about 3 months ago. It was a very quick process, and I trusted my instincts. We achieved it by saying to everyone “we want you to do it, but if you want to do it you got to let us know by the end of the week,” rather than “do you want to do it, we’ll wait for 3 months for you to say yeah.” You start pushing very hard and go “right we’re doing this, we’re doing this, we’re doing this” and then hopefully people sort of follow on from that. But the industry’s so slow that sometimes you just need to push everyone to say “we’re doing this thing, are you going to do it or what?” And then some people said yeah, which is good.

Q: Which did you want to be first, a writer or a director?

Probably a director, I find writing can be tedious.

Q: Can you imagine being one without the other?

Yeah, I could be a director without being a writer, but I couldn’t be a writer without directing it. Because I’d be like, that’s not how it is. I’m too much of an egomaniac.

Q: As you’ve watched the script play out have you made any changes to the original?

No, not really. The odd line here or there, because I don’t know street speak as much as I’d like to. The odd line, but that’s it.

Q: How did you go about casting the film?

It was quite difficult because of what the parts call for, it’s intensive. It’s an emotional journey. First of all we’d meet everyone and we’d start doing a bit of improve, then on the next meeting we’d go through the script, break it down. There was a lot of different processes, to make sure that they; one were comfortable in what I wanted to do and I was comfortable in what they wanted to do.

Q: What would you like viewers to take from Cherry Tree Lane?

I approached the film with a very definite thought process, but I don’t think people who watch this film need me to tell them what to think. I’d encourage people to watch it, and draw their own conclusions.

Q: There are some violent scenes in the film…

No there’s not! There’s violent scenes around the film. I don’t think it’s that violent at all.

Q: Implied violence then… did you find these hard to direct?

I think sometimes they were difficult, but then when you see somebody in distress, obviously performing in distress, it can be quite difficult. You’ve got to try and do it as sensitively and as professionally as possible.

Q: You’re now on the last day of the shoot, how do you think it’s gone?

Long. Just intense, so intense being in such a small place for so long. By the time tomorrow morning comes, it’ll be an adjustment to go back to normal life. I’ve got shit loads of bills and crap I’ve got to fix at home. Thank the lord for coco pops.

Q: What were the greatest challenges on set?

All being in the same location! Having twenty people in one single room! Which is incredibly claustrophobic. It’s good for the film, but it’s stifling and it’s hard to concentrate when you’ve got fifteen voices going on.

Q: The location you’re shooting in is in north London, which happens to be very close to your home, was that coincidence?

It’s 100% coincidence. We did look at other places, but this was just the best one.

Q: Over the last few years there has been quite a lot of press around gang violence and street crime. How relevant is this film to that agenda?

I think that will be up for other people to judge how relevant it is. I think this is just an eighty minute story and, I think if anything, hopefully it highlights the difference between the lack of understanding between both class and generation with a lot of people. Also, the desensitisation of some of the youth today, where nothing really means anything anymore, good or bad.

Q: Do you think Cherry Tree Lane is as relevant to audiences outside the UK?

It’s a story, it’s not a statement. It’s not trying to cast light or exercise a judgment on someone. It’s just like a moment. It would translate anywhere.

Q: How hard it is to have an independent film made in the UK today?

As hard as you want it to be. It depends what you want to make. Making films is not easy. Look at the state of me, I’m knackered

If you’ve read all of that, then you’re good little minions and I shall reward you with the location and time of the free screening of Cherry Tree Lane which will be showing at The Alibi in Dalston on Monday 6 September 2010. The doors open at 8 pm and the film starts at 9 pm. If you aren’t able to make it, then rest assured, I’ve worked my magic and the movie will be available on DVD from the 13th of September 2010.  See, even horror can be kind.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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