Watching a film about two old buddies tha just got retired doesn’t sound too exciting, really. Knowing one of those guys is a retired assassin, well, we’re stirring things up a bit. Realizing they’re both retired assassins. Now we’re in trouble.
An interesting film requires an interesting idea. Surely an interesting idea requires an interesting filmmaker…
Here’s Charlie Lilly:
There is an ad in a newspaper with your photo in it. What does it say?
A young upcoming writer/director, Charlie Lilly, uses his love for genre cinema to talk about his generation in his new feature film.
When it comes to complexity and difficulty of producing an art work filmmaking is very close to the top. What makes the whole journey, often unpleasant, worthwhile for you?
I have often heard directors and producers refer to the filmmaking process as high level problem solving and I couldn’t agree more. No matter how much you plan or prepare for a shoot things will always go wrong, but actually sometimes things going awry on set can be a blessing in disguise; having to think up a quick solution on your feet often leads to a new idea that is better than the original one. Sometimes what you thought was going to be your masterpiece turns into a rough draft so bad it makes you physically ill, and you think all the long hours spent shooting have been a waste. What makes filmmaking magical to me is to then bring creativity and new ideas and turn what at first appears like an irredeemable mess into something you’re not only proud of, but has even exceeded what you’d first imagined.
Why this film?
I’ve always liked the idea of normalising larger than life jobs that people might have. The concept behind this short comes from a simple question; what happens to a hitman when he retires? Does he still get leaving cards, and drinks at the pub? The film starts with a working class hitman retiring and taking his friend for some drinks in the pub before going on holiday with his wife. It’s a comedy-crime that doesn’t want to be a parody – it follows the visual tropes and beats of a crime genre film. Although there’s plenty of humour and over the top violence, the film also has emotional moments – my hope is for the audience to feel like the characters are real, relatable people.
You have unlimited budget, green light for your dream project and can cast anyone you want...
My dream project would be to make a British hangout movie like Dazed and Confused where the audience gets to know and love the characters, to then bring in an unexpected horror element half way through. Too often characters in horror feel like cannon fodder, eliminating the tension and the drama from the killing – I want the audience to be genuinely terrified because they don’t want to see the characters they’ve grown attached to getting picked off one by one. I envision it as Richard Linklater meets From Dusk Till Dawn but (the threat being something a little more grounded than an army of vampires). I think that would be a truly terrifying experience. I’d like to cast young, British actors such as Will Poulter, John Boyega and Letitia Wright who are naturally likable and charming but have shown extreme flexibility when it comes down to acting, excelling in different genres and styles.
What are your future goals regarding filmmaking?
My future goal regarding filmmaking is to start making features. I want to one day be seen as the director who brought the public’s eye back to Britain and its culture, hopefully starting a new wave of big budget original British storytelling. European and British cinema has an enormous pool of talent for films that too often is relegated to small releases. In the past, films such as Babylon, The Long Good Friday and Alfie brought British culture of their time into the mainstream - but I feel like there’s been a gap since then and my generation has been mostly represented in American films, which while great can’t represent exactly the same experience as my own.
The Trouble Wiht Retirement will be screened in all its’ glory on the Streatham Space Project’s big screen 11.6. at 19.30. Well, that’s when the door opens, the screenings will start at 20.00 so you have a time for a quick pint.
Tickets HERE so you won’t be left standing outside. (They’re also available on the door but they’re a quid cheaper online. Just sayin’)