No definitely, although I do know that a lot of early noir films took influence from I believe German Expressionism?
It just goes to show how film is a worldwide medium where everything feeds each other. And one thing about Serenity that is cool is that it’s different from the usual body of work you’re known for. You’ve done a lot of crime narratives for example, and though this does have that element to it, it focuses more on the mystery aspects than the hard-boiled stuff. Was that something intentional on your part?
Yeah, I tried not do what I did last time, you know what I mean? And I try in general to explore lots of different things. With this, I wanted to establish a conventional story and then subvert it and see how far I could go with that. So always, when I direct a film, it tends to be one that is a bit of challenge.
Going back earlier to you coming from a writer’s perspective, this is a film that relies on, as you said, an unconventional story, as well as plot twists. Now, the plot twist is one of those storytelling elements that can go either way- it can make a film really good or significantly worse. What is your approach to incorporating plot twists? What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to use them in their potential stories?
You have to be bold and do it. It’s difficult to know if it’s going to work in advance, but I believe you have to go over it. I quite like not setting up surprises- I think that there is this tradition in film where there is going to be a surprise, so you feel obliged to set it up so that it doesn’t look like a mistake. And I’m keen that a surprise in a movie should be a genuine one, and although I’ve put some clues along the way before the twists, I try to keep those to a minimum so that it genuinely is a surprise.
That’s true, one of the problems these days, because we have so many movies now, is that it can be hard to surprise people. So that is a good approach for this aspect of filmmaking.
I just had one last question sir. People absolutely love Peaky Blinders. World War I seems to be making a comeback in general with Battlefield 1, Wonder Woman, and Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, but of course Peaky Blinders helped start this trend of interest in that era. We know that the next series is set to come out sometime in 2019. Is there anything you can share about it sir?
Yeah, we’re just finishing filming, the shoot finishes on January 26th, and then we will be on screens at some point in 2019, and then when it hits Netflix I don’t know. But yeah, it’s been a phenomenon, in the States and Britain and South America and Africa and all over the world. It’s been a big surprise to me the extent of its success.
Absolutely, you more than deserve the credit for that because you have had consistently great writing over the years, and I’m happy that your foray into directing has been as successful. I wish you the best of luck in your future career. Thank you so much again for taking the time to speak with me.
Thank you, thank you.
From the creative mind of Oscar nominee, Steven Knight comes a daringly original, sexy, stylized thriller. Baker Dill (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her – and their young son – from her new, violent husband (Jason Clarke) by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead. Karen’s appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he’d tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.
Flickering Myth would like to thank Steven Knight for sitting down with us. Serenity is out in theaters in North America now and opens in the UK on March 1st.
Special thanks to Chloe Lauter of Newhouse PR for making this interview possible!