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Monday, 30 March 2015

Interview With Harry McQueen Hinterland



With the release of Indie film Hinterland On Demand today, David Martin chats to Writer, Director and Star Harry McQueen...

The thing I love about Independent films is that they are totally unrestricted of everything but the writers core idea. Whilst there are problems associated with Indie's, mostly attributed to marketing and budgeting restriction, it is possible to produce a stunning film that really takes your breath away. Hinterland is such a film and please read my review here to read more about just why I believe this to be the case. Having watched the film I was relishing the opportunity to speak to Harry McQueen about what I had discovered. This is the wonderful side of what I do and with Independent films the ability to speak to the person or people that produced it is always a pleasure. 



"Harry, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me today. Can you tell me a little bit about how Hinterland came about?

Thanks David and yeah of course. Hinterland is a film that explores key themes for me. Family values which are challenged by events beyond our control, childhood friendships and passionate re connections exploring emotions that are difficult to put into words. Hinterland was filmed with a very small production team so the intimacy you hopefully see on screen was very much a naturally occurring thing. Lori and I work shopped the film for a couple of months and although some of the scenes were scripted there is a lot of ad lib and reaction that just happened. I wanted to make a film that didn't just tick boxes which is always the problem when you are getting funding from an organisation. I didn't want to approach the BBC or anyone else because I didn't want the film to be diluted or altered from my original idea. It doesn't always happen but it can certainly be a danger.

There's something about Harvey that made me immediately warm to him, right from the first scene. What was your original idea for his character?

That's kind of you to say, Harvey is a real sweetheart isn't he? He really wants to help and support Lola and thinks the best way he can do that is to take her back to the place where they shared family holidays. She's just found out something really traumatic and has been forced to return from a different country and support her mum. Even if its only for a weekend, he wants to take her away from the pain and make her laugh again. I wanted to show Harvey's lifestyle, he's a writer and is very organised and still living with his mum. He kinda contrasts with Lola's adventurous and free spirited nature yet their relationship still works. He goes to pick Lola up and has everything planned, not in a controlling way but in a gentle guiding sort of way. Harvey is still driving the same car that Lola fondly remembers and he is a little bit resistant to change but admires Lola's character and travelling experiences. I also thought it was important that it was clear that Harvey is in love with Lola but not in a heavy handed way. It's conveyed in looks and with emotion that doesn't often show itself in words.

Yes its really powerful, your performance is very much in they eyes, full of emotion, and even in the scenes where its light hearted there is an intensity to the performance.

Thank you, I'm glad that came across but yes Harvey isn't shy but hes more considered and thinks, perhaps too much, where as Lola is more of an impulsive person. She has broken up with her boyfriend, who was in a band, and has lost her way a little. She is really torn up by her fathers betrayal and really needs to connect with a happier time in her life. Harvey gives her that and by going back to Cornwall it rekindles their friendship.

The Cornish scenery is a tremendous choice for a location. The scenes where Harvey and Lola are on the beach are so striking and it really seems to contrast with the busyness of London.

That's what we wanted to show. The two families spent many holidays in this part of the country and they know the area well. The familiarly of their surroundings means that both Harvey and Lola are more at ease. They do have moments where they are talking seriously about life and what has happened but there are also a lot of memories that they both have to share. The wide shot beach scene was shot at Damer Bay and I'm really pleased it comes across well. Its a beautiful area.

The film builds to the camp fire scene where Lola shares that she doesn't believe in one person for life anymore, its absolutely tragic but at the same time a really close emotional scene for them. I wanted to scream at Harvey, just tell he you love her!

That was definitely what i wanted and yes its a pivotal scene. Harvey is getting closer to Lola and she can feel it but the hurt she feels is just too much and her admission really does hit him hard. They have shared and revisited memories together and got closer again but she isn't ready to settle down. Shes kinda lost her direction a bit but she is a free spirit and is desperate to find her feet again. She doesn't mean to hurt Harvey and shes confiding in him as a friend, a really close friend. I wanted to show that they were still close which is why they share a bath afterwards to warm up from the cold.

The bath scene manages to be warm, emotional and yet totally not sexual at all, its totally in keeping with the friendship you've shown so far. I have to congratulate you on being only the second film maker to use the ice cream desert Knicker Bocker Glory in a film.
Really? what was the other film? Its something they shared at the restaurant they used to visit back in their childhood. Although its now boarded up just going to look round the outside brought back further memories and I wanted to show shared intimacy again. Its a lovely warm and fun moment that is what the weekend is all about for them.

Considering this is Lori's first acting role in a film she gives a wonderful natural performance, how did you develop such an effective and believable relationship for the film?

Lori and I actually lived together for a couple of months so we could really get to know each other. We chatted and spent time together so that when we came to shoot Hinterland the performance wasn't forced. I don't think you can manufacture a relationship that's supposed to be that close and its difficult with such a short time to shoot. Because we knew each other really well it was easier to transfer that onto the screen. There is an ease to the relationship you see with Harvey and Lola which needed to believable or the film just wouldn't have worked. When you think we shot Hinterland in 13 days it really is a challenge to build that sort of level of relationship so I'm really glad it worked for you.

The final scenes at the party where Lola is waiting for Harvey are really intense. We know that he is driving and the tears running down his cheeks indicate it isn't to the party. When she finally leaves she looks devastated. What images did you want to end the film on?

Both Lola and Harvey have changed through the course of the film. They've kind of passed each other and inspired something different. Harvey is perhaps going off on his own journey, he has left his room clear and taken his laptop and books. I guess he realises he needs to find who he really is, I guess that's a common problem with people who are in their twenties. Lola has realised she likes Harvey in her life and he has provided her with a level of stability. She doesn't want to lose her free spirit but shes changed as well. The light show that she is watching at the party is real as well, performed by a dancer who has her neon lighted costume wired up to the heartbeat of her partner. It might not have been obvious but it was a really beautiful image and statement for Hinterland and also Harvey and Lola. So yeah, unanswered questions but I didn't really want to tie everything up it just need to be a little more open ended.

Thank you for chatting to me today Harry, I really hope that people want to see the film when its released and wish you every success.


No problem David, I don't mind if people see the film and don't like it, its lovely to hear that people do and its resonated with them. I think the bigger tragedy would be if its not seen at all."

Hinterland is released in cinemas and On Demand on now and you can get your copy using the links below:


itunes

Amazon Prime
BlinkBox

David Martin is a firm believer in wider reading but also spends his time watching horror films and going to the theatre. He has been known to venture outside but prefers worlds he can imagine. Follow him on Twitter at @ventspleen2014

Photos from Hinterland and Harry McQueen

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