4. Publicity Contacts
5. Production Notes
6. Filmmakers' Notes
- Charles Lambert
- Will Gould
8. Suggested Publicity Angles
9. Principle Cast and Crew Question and Answers
- James Layton
- Leila Lloyd-Evelyn
- Lee Williams
- Charles Lambert
- Will Gould
A CHARLES LAMBERT PRODUCTION
RUNNING TIME: APPROX 80 MINUTES
COMPLETION DATE: SPRING 2000
UK CONTACT: Tel +44 (0) 7711 420 561 Fax +44 (0) 207 266 0207
Back to top
A CHARLES LAMBERT PRODUCTION
AND NARRATED BY BOY GEORGE
HAIR AND MAKE UP DESIGNER
MUSIC COMPOSED AND CONDUCTED BY
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
SCREENPLAY ADAPTED BY
AND MATTHEW READ
BASED ON A PLAY BY
Back to top
ONCE UPON A TIME, not so very long ago, in a little village called
Kromer lived Seth and Gabriel, two beautiful young wolves. Their
appearance is essentially human, except for pointed ears, coats of fur
and fine bushy tails. Seth is a newcomer and Gabriel, a more
experienced and cocksure wolf, is taking him under his paw - there is a
spark between them.
Nearby in Broome Hall, Fanny, a wicked old maid, and her goofy
accomplice Doreen are plotting to murder their mistress, Mrs Drax. In
the dead of night, they administer the fatal dose, wheel their dying
mistress into the woods and frame the wolves for the crime.
Stirred up by the local priest, Mrs Drax's son leads a torch-bearing mob in pursuit of the wolves...
Who will live happily ever after: Maids or Wolves?
Back to top
Most British films never see the light of day, let alone low budget features - the odds are stacked against you.
The Wolves of Kromer was shot in four weeks for £37,000. Amazingly,
Discodog Productions have secured cinema release for The Wolves in
eight countries, including the UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Canada,
Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Screened at select film festivals last year, it was picked up by
distributors and premiers in the USA and Canada in Novembe r 2000 and
in the UK in 2002.
Back to top
For further information, interview requests and videos, please contact:
Katie Collins +44 207 494 6012 or Fergus Gilroy +44 207 266 0207
Back to top
The Wolves of Kromer is where Agatha Christie meets the Brothers Grimm.
It is both black comedy and love story and it is from these surprising
juxtapositions that the film derives its vitality and unique sparkle.
The dual narrative switches between the maids as they plot to kill
their mistress, Mrs Drax, and the developing relationship between the
two young wolves. The maids' initial bungling of the murder brings a
more conventional set of characters onto the scene in the shape of Mrs
Drax's son and his family.
The exciting diversity of the characters and the lively narrative are
matched by the rich look and texture of the film. Here again contrasts
are to the fore. The young stars appear urbane, clubby and glamorous,
talking a contemporary patois, living contemporary issues, but the
world they inhabit is far from the metropolis. It is in fact a timeless
world of hills and valleys, waterfalls and lakes; moonlit love scenes
beside rivers and amidst woodlands. This idyllic landscape may also be
seen in stark contrast to the witchy, drab and dungeonous atmosphere
conjured for the maids through skilful set design and cinematography.
Discodog Productions is a young European company dedicated to
cutting-edge and dynamic script-driven film and television projects.
Discodog Productions stands for originality and creative imagination,
with a keen commercial eye.
The team has been brought together by Charles Lambert, graduate of the
screen-writing MA at East Anglia University. For The Wolves of Kromer
Discodog has brought in twenty-two year old director Will Gould,
University of East Anglia film graduate, and National Film School
cinematographer and editor, Laura Remacha and Carol Salter. The score
has been composed by Basil Moore-Asfouri, student of Conservatorio di
Bologna under Ennio Morricone.
The experienced British cast, including Angharad Rees (of the hugely
successful BBC series Poldark), Rita Davies (Monty Python's Holy Grail)
and Margaret Towner (Star Wars Prequel), are joined by two models, Lee
Williams and James Layton, who give powerful performances in their
debut roles. There is a cameo by former Cabinet Minister, John Biffen,
and narration by Boy George.
The eighty minute feature film was shot in four weeks. It has been sold
to eight countries for cinema release and premiers nationwide in the
USA in November 2000 and in the UK in January 2001.
CHARLES LAMBERT writer/producer
Back to top
The Wolves of Kromer is a very personal project. I was studying for an
MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. It was the
final day of the Spring Term. In the morning I received a call from a
director commissioning my first play for the Studio Theatre in Norwich.
In the afternoon I received a call from my mother from a hospital in
London where she had just been diagnosed as having cancer of the
pancreas with three months to live.
The following weeks were spent writing in her room in the Marsden
Hospital and then finally at our house in Shropshire. I never finished
the play in time for it to be performed in Norwich.
After my mother died I realised I would probably have to sell the
family house. I was determined to write and make a film that would
capture its memory and dedicate that film to my parents. That winter I
discussed it with Will Gould, who agreed that locations in Shropshire
would work well. Ultimately, most of the film was shot inside the house
and on the land around it. My mother died in Mrs.Drax's bedroom.
I am now coming to the end of a PhD in Scriptwriting at UEA. The
practical experience of making the film as part of my studies has
served to ground the critical and theoretical sections. From a personal
point of view it has been an industry driven out of grief. Now it's
time to move on, it's very comforting that the film exists as a link
with the past.
It was January '97 and Will Gould was directing a short in Spain.
Torrential rain, the worst they had experienced for forty years, was
hampering the shoot. I remember one evening sitting with Will and
Matthew Read (Wolves co-adapter) in the kitchen of a small farm house,
huddled around a dying fire. Cold, damp and with no electricity. We
were bicker ing about whose turn it was to go outside and cut some more
wood. So the conversation comes round to what the next project might
be… It was a bizarre moment. We all turned to each other and the same
thought was on all of our minds. It had to be The Wolves.
The film has been written, directed, shot, edited and produced by
graduates from UEA and the National Film School, both renowned as
Britain's premier breeding ground for young talent.
I had seen a series of Will's shorts and was very impressed. I was
bowled over by his vision and innovation. The rushes from his Spanish
film were stunning, despite the el nino conditions. His ability to make
a story work under the most challenging circumstances, combined with
his innate talent, made him an obvious choice.
Rumours had been circulating about this incredibly gifted New Zealand
cinematographer in her final year at the Film School. A slight
maverick, Laura Remacha is always up for trying something in a novel
manner, something new. At every stage of production, from script
development to the final editing, we were trying to create something
completely different and fresh. Laura fitted the bill perfectly. She
has done an outstanding job with the film.
We showed an editing agency the rushes. To our delight every editor who
saw it was captivated and excited to do the job. I was determined to
find someone with experience, who was sensitive and who understood the
different levels of the story. Carol Salter was the clear choice.
As with any independent production you go through difficult moments.
However, there were a bewildering range of people from all walks of
life who were prepared to offer their services on a deferment basis.
The universal appeal of young love battling against the hypocrisy of an
older generation, echoing the timeless story of Romeo and Juliet struck
a chord. The star of the hugely successful BB C series Poldark,
Angharad Rees, was so attracted to the script that we secured her in a
leading role. The former Conservative member of parliament, Lord
Biffen, offered to play himself. His wife in the film is played by the
well-known theatre actress, the Honourable Venetia Laing. We have also
received incredible support from the local community in Shropshire
where it was filmed. The pop icon Boy George is the narrator.
For most of us this has been our first feature, though none of us were
alien to the film making process. It was exciting to see the directions
people are already moving off in. At the time of writing our two lead
wolves James Layton and Lee Williams, on the strength of taking round a
tape of their wolf rushes, have been picked up by two of London's most
I am very grateful to all those established in the business who have
taken an enormous amount of time and trouble to help realise our
vision. I think that when they see the finished product they will feel
pleased with the results.
WILL GOULD director
Back to top
Essentially, it's a love story. Like Titanic. Except with wolves. And
no boat. And that's what attracted me to Charles' script: a story that
played out the simplest of emotions - love - in a fresh, original way.
I've made a number of shorts before, but as a feature this was the
ideal project to jump in at the deep end…or was I pushed?
Like all low-budget features, there was an element of the
'to-hell-and-back' and 'I'm-never-ever-ever-doing-this-again-ever'
feeling during shooting, but a great cast and crew (all, graciously, on
deferred payment) really pulled through for me. Occasionally I even
smile when I remember those four weeks in the valley. Only very
Off-beat scripts are also harder to command because nobody really has
an idea of what the outcome will be. With a strict genre piece people
have expectations, and, as a director, there are rules and guidelines
you either follow or consciously deviate from. The Wolves, thankfully,
seems to have found its own little world, and peculiar though it is, I
think we all relate to it in one way or another. The old order vs. the
new order, the hypocrisy of the respectable, and, most prominently, the
boy-meets-boy l ove story. It's an old story, but it's a good one.
SUGGESTED PUBLICITY ANGLES
Back to top
LOW BUDGET FEATURE OVERCOMES THE ODDS
Against all odds micro budget student feature gets worldwide distribution.
First-time producer Charles Lambert chooses twenty one year old director, Will Gould on strength of his student short films.
Casting in London with no money problematic - agents take it seriously
until they ask to see Lambert's track record and budget, then the calls
are no longer returned.
One agency, however, comes through with incredible wicked old maids and model agencies supply the two leads
Shot on location at produc er's home village in stunning English/Welsh
countryside, the thirty five strong crew and twelve principle actors
lived, worked and slept on top of each other for four weeks.
Exploding generators, national service companies pulling key locations
because convinced 'The Wolves' was hard core porn, broken down vehicles
etc were all overcome………..to get film in the can.
Lack of money means a year's delay until a vid cassette of rough cut is ready.
Los Angeles Outfest Festival agrees to screen film from vid-cassette
projector and wins prestigious Directors Guild of America for Director,
Variety reviews film in US "..executed with considerable elan." Cult following predicted.
Further delay as a number of sales needed to finance final work on the
film - cinema distribution in eight countries, including UK and US set
up, but sales agent goes into liquidation.
The Wolves of Kromer's success is testament to the vision and
determination of Lambert to see a life long dream come to fruition in
the face of what most would have seen as insurmountable hurdles.
The UK is still one of the most difficult countries to get a film off
the ground in, with 77% of all films made here receiving no
The Wolves is a fantasy tale of murder and prejudice, that uplifts at
its end, leaving its audience thought-provoked and hopefully better
people. It was the script that attracted virtually everyone to the
project. "I wanted to write about prejudice in a different way, that
no-one had seen before, that would actually have the audience behave
differently when they left. …"
"No-one would finance the film two years ago. Lottery were scathing of
the script ("Script is deft, with more than a few pin sharp lines."
Variety 7/98), so I had to beg and borrow enough to hire a camera and
everyone worked for deferred fees."
Commercially, Lambert and his cast and crew now know their foresight
and hard work has been worth it. Agent s that wouldn't return Lambert's
calls when the project was in pre-production have had to be turned
away, now the film is completed.
The film was awarded a major US award for Outstanding Emerging talent
and has won distribution in eight countries. New international sales
agent has recently taken on the film which promises further worldwide
sales on TV, cable and video.
Lambert is already involved in three projects for 2001, but remains
philosophical "Getting your first film off the ground is a big a
challenge as I can imagine; it's worth it, but never underestimate what
it takes… you've got to want it more than anything else in the world."
MODEL TURNED HELICOPTER PILOT LANDS LEAD ROLE
James Layton was one of Models 1's most successful male models, fronting campaigns for Versace, Gucci and Donna Karan.
Landing a plum lead in Discodog's first feature film The Wolves,
beginning a career in film hadn't been high on his agenda, but flying
Acting came easily to James "The transition from catwalk to front of
the film camera was a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be - I
was quite nervous at first - but it was a brilliant script and everyone
seemed to have total confidence in me, which made it a lot easier".
First-time producer Charles Lambert auditioned over 50 hopefuls from
London's top model agencies, before finding James. "He was perfect for
the role and although James hadn't acted before he was very natural
from the start - his character really began to come alive in the video
of his auditon."
Will Gould - The Wolves' 21 year old director - adds "I'd love to direct James again; he's a very versatile actor."
Will James pursue a career in acting? "Helicopters have always been my
passion, but my goal is now to be a stunt pilot and fly helicopters in
Hollywood. The Wolves of Kromer was an amazing experience and I want to
pursue film - just in the air and not on the ground!"
OLD IS WHERE IT'S AT - TWO OLD LADIES LAND LEAD ROLES IN BRITISH HIT
Not since Arsenic and Old Lace have two female leads been cast in their seventies.
'The Wolves of Kromer' is Charles Lambert's Discodog Productions' first
feature film and stars two old maids who murder their mistress and
frame two innocent wolves for the crime… It's a tale of lust, greed,
murder, betrayal and sexuality and the two leads are in their…
Lambert, 32, also wrote the screenplay to the film. 'I grew up in a
community with a lot f older people and have always felt that the older
generations are not properly represented in society. I wanted to write
a film where I could cast at least two older people in the leads in a
completely unconventional way - basically, we're all the same, old ,
young, good, bad and I wanted 'The Wolves' to be a real leveller. I
think it's worked. Old people are where it's at - they've been through
it and come out the other side..'
Margaret Towner, who you last saw in Star Wars - The Phantom Menace and
worked on The Wolves for deferred fees, leapt at the offer of the part
of Fanny 'it was so unconventional and fun - this as not the sort of
role I get offered very often and it was far too interesting to turn
MIZZ MODELS IN FILM SHOCKER
Two former favourite Mizz models, James Layton and Lee Williams (the
face of French Connection), are currently appearing in the fantasy
fairytale movie, The Wolves of Kromer.
Lee and James play 2 wolves set up for a murder they didn't commit.
Things get complicated because they fall in love and end up kissing
each other (which they said was a bit odd…)and Lee also falls for
Polly, played b y gorgeous Leila Lloyd-Evelyn.
'It's a brilliant film though and kissing Lee wasn't sooo bad. It's all
about lust and greed and murder, sexuality and betrayal - it's
brilliant!' says luscious James.
So will these two love gods be returning to the pages of Mizz?
Unfortunately not: Lee is concentrating on acting (you'll have seen him
in Channel 4's "Boyz Unlimited", "Elephant Juice" and the critically
acclaimed "Inverted Cannon") and James is off to Hollywood when he
finishes his helicopter pilot's course I a few months. 'Helicopters
have always been my passion and I'm going to be a stunt pilot in LA.'
Which means we'll be seeing a lot more of him on our screens…
PRINCIPAL CAST & CREW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
JAMES LAYTON - 'Gabriel'
Back to top
1. Was this out of the bl ue or was acting something you'd been thinking about moving into?
It was definitely something that I wanted to do, but I never had the
self-confidence to go into it directly. I expect that had the chance
never come up, I would never have got into it in any way. I could have
been involved in stage productions at school, but I was never
interested in stage. I've always found the idea of the repetition of
theatre very bizarre, a bit like 'groundhog day' and often too surreal.
I love the fact that with films, you can put it all down in two or
three takes and then you never have to do it again. If I had to do the
same scenes every day, I think I'd go mad.
2. How did it start / how did you get into it?
I was modelling before and had been for a few years. I was literally
asked if I was interested in casting for a film, but few details were
given to me by the agency. When I arrived at the casting, I was asked
if I minded playing a gay part and I said I didn't. Some others had
simply left. I read for it and received a recall a few days later. I
read again, with Lee this time, and was offered the lead part later the
3. How did you enjoy making the film?
It was fantastic. I don't think the reality of it set in until the day
I arrived in Wales at the set and even then, everyone was so easy
going, that I didn't feel under any pressure. For the fist few scenes I
was incredibly nervous and couldn't relax at all, but it didn't take
long to get into it. Being around experienced people helped a lot.
Overall, I think it's got to have been one of the best experiences of
my life. Even if I never do it again, I can always say I played the
lead role in a film!
4. What did you think about the script?
It was totally differ ent to how the film actually turned out and I had to
read it a few times to really get it. It wasn't something I'd tried to do
before and it's amazing how different things are on paper and how much it
takes to turn it all into a film. I was a bit worried about how I'd handle
the more cheesy parts, but when it came to the crunch, they made sense and
they seemed to fit into it all quite well. They're supposed to be taken with
a pinch of salt!
5. How was it kissing another bloke when you're not gay?
I wasn't overly thrilled about it, to say the least, but my girlfriend
was on the set and just took the piss out of me relentlessly! If you
act, you act, it's a simple as that. You're playing someone else, so in
my eyes, if that's what it requires, no problem.
6. What did you like most about the film?
The atmosphere on set. I grew up around the film industry with my mum
and dad both working in TV and film. My uncle also directs and writes.
We are very similar and are close as a result and having spoken to him
about it since, I have found out that it is secretly something th at he
wanted to have a go at, but like me, never really had the faith in
himself. The atmosphere was like it had been when I was with my dad and
uncle an sets in the past. There's usually a great feeling of
camaraderie, and sometimes a serious tension. In those times, you
either have to try and liven things up, or just keep yourself to
yourself. Judge the situation.
7. What are your plans to get into stunt helicopter flying in LA?
I learned to fly aeroplanes and helicopters since the film and wanted a
skill behind me. Devoting your life to acting is a serious risk to take
and I wanted to be able to do something that I enjoyed that I could
take back into the film industry with me. I love the idea of flying
helicopters for film just because of the versatility of the job. To be
able to still work in
that environment doing something as fun as flying helicopters would be
ideal. I would love to act again and it would be a fantastic career,
and possibly take helicopters with me. J.R.Ewing managed it in 'Deadly
Encounter' and got to do some fantastic helicopter work as well! That
would be great!
8. How di d you get into flying helicopters?
For my 21st birthday present, my dad gave me a flying lesson with a
friend of his. We went up and I flew and we did a few aerobatics. At
the time, a friend was learning to fly light aeroplanes and I had just
moved out of London, back to my parents house and had some money saved
up. I just decided to learn to fly. Once I'd got my license, I decided
to take it further and go for my commercial license. I didn't want to
be an airline pilot though and, apart from instructing, there weren't
many opportunities. I've always been fascinated with helicopters and
there was a helicopter company next door to us at the airfield. I went
up for a trial lesson and was hooked immediately. I then went off to do
my commercial license on helicopters instead.
9. What's been your closest shave with death?
A guy that I was teaching to fly closed the throttle on me at 2,500 ft!
We were practising engine failures. There is a strict routine to keep
it safe. I called an engine failure and in moments of pressure,
especially when people are still quite new to something, they do the
wrong thing. Normally the student sets it up in the glide and the n the
instructor rolls off the throttle. This time, he rolled off the
throttle by mistake before setting it up. In situations like that in
small helicopters , you've got about 1.3 seconds to get the lever
beside you down before the blades stall and fold up. Then it's game
over! Luckily I managed to get the lever down, in fact I nearly put it
through the floor from doing it so hard! You'd be surprised how quickly
you can react if you need to! I certainly was! There was a moment of
silence and we just dropped for a second, and then it all came back to
life as the blades sped up again. The poor guy went green and was
shaking so much that he couldn't fly it anymore. I think we ended up
with the giggles on the way back, purely from nerves. It really shook
10. When you're on the pull do you tell girls you're an actor or a pilot?
I don't think either work that well. If you tell them you're an actor,
they want to know which Hollywood films you've been in. That's usually
enough to end it there. If you tell them you're a helicopter pilot,
they just want to go up in one and then get fed up. I think I probably
end up waffling on about helicopters!
11. What would be your ideal role?
I like to think I'd be able to do a 'Midnight Express' type role or
'Paris, Texas'. Something gritty and raw where you have to be a really
great actor to do it. It would be insanely intense trying to do that
and incredibly testing, but I love the idea of it. I'd love to do stuff
from 'Schindlers' List' through to 'Dead Poets Society' and 'Boogie
Nights' which is one of my all time favourites.
12. What female lead would you most like to play opposite?
I suppose it depends for what reason! I can think of plenty that I'd
like to be in the same room as, Cameron Diaz for example! I expect it
would be the same list as most guys.
13. Is life as a model all about girls and glamour? What's it really like being a top model?
Modelling is definitely not glamorous, unless you're right at the top.
If you're not, you get treated like an accessory. I'm really stubborn
after a while. I can take so much and be polite and reserved and then I
get fed up and dig my heels in. I don't think that's a great attribute
for a job where you really need to be able to grit your teeth and get
on with it. I'm more mature about it all now and have a much more
relaxed attitude towards it.
14. Is there a lot of work for stunt pilots in LA?
I think there is a lot of helicopter work for films in America in
general, but it's quite a closed market. It tends to be done by the
same people all the time and once a director has worked with a guy that
they get on with and who does the job well, they will tend to stick
with the same person. It's difficult to get into and people always try
and put you off, but it's not impossible and you just have to
persevere. A bit like any job that a lot of people want to do.
LEILA LLOYD-EVELYN - 'Polly' ;
Back to top
1. How did you hear about the film?
One of the writers, Matthew Read, had asked to see another actress on my agent's books and they also put me forward for Polly.
2. What were you doing beforehand?
I'd just finished a production of Jean Anouilh's 'Restless Heart' at Riverside Studios.
3. What did you like most about the film?
My favourite aspect of the film is its off beat sense of humour.
Peculiarly English! It's great that it's going down so well at the
festivals in the States - I'd always heard that our quirky sense of
humour didn't travel so well.
4. Do you prefer performing on screen or in the theatre?
I love film but I think for most actors trained in England, it's much
easier to perform on stage: the majority of our drama schools focus on
creating great stage performances. On screen there isn't really the
same opportunity as there is in theatre to find out what works and what
doesn't. I was really impressed by Kate Winslet in 'Holy Smoke.' She's
so at home in front of the camera. I'd love to be able to give screen
performances which were as strong and gutsy as that.
5. Was 'The Wolves' your first main feature?
Yes, in fact 'The Wolves' was my first feature full stop.
6. What was it like acting opposite two of the hottest models on the block?
I hate getting too drawn into the whole body glamour thing, but then on
the other hand, it was good fun working with the wolves… James is
really lovely and unaffected and let's face it, it's always great to be
around beautiful people, isn't it?!!
7. What would your ideal role be?
You know, the crazy thing is I really don't have an ideal role. I love
it when I get the chance to surprise myself. My favourite roles are
always feisty and extrovert, but it'd be so dull if that's all I did.
Ultimately, I think others are probably a better judge of what I can
best bring to different roles than I am!
8. What lead would you most like to play opposite?
Johnny Depp! It's not just an 'oh-my-god-he's-so-gorgeous' thing
(honest… but it does help!) but in la-la land he's my first choice. I
really admire the way he never goes for the easy options - he brings
this lovely vulnerable quality to his roles… I just don't think you see
that very often in men on screen. I always look forward to his films
and always go and see them.
9. Why were you drawn to your character?
She's so stroppy! She's got such a great mind of her own - I love her!
10. What was it like working on a low budget film?
As far as I'm concerned - no problem. I don't think we suffered at all,
except that you don't get to do as many takes as you can on a bigger
budget. The best bit of it was getting the chance to stay for a month
in a really beautiful part of Britain, which I wouldn't normally do.
LEE WILLIAMS - 'Seth'
Back to top
1. How were you scouted for The Wolves of Kromer?
I didn't have an acting agent at that time, but a mutual friend recommended me to the producer.
2. What led you to take the part of Seth?
I read the script and I was really, really moved. I was in tears and
that night I slept with it under my pillow. I really wanted the part of
3. How did you find filming in a drafty country house in the middle of
a Shropshire valley after the glamour of a career in modelling?
It was sometimes a bit of a challenge! I had to get friends of mine to
send me parcels of food to survive. No seriously, it was all part of
the fun of low budget film-making.
4. You're now committed to a career in acting. How's it going?
Really well. I was able to use my performance in "The Wolves of Kromer"
to get a great agent and I've been doing a steady stream of TV and
feature work since. There's been "Boyz Unlimited" for Channel 4 and
some features included the critically acclaimed "Inverted Cannon " as
well as the Amy Jenkins project, "Elephant Juice". You can see me now
as the face of French Connection TV.
5. Did you always want to be an actor?
I started acting when I was at school, but then went to Central St
Martins to study for a degree in fashion and put acting on hold. After
a few years modelling I really wanted to get back into acting and I
guess with The Wolves of Kromer it was a case of being in the right
place at the right time. It really worked out.
6. You studied fashion for a while. How important a role does fashion play in your life now?
I really respect magazines like Arena, Vogue and ID and I have worked
with Vivien Westwood. I also have a lot of friends in the fashion
industry. Being at the leading edge of what's going on in fashion is
important to me, but it's definitely not the be all and end all of my
7. Do you have any plans to move to the US?
I'm not sure what my plans are at the moment. I'm keeping all my options open - I'll keep you posted!
CHARLES LAMBERT - producer
Back to top
1. The Wolves is an extraordinary concept - what inspired you to think of the story? Why use the fairytale genre?
Growing up a gay man has given me an outsider's view which I'm sure has
helped create the bizarre, 'straight' world of Kromer. Fairy tales have
always been a key agent in the process that has enabled kids to
discover their places in the world. It seems a good place to begin to
establish the changes. It provides an accessible genre for a subversive
narrative - a grown-up fairy t ale. Wolves themselves are also steeped
in tradition of representing sexuality, the 'other', the outsider, as
well as that part within us of which we may be frightened. Another big
influence for wolf suits was the enchanting costume Max wears in
Maurice Sendak's book, "Where the Wild Things Are."
2. Has it been a very personal project?
Yes it's been a very personal project - it's dedicated to my late
parents. I wrote the original play while nursing my mother in the last
few weeks before she died of cancer. Much of the film was subsequently
shot in her house and the grounds around it.
3. Was it easy to find the two lead wolves?
I felt we needed beautiful leads. It adds to the fun of seeing a film
if you fancy one of the actors - and these two guys are outrageously
good looking. We had no money, so talented, pretty actors were not
really an option. A number of models, however, are really keen to get
into acting and are prepared to work on deferred rates. We did see a
number of models who were quite wooden, but we were lucky to be offered
Lee and James. Although they had very little experience, they really
came alive in the audition s. At the end of filming we gave them tapes
with their wolf scenes and they went off and got top London agents!
4. Was it easy to raise finance for the film?
Yes, because there was no finance! Eight private investors provided
money for film stock and sandwiches. Everyone worked entirely on
5. What were the main challenges during production?
Having no previous experience of producing gave the project a certain
edge. I had to learn everything as I went. I remember laura, the
cinematographer, coming up to me on the first day of filming to confirm
whether we were to shoot at twenty four or twenty five frames a second
and thinking to myself 'I have absolutely no idea what you're talking
6. How much of a challenge has it been to get distribution in 8 countries?
A friend recommended the British distributor take a look at the film
and they immediately went for it. I went over to Sundance and found out
about US distributors and the rest followed after it was taken on by
Jane Balfour Fims, the sales agent.
7. How did you manage to secur e so much talent on deferred payment and make a micro budget movie?
We were lucky as people were enthusiastic about the script. They felt
it was a chance to do something nobody had seen before. But deferred
producing is really exhausting - for every person who accepts there are
at least twenty who have refused. And when the focus-puller drops out,
as happened to us, when he got offered paid work during the second week
of filming, it's an extra problem. In a real film you'd just make a few
calls and pay an new one. With a micro-budget film you don't have that
power. There's much more of a threat that the whole thing will fall to
pieces. Nobody is more grateful than me to the thirty-five strong crew
and cast of twelve who all stuck it out.
8. How did you get into film-making? This is your first project - what's you background?
I have come to film from studying economics then law. It was while I
was working as an economist in Brussels, sitting day after day in the
grey rooms of the National Institute for Statistics cooking figures on
data for marketing reports about imports and exports of curling tongs
and hooded hair dryers, that I realised I wanted something more from
life. I gave up my job and gained a place on the prestigious University
of East Anglia Creative Writing Course . I realised I would have to
take to producing to be sure of making a writing career work.
9. How did you manage to get Boy George involved?
Early test screenings indicated that some people did not realise Seth
was a newcomer to Kromer at the beginning of the film. A narration
which eases the viewer into the fairy tale world was the solution. Boy
George comes across as an articulate, intelligent man as well as being
a gay icon. By having him as narrator we hoped to signify the film as
playful, upbeat, intelligent and English. We rang his agent to see if
he was interested in taking part and were delighted when he agreed.
He's been extremely supportive and generous with his time.
10. Is your passion more with film-making or writing?
11. What's in the pipeline?
I am rewriting my new play Deliciousness for a director and the first
chunk of finance is also in place for financing the movie. It's a black
comedy about a criminal who passes herself off as a therapist and
defrauds her clients. Recently I have been visiting New York to write
with a young British directo r, Lucy Walker, who come from the NYU film
programme and whose work I think is really exciting. We're working on a
WILL GOULD - director
Back to top
1. How did you meet Charles?
We were at uni together - we met in the pub. We didn't hit it off at
first, but I guess we saw how we could help each other - him studying
scriptwriting and me studying film - a perfect combination! He moved in
to a house nearby so we got to know each other pretty well. He grew on
me. Like a fungus. And there's no-one quite like him, that has to be
said. And nothing quite like his writing either.
2. How did you get involved in The Wolves of Kromer
I'd just shot a film in Spain with Matthew Read (who I've worked with
on all my projects). He's an old friend of Charles', and was set to
co-write the screenplay to wolves with him. I guess he suggested I
might be interested - I don't remember.
But I do remember going up to Charles' house in the country (the very
same house that starred in the film) and reading the wolves for the
first time. It was early in the morning and I sat by one of the huge
bay windows as the sun came up. And there was something about reading
the script that got me - perhaps because I read it in the same room
that Charles wrote it - the same room his mother died in while he sat
at her bedside and hatched the world of Kromer in his head. It just
felt honest - under all the fairytale and make believe - just an honest
story about falling in love against the odds.
3. Did you have any previous directing experience?
I'd made shorts, but never on film (larger than super8) and never with
a crew. I'd pretty much taught myself as well, which like teaching
yourself to drive, leaves you with a lot of bad habits.
Then again, maybe you look at things a little differently too. Not
necessarily how you're supposed to look at them, because you don't know
any better. But I've never found myself lost for a shot or anything
like that. I didn't feel 'inexperienced'. At least not until shooting
4. Were you intimidated by working with people with more experience than yourself?
At first, yes. Everyone else was immediately at ease on the set, but I
was a fish out of water - splashing about trying to fathom out how a
crew and set worked, the ins and out of it, the 'politics'. But (for
the most part) I felt great support from those around me, and soon
enough it wasn't about experience anyway - whatever had happened before
wasn't relevant. It was just about the here and now, getting the job
And in the end, isn't it better to work with people more experienced
than yourself? I mean, I was just grateful for the class of the crew
Charles had managed to pull together in such a short time. My unease
wasn't an issue.
5. How did you feel winning the Directors Guild of America 'Outstanding Emerging Talent' award?
Surprised. Elated. Tired.
But I think the lasting memory from that month in America wasn't so
much the award in LA, but the first screening we had a couple weeks
before in San Francisco. It was the first audience screening we'd ever
had, and although I was nervous, I kind of just figured this was like
watching the film (again…) but on a bi gger screen.
But that day the film changed - it became something else entirely. I
mean I'd heard that a film isn't a film until it'd got an audience, but
until I experienced it first hand, I'd never really understood what
that meant. The audience loved it. They were the most perfect audience
we could have hoped for. They were really into it, they laughed, cried,
even clapped. I'd seen the film a hundred times and it was stale to me,
but suddenly it came back to life again. Now I can only watch it with
an audience. It's an audience film. It needs a collective before it. I
don't know why, but it does.
So seeing the film watched by others was a great experience. Getting
the award was the icing on the cake, but the taste of the cake lingered
6. What did you like best about the film?
The tone. The overall feel to it. I think that's the thing I worked
hardest at, to get the balance between fantasy and reality right, so
that, basically, the audience would get emotionally involved with guys
running around with wolf-tails.
So the fact that the film works at all - I like that best. And if
anyone tells me they cried, I love that! I mean, it's supposed to be a
comedy, but I still prefer it when people say they cried! Does that say
something about me…?
7. What attracted you to the script in the first pl ace?
It introduces a new world without explanation. That takes balls. Or
talent. Has Charles got bigger balls than talent? I don't know.
The script was wonderfully off the wall and original. And like I said
before, it was also honest, so I felt I could exploit that honesty to
make the film work emotionally. I mean, it's one thing to go into some
other crazy world, but unless you take some familiar sentiments with
you, the audience will feel lost and confused.
8. How close is the finished project to what you envisaged?
Pretty close. It's difficult to remember back to before shooting, but
as far I recall, the wolves I had in my head wasn't that far from what
hit the screen. What didn't make it? Well, I guess you have to talk
about the budget…
We shot for, what, fifty grand with a shooting ratio of about three to
one. Which is nothing. You don't get a second take most of the time -
and there's not a whole lot of room for experimentation. So some of the
more 'challenging' ideas (split screen stuff, long-takes, etc) went out
of the window straight away, and the actors had to try to hit the mark
first time, every time. Even basic coverage had to be reduced, so I'd
be axing shots left, right and centre, thinking of more economic ways
to tell a scene whilst keeping to my overall game-plan for the film.
But most of the time the constraints forced us towards solutions we
never would have thought of otherwise, and in the end I'm happy with
what we got. It's got a certain feel to it which I like. Simple.
9. What was your worst moment making the film?
I've had extensive therapy to remove such thoughts. When you ask that
question, all I see is bunny rabbits and green rolling hills.
But anyone who's ever made a low-budget can imagine what it was like for themselves.
10. What is the body of work you would like ideally to complete in the next ten years of your career?
Well, I'd really like to make an action movie! You know, all guns and chases. That stuff really gets me!
Apart from that, who knows what's around the corner? I envy filmmakers
like Woody Allen, making a film a year, just, you know, making a good
living and practising their art. I'd like to be in a position like
that. Have a body of films. Something to show my grandchildren.
I don't see that happening in ten years, but I guess I'll make a start.
11. What are your top five favourite films and why?
They change from day to day. But let me think…
"Speed". A great action movie! What more can you say? If you're going
to make Hollywood trash, you may as well make it as perfect as this.
"Dead Ringers". I've always loved Cronenberg's films, but this one just
builds so well. It's so sad, so emotionally charged, while at the same
time being so clinical. So as an audience you feel distant but right up
"A Canterbury Tale". Powell and Pressburger were the most remarkable
people making films in Britain during the 30s and 40s, and this one's a
blinder. It's slow to build, but the last twenty minutes just take your
breath away. And with characters like the glue-man, you get the feeling
that these boys could've made a movie in the Kromer world.
"Sunrise". It's just so simple, and because it's silent, it really
shows you a thing or two about visual storytelling. The image is so
"Fire Walk With Me". Lynch gets a lot of shit, and never more so than
for this film. But for me it's a masterpiece. It's difficult to explain
why, so I won't even try. But it just never fails to work.
12. Which two leads would you most like to direct together and why?
Rudolph Valentino and Marilyn Monroe. Wouldn't they look great…
13. Do you think working in film makes you more attractive to women?
Not at all! I mean maybe as an actor, but not as a director. I don't
think being a director makes you more attractive to anyone. It's such a
selfish and self-centred profession. I guess it makes me more
attractive to me!
Of course if I was making a million dollars a movie, things might be different…
14. Do people misunderstand what directing film is all about?
Yes, but it's difficult to correct them, to explain what it's really
all about. It's only when you actually have a go that you understand
fully. So I can't explain it here. Get a camera and shoot a movie. Find
out for yourself.
Back to top