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Gatecrasher - Frank Ryan and Adam Hughes

on Wednesday, 17 April 2013.


Interview with Frank Ryan, producer and actor in Gatecrasher

How did you come to be involved with Gatecrasher?

Gatecrasher came about following a meeting between Adam Hughes, Paul Cockcroft and myself. We were toying with the idea of producing a feature film. I came up with the concept of a young actor obsessed with an older writer. When Adam came back with the script we were sure we had something special. We decided to attempt a short version first to test the market and see how the characters came across on screen.  

The character of James Francis is a complex one. How did you decide how you would portray him?

When taking on the character of James Francis I was anxious to avoid the obvious stereotypes such as making him narcissistic or overtly camp. So I decided to portray him in as "normal" manner as possible. Which I think works.

Did your twin roles of actor and producer ever cause any difficulties?

No it honestly didn't.  If anything I found that wearing the hats of both producer and actor helped. As a producer I was more aware of what the actor's needed and as an actor I was more aware of what the production was looking for, if that makes sense.  

How smoothly did the production of Gatecrasher go? Did you experience any unexpected problems?

All on all the production went very smoothly, thanks in no small measure to the amount of support we received from the likes of The Midland Hotel, Lahore Deli, Grand Central Railway, Bar Uber and Leeds Brewery. Also the Chamber of Commerce and Bradford Council and City of Film. We did of course have the odd technical problem from time to time but nothing really major.


Interview with Adam Hughes, writer of Gatecrasher

Where did the inspiration for the story of Gatecrasher come from?

Well this is an interesting one. I was having a drink with Frank, one of the actor's from the film, and he was talking about LGBT films and how I should write one. I'd never done anything like this before but, like with most things when it comes to writing, I was keen to try something new. I wanted to put a twist on the tradition old man seeks younger lover and so completely flipped that with the young man being infatuated with his older counterpart (something I had never seen done before). I wanted there to be an additional context to that driven desire so I made Mark an actor and James Francis a writer. The inspiration has come from my own experiences being ambitious and the pitfalls of this! Similarly, I have also seen many other actors in Mark's situation: keen, ambitious, and desperate to get that big break. The only difference was that this was set against a LGBT background and so, hopefully, had more poignancy about it.

Was it a smooth transition from words on a page to the finished film? 

Yes and no. Whenever you write a script, there comes a point where you need to pass it on and try to accept the decisions of the people who you trust with your work (although that is easier said than done sometimes!) Surprisingly the scenes that I thought would be the most difficult to film (I'm not giving anything away here!) were the least troublesome whereas simpler scenes, such as two people sitting down in a cafe, were much more difficult. I think this is purely down to the acting and directorial process and the dependency on the actors. The script was also very dialogue heavy so there was a heck of a lot for them to do!

Was there a message you wanted to communicate with Gatecrasher?

Yes, that if you have that desire and ambition to make it to the top, then you should pursue it. It's a shame but in this industry, and in life too I guess, you see people who are close to achieving their dreams yet they just fall short at the last hurdle- for whatever reason. However, I hope the film says that regardless of your situation or your current outlook on life, you should never give up on your dreams. But hopefully it's not as cliched as that!

How do you feel about Gatecrasher being called an ‘LGBT Film?

To be fair, I am completely neutral about how the film is labelled (so long as it's not derogatory!). Obviously it is going to be classed as an LGBT film due to the context and the themes it evokes. But like any film, there is more beneath the surface. It is about a man and his dreams and the lengths he will go to achieve them. It just so happens that it is set within a gay context.

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