Hush

Hush

Thriller Hush is the debut feature film for writer-director Mark Tonderai which follows a young couple who get into an altercation with a truck driver on the M1.

I caught up with mark to discuss his movie, the issues he face during filming and the difficulties of working in the British film industry.

Hush is about to be released so can you tell me a bit about the movie?

I suppose it’s a moral dilemma film really about a guy who is driving on the M1 with his girlfriend beside him and it’s wet and raining, he goes around putting up posters in service stations, and as a truck goes past the back of the truck comes down and he thinks he sees a woman in the back bleeding.

But he can’t quite decide on what he saw so the film then becomes more of a dilemma should he get involved should he not get involved? Should he help her should he not help her? And it follows what happens from that point on.

Hush isn’t your average horror film, as you say it has that moral element, so what was your thinking behind the film when you came to make it?

I was really more interested in making a thriller because there is a lot of that gory horror around and that wasn’t something that I wanted to do, I’m not belittling it or anything it’s just something that I didn’t want to do.

I really just wanted to make it a bit more Hitchcocky a bit more like Man on the Run a man trapped in isolated places; a man trapped under a truck, a man trapped toilet, a guy trapped in a car and that’s what I wanted to do and I just thought to myself that we haven’t really seen that for a long time, there a long of horror porn stuff and I didn’t really want to do that, so that was the way that I wanted to go.

I’m a big Hitchcock fan and I really wanted to do something that was more suspense basically.

You also penned the script so how does the writing process work for you?

I think I write quite visually anyway and I write with the audience in mind I think would I go and see that? Would I pay money to go and see that? 

And that’s pretty much how I do it and the hardest part of writing a screenplay is making sure that it works and that it’s tight and then you have to go out into the marketplace and try and get money for it and that’s really really hard.

But once you have done it then I think it’s really cool because you can start with the visual part of it, but I try to separate these two parts of the screenwriting process and I try not to think about the visuals until I have to, but that’s the fun part of it.

But the writing for me is very methodical and I do it again, because that is what writing it rewrites, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite and that’s pretty much what I have been doing, I think I had thirty or forty drafts of Hush.

Usually I have an idea or a premise, which is pretty much where I start, and then I try to infuse it with what is going on in my life at the time I was that guy I was driving up and down the motorway putting up posters so I was that guy and I all I did was making him, not me because I always finish my work, but he is a writer that doesn’t finish stuff but I do. 

He has lost a bit of faith in himself and if I’m honest I probably lost a bit of faith in myself, and so that is all I did I went ok what would happen if?

So I very much put what I want to talk about in as well as elements of me, it’s not me, but there are a lot of themes, like feeling trapped, are all in there.

It’s difficult with your first film because you have got all these things inside of you that you want to talk about and you put it all in your first film.

The second film, you are not as poor and not as hungry to be frank but you have to make sure you are, and it’s tough because you’re like well what am I going to talk about now?

Your lead actors Will Ash and Christine Bottomley are new names so what are the risks of an unknown cast and how was the casting process?

Well Will I have seen in a couple of things and I have always liked him because he is an honest actor and I like that he’s a good man and one of the best people that I have met in a long time. He’s a really good guy and he did so much for me that I will always be indebted to him.

And the same thing with Christine, Christine is a very different sort of actor she’s brilliant and very instinctual and really there when you watch it just watch her eyes welling up.

 And I think if you have good actors then you have a good film it’s that simple you can have bad cinematography and bad lighting but good actors.

And what was the shoot itself like, on the M1 and at night, it must have thrown up a few issues?

Yeah yeah yeah it threw up a lot, and ones that I didn’t realise, but mainly shooting at night because people get fatigued and that is a huge problem, the rest of it you can take in your stride, but that was pretty much it the tiredness I had no idea, I hope I never have to do that again.

You have already touched on this but what or who influences your filmmaking?

If I’m honest with you when you ask these sorts of question people throw them out and a lot of the time it’s The Usual Suspects, Spielberg, De Palma, Coppola, and you say it and they are all the same as everyone else has said and admired.

I like people like Chris Nolan and David Lynch but I also like the new breed of directors that are coming though like Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, they did Little Miss Sunshine, I think they are something pretty special and some of the Spanish stuff that’s coming through like Guillermo Del Toro, Pans Labyrinth was one of the best films that I had seen in ages.

But I also look at movies from a director producer perspective you know? I can’t think of Zack Snyder without his wife, whose name escapes me, or James Mangold without Cathy Konrad or Peter Jackson without Fran Walsh because that’s how I work, I work with my wife. And I look at those relationship and you have got to have something pretty special going on there.

And that’s what I’ve noticed that a lot of directors, and there are more than the ones I’ve just mentioned, and James Mangold and Peter Jackson are arguably amongst the top twenty directors on the planet and they all work with their wives, which is what I do.

And there’s nothing like working with your family and if you can withstand the pressure it’s pretty amazing.

The British film industry is very much in the spotlight with the success of Slumdog Millionaire but in reality how difficult is it an industry to work in?

Oh it’s probably the hardest in the world because if you look at the French they aren't competing with any other French speaking companies but we are competing with the Americans, they are our direct competition.

But making films isn't the hard part, I mean it is hard, but the real difficulty is getting the distribution you could make the best film in the world but if no one sees it then it doesn't matter.

The audience, I believe, don't choose what they want to go and see they are told what to see and they are told by marketing budgets so we are all being told to go and see Watchmen, we probably will go to see Watchmen and it will probably be very good, but my point is when you deal with a juggernaut like that and you are talking about a film like ours that's made on a fraction of the cost and you are going up against it it's very very very hard.

It's very difficult when you are starting out and if I was starting out now I would be very worried because there is so little money around and it's very hard to get distribution and I would seriously consider finding other ways like putting a film straight onto the Internet.

I don't know what the way forward would be but I got in just before that new wave of filmmaking starts to happen and I think it will happen and people will begin to distribute there own stuff, sort of what has happened with music.

Finally what is next for you, I read that you had your next five projects all planned out?

Yeah I'm doing something called the Fourth Prophet which I'm really excited about and we are hoping to shoot in the summer but I have to get the script right, which in front of me as we speak.

Hush is released 13th March

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

Thriller Hush is the debut feature film for writer-director Mark Tonderai which follows a young couple who get into an altercation with a truck driver on the M1.

I caught up with mark to discuss his movie, the issues he face during filming and the difficulties of working in the British film industry.

Hush is about to be released so can you tell me a bit about the movie?

I suppose it’s a moral dilemma film really about a guy who is driving on the M1 with his girlfriend beside him and it’s wet and raining, he goes around putting up posters in service stations, and as a truck goes past the back of the truck comes down and he thinks he sees a woman in the back bleeding.

But he can’t quite decide on what he saw so the film then becomes more of a dilemma should he get involved should he not get involved? Should he help her should he not help her? And it follows what happens from that point on.

Hush isn’t your average horror film, as you say it has that moral element, so what was your thinking behind the film when you came to make it?

I was really more interested in making a thriller because there is a lot of that gory horror around and that wasn’t something that I wanted to do, I’m not belittling it or anything it’s just something that I didn’t want to do.

I really just wanted to make it a bit more Hitchcocky a bit more like Man on the Run a man trapped in isolated places; a man trapped under a truck, a man trapped toilet, a guy trapped in a car and that’s what I wanted to do and I just thought to myself that we haven’t really seen that for a long time, there a long of horror porn stuff and I didn’t really want to do that, so that was the way that I wanted to go.

I’m a big Hitchcock fan and I really wanted to do something that was more suspense basically.

You also penned the script so how does the writing process work for you?

I think I write quite visually anyway and I write with the audience in mind I think would I go and see that? Would I pay money to go and see that? 

And that’s pretty much how I do it and the hardest part of writing a screenplay is making sure that it works and that it’s tight and then you have to go out into the marketplace and try and get money for it and that’s really really hard.

But once you have done it then I think it’s really cool because you can start with the visual part of it, but I try to separate these two parts of the screenwriting process and I try not to think about the visuals until I have to, but that’s the fun part of it.

But the writing for me is very methodical and I do it again, because that is what writing it rewrites, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite and that’s pretty much what I have been doing, I think I had thirty or forty drafts of Hush.

Usually I have an idea or a premise, which is pretty much where I start, and then I try to infuse it with what is going on in my life at the time I was that guy I was driving up and down the motorway putting up posters so I was that guy and I all I did was making him, not me because I always finish my work, but he is a writer that doesn’t finish stuff but I do. 

He has lost a bit of faith in himself and if I’m honest I probably lost a bit of faith in myself, and so that is all I did I went ok what would happen if?

So I very much put what I want to talk about in as well as elements of me, it’s not me, but there are a lot of themes, like feeling trapped, are all in there.

It’s difficult with your first film because you have got all these things inside of you that you want to talk about and you put it all in your first film.

The second film, you are not as poor and not as hungry to be frank but you have to make sure you are, and it’s tough because you’re like well what am I going to talk about now?


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