Director Jon Baird On ‘Filth,’ James McAvoy, ‘Trainspotting,’ Irvine Welsh [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Director Jon Baird‘s last film Filth, comedy-drama starring James McAvoy as a corrupt policeman who is on the verge of receiving a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, almost never got made. “Yeah, I mean when we were shooting it we almost didn’t complete it, because we didn’t close the financing until five weeks into the shoot,” Baird told uInterview. “Which was scary, and you do not know if it will be the last day!”
Baird was initially unsure McAvoy was right for the role. “I’ve never seen James in it at all at the beginning because, my impression of him was too young or that he might not get the character,” Baird told uInterview. “After meeting him, he knew a lot more of this guy than I ever thought he would, so we met and going to think this is another meeting to let’s cast this guy and offer him the role.”
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who wrote the novel which Filth is based on, became an instant fan of the movie. “It was very nice, the first thing he said to me after seeing the film for the first time he said, ‘I think it is better than the book.’ That was a lovely thing to hear a novelist say he liked the film better than the book, so he is a big fan of it.”
Yeah, I mean when we were shooting it we almost didn't complete it, because we didn't close the financing until five weeks into the shoot. Which was scary, and you do not know if it will be the last day or... But lucky enough we found that missing million dollars. But, yeah, it was known as a unfilmable novel to turn into a film, but little things started to help it like [casting] James [McAvoy]. Jim Bell also who got involved. No one wanted to touch it at first. It was good though, I had a lot of freedom.
You make movies for people to feel something, you can't shy away, you have to be bold, its called Filth. What choice do I have? Nothing scared me!
All of the actors, myself included, when we were shooting that scene it was more nobody thought it was funny or... we were like, 'Is it working? Is it worth doing this?' Also you find that it was a very popular scene especially with women. Women find it more funny than guys. It was a weird one to shoot it ended up being one of my favorites. One of James's favorites, too.
No, I've never seen James in it at all at the beginning because, my impression of him was too young or that he might not get the character. I didn't think he would have any reference for the role. After meeting him, he knew a lot more of this guy than I ever thought he would, so we met and going to think this is another meeting to let's cast this guy and offer him the role. So we've changed our mind really quickly after meeting him.
The scene with the staircase, it goes from real clash personalities to almost physical violence to a mild breaking down then to sanity. I think when we're shooting that scene it was special, because the crew were into it. Sometimes when I shoot a scene, I do not look at the actors, I look at the crew to see what kind of reaction they are getting. So the other one was again when he was on the floor to his friend's wife and he's masturbating and crying. I think shit is this going to work, what the fuck is going on here. That was a miracle, because it ended up being one of my favorite scenes.
Transpotting is a different movie, it's about four young guys who go through drug abuse and one of them goes through a mental breakdown. I'm a huge fan of Danny Boyle. I just shot something for him in the U.K. And when I first met him. Danny actually put his name on this movie, and I'm not sure if it was for market purpose or not.
It was very nice, the first thing he said to me after seeing the film for the first time he said, 'I think it is better than the book.' That was a lovely thing to hear a novelist say he liked the film better than the book, so he is a big fan of it. It is funny he uses Twitter a lot and his profile page he used to have the Trainspotting book poster, and he changed it to the [Filth] film poster.
I'm sure there's some people who have walked out of it, but I mean, if you come to see a movie called Filth and you have seen the trailer and you should know what you are in for and if you walk out after that... When you first said that, 'I'm like shut-up, shut-up!' Do not say that. Yeah, an American audience would be more sensitive.