Ask any American what they think of when you mention the British movies and they paint you a picturesque landscape of rural England, garnished with a corseted Keira or a furrowed Tom Wilkinson. Nothing wrong with that… unless you’re Nick Love.
‘I want to obliterate the British film industry,” Love tells Total Film energetically. “It’s an awful middle class industry, full of inherent snobbery and we’ve never had a dollar from them for our films.”
When Nick says ‘our films’ he’s referring to movies from the Vertigo stable - the hugely successful company he is a partner of and therefore has helped oversee the production of no less than eight movies since its inception in 2002. Next year Vertigo will release Nick’s fourth flick as a director entitled Outlaw. As Total Film settles down to chew the fat with Nick, it’s blatant that he is spilling over with passion for the project – he’s animated, he’s explosive but he also wants TF’s opinion, he wants to make sure we understand the message behind the movie.
“When I was finishing The Business I was working out what I was going to commit to and I had a few different balls up in the air,” Love states. “I landed on Outlaw because I thought I’d regret it if I didn’t make it.” So what is it about this flick that persuaded Love to pack his bags, move out of London and into the veritable isolation of the Gloucestershire countryside just to get his head right for writing?
“It’s about people from different walks of life who’ve had enough at being pushed about. Slowly they come together and form a nucleus and eventually it gets to that stage of …” he smashes his fist into his palm, “contact! These people decide they don’t like the fact that they can’t go down that street because there’s ten kids with hooded tops sitting down there. So they decide they won’t just walk down there, they go down there and batter them.”
Considering he’s regarded as the champion of the chav movie (his words, not ours), Nick is much more than a council estate fella made good. He is intuitive to his audience and admits that his inspiration for the movie comes from his listening to “…those twenty-year old kids who come up to me on the street with ideas; they’re bonkers,” he states affectionately. After hearing the same grain of an idea in each suggestion, Love realised that he was on to something.
“After a while I realised that the common theme was people were asking for a movie about making Britain a safer place, so this became a film about ‘now’. This fucking country’s in trouble, the whole chav generation is taking over, it’s become lawless Britain – so it’s got to be made now.”
A company executive, well dressed and currently residing in a nice big country pile – is he really in the position to take the pulse of the nation and reflect it onscreen?
“Don’t get me wrong, we’re becoming a hideous Starbucks generation and I admit I’m part of it,” he says as he pulls up his shirt and produces a slight paunch. “I’ve developed a gut; I’m living the good life and this is my way of saying ‘I’m going to keep it lean on this one.’ We’re sitting here, getting fatter and ignoring the issues – look at the streets, look at the fact that this country’s insane and out of control. I feel sad that this country is losing its identity and that’s not racially orientated, it’s just that we’re losing sight of what we’re good at and who we are.”
Bearing in mind Nick’s lack of, erm, love for the British film industry, he and Vertigo have come up with a unique funding scheme which will give the public the chance to see their name on the DVD as an executive producer and perhaps even a shot at being in the movie itself.
“This is a film where you can ask the public for a tenner because it’s like we’re asking ‘Do you want to be involved in this film? Because I tell you what - it’s going to be the biggest movement film this country’s seen since Quadrophenia or Scum. So why don’t you get involved for a tenner, get a fucking T-shirt and you’ll get a credit on the DVD?’ - that’s not cheeky.”
It sure ain’t - and will it feel like he’s flipping the bird to the UK film industry?
“The state of the British film industry is a whole 6-hour interview in itself – but I tell you one day, one of these kids at 23 years old is going to make a film that’s going to fucking blow the opposition out of the water and I’m going to go ‘That’s it, that’s what I want... fuck all these cunts in these suits.’”
Love agrees that it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a nice little sub-industry in the works that has seen helmers such as himself, Neil Marshall and Christopher Smith getting movies made.
“You’re right, there’s a few of us now who are just starting to get above the parapet and people are going ‘he’s had three films out in the last four years now… ’we’re film directors now, not just people who’ve made a film.” He sips his coffee, visibly unwinding, satisfied he’s made his point – then adds an afterthought “Neil’s a good filmmaker and I’m getting better, I’m improving - we’re all improving.”
Just as quickly as this infectious and amiable fella winds down, he suddenly explodes back into life, asking if Total Film would like to have a rumble on the Outlaw set later in the year.
“Come down and see us, we’ll get you in a riot scene and you can lob a brick at the old bill.” Now there’s an offer… shame TF throws like a girl.