A chat with: Duane Hopkins

We met BYPASS (here the review) director, Duane Hopkins during the London Film Festival and we talked about his last movie that premiered at the Festival.

Q: “ByPass is a really great story. Who inspired it to you?”

H: “I was casting for another project and for this reason I went to meet some people in a small city and I started make observations about how life was there, about how the kids were like, and about which kind of experiences they went through. And I started to ask why they ended up in these situations. When I talked with them I discovered their stories were really similar. Then I started the research about these types of estates, especially in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, when all the big factories opened and in the ’80s when they started to close. So there are still a lot of big estates but not employers. Then I started to talk with people who were in a factory but went fired. It was really interesting. They told me how they finished school on a Friday when they were young and they started to work on the very next Monday for all their life. They so grew up with the same friends, they worked in the same place drinking in the same pub; they were God-parents of their friends kids, best men at their friends weddings,…So what I wanted to do was making a film which is not dramatic about this but a movie with a large social development and something emotional and compelling about all individual characters. But at the same time something that touch the point of the dramatic things that have to do with the past of the families and that make impossible to think about a nice future”.

Q: “Tim is a really different role for George MacKay. There was a particular George’s role that inspired you about him for this leading character or was something else?”

H: “It was something else. George was introduced to me by the cast agent, I didn’t watch any of his previous works before I met him, but I liked him quickly. I met him few times because I wanted to see if there was something of the character very similar in him. I thought in George there was and the reason is because Tim is very generous and he understands responsibility, he has quite complete morality…and these are all things I found in George when we met. We started to work together after we had six or seven discussions and I explained George why I chose his for the role of Tim. Because I’m sure that if he were in that situation, his behavior would be very close to that of Tim. And even now he has some of Tim’s values. The first thing to do was to make him loose a lot of weight for him to become totally different. The first time George saw himself in a mirror he saw a different person from the one he was used to see. So this is how the project started and how we worked”.

Q: “Which is the porpoise of your movie? If it has a porpoise”

H: “I wanted to make a film which had in the background this experience I experienced when I went to this estate; essentially is: these people grew in this factory world. In the moment they loose the idea of a stable employment and a stable identity, if you don’t replace them, something takes their place and it’s something negative, something which you can’t control. I think the upsetting thing in this community is the interesting thing that a lot of people who you meet are very intelligent, but they have no opportunity to express that, so one of the things is this inevitable loss of human potential. I think there is a message to all the people when you see the new born at the end of the movie: if to parents are giving the opportunity and the right instructions there is a trial for the new generation”.

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