Those who read my report will know that I spent last weekend on an all-expenses paid outing to Kapow! Comic Convention that included previews of this year's biggest film titles, some very creative cosplay, and enough comics to paper the walls of Bleeding Cool's large and swanky Soho office that I imagine we might have one day. It'll even have a water cooler.
And an office stapler.
Also in attendance were producer/co-writer/actor Noel Clarke and director Johannes Roberts to talk about their new British sci-fi horror Storage 24, which is out on June 29th. Bleeding Cool caught up with Clarke and Roberts after their Q&A to find out…
Bleeding Cool: What is Storage 24 and why should people go and see it?
Johannes Roberts: [to Clarke] You pitch.
Noel Clarke: It's about a group of people trapped in this storage facility on the day a cargo plane crashes in London. All the power goes out and the plane unleashes a terrible cargo which turns out to be an alien.
BC: That's pretty terrible.
NC: Very terrible.
BC: Where did you get the idea for the story?
NC: Myself and my wife used to go to storage facilities a lot, because she had to go for work, and so while we were in there and she was doing her work stuff I'd just walk around and think how creepy the corridors were and how a lot of them always look the same. You would go far and then you'd come back to the corridor where she is and then … she's not there. And then you realise it's the next corridor along, and it was always quite creepy. So I initially came up with the idea of a serial killer stuck in there and then one day I woke up and was like, "Actually, an alien would be better." Rewrote it, wrote the initial draft, sent it to my writing partners [Davie Fairbanks and Marc Small] – the two boys under me right now, who I'm sort of mentoring, and they'll be directing in a couple of years – so I sent it to them, worked on it a little bit, hired Johannes and had him do a director's draft, and away we went.
BC: How do you go about making it scary, between the two of you?
JR: In a sense, I guess that's what I was brought on for. My sensibilities are quite dark and scary, I'm a horror guy, you know. I very much came on and had a look at set pieces to try and just amp up the tension there. It's just getting invested with the characters and setting them in really freaky situations, and the storage facility was just right for that. You had basements, you had mannequin units, you had long, empty corridors, and it was an awful lot of fun. You could stage anything anywhere, so it was a director's dream.
BC: Did you shoot it inside an actual storage facility?
JR: No, we built a set.
BC: Did you visit a lot of storage facilities for inspiration?
JR: Oh God… [Laughs] Remember doing that?
NC: Yeah, we visited loads, and we got good ideas from them. The good thing about it is you only have to build about three corridors, and then you can just recycle them and change direction.
JR: I know more about storage facilities now than any other human being in the world, I think.
BC: What is it about British films like this that makes them unique?
JR: I don't think there is a British film like this.
NC: This is unique because there isn't a British film like this. I don't think anyone's ever done it, especially not at this budget. I'm not trying to say it was like bottom-of-the-barrel, scraped through … The film looks amazing, and the VFX are amazing.
JR: I think the ambition is very high, I think that's the thing. This is not hyperbole, I don't think that – except for something like Monsters – I don't think there is a British movie that has tackled this kind of stuff.
NC: Nobody can watch this, whether they like it or dislike it, nobody can watch it and say the ambition's not there. It takes British movies to a new level, because honestly nobody's done anything like this before. If they have, I haven't seen it, and that would be unlikely because I would usually be interested and watch something like that.
JR: For me, I think the thing I'm particularly proud of, is that the ambition is incredibly high and the visuals we've got with the alien and loads of other stuff like plane crashes, is very high, but the way we've gone about it doesn't make it look like a cheap American knock-off. It has a very distinct feel to it, very quirky but quite dark and scary.
NC: I've always had these ambitions to do sci-fi, superhero, monster movies instead of like … Two guys entering a sheep competition, and the sheep doesn't walk anywhere for like forty-five minutes, and then it walks and they're like, "Ah, the sheep walked!" And that's the first line after forty-five minutes. I'm sick of that shit.
JR: [Laughs] Have you ever seen that movie?
BC: I would watch that movie.
NC: Don't get me wrong. In the sixties or seventies, a film about an eagle or a hawk or whatever fucking bird it was … I watched it. I mean I didn't watch it then, I've watched it since and I admire the film, I like it .. but we're still making those types of films. You know what, if I'm paying £100 – because I'm traveling, I'm taking a girl, I'm paying for food, and I'm traveling home – but I'm paying £100 to go to the cinema, I want to be fucking entertained.
BC: But not by sheep.
NC: No. Not by a fucking sheep. Those guys get five, six, seven million pounds and the film makes, like, eight grand, and everyone's like… [Applauds] "Didn't you love how the sheep finally walked in minute forty-five! I thought it was beautiful when it stepped on its second leg and you knew it was going to make it up. Ah, I cried, darling, I cried, I shed a tear!" Fuck that shit.
JR: …What was the title of this movie?
BC: I think you should make it now, you've pitched it very well.