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INT: Paul McGuigan


From the minute the credits appeared on screen, I knew I was immediately going to enjoy the style in which McGuigan chose to direct and shoot his upcoming film LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, especially his use of color. It was visually stimulating as well as intriguing with exciting surprises and twists. I must say I pretty much felt the same way about McGuigan. He is a colorful and intriguing man, with a cool Scottish accent and good sense of humor.

McGuigan evidently chose to reunite with Hartnett for LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, after developing admiration and respect for his work on their first film WICKER PARK. He has nothing but great things to say about the all-star cast and the pleasure of filming the movie. Read on to find out what he had to say.

Paul McGuigan

You worked with Josh in WICKER PARK. So you had a good relationship with him?

When you make a movie with someone you really like and appreciate as an actor then my first protocol is to go to Josh and ask him to do this film because I like him and I think he deserves these kind of roles which are more complex and interesting roles for him to do. I think with Wicker Park the problem Josh was asked to be the guy in love so therefore that heightens his idea of him in romantic leads where heís a lot more than that.

We asked Sir Ben Kingsley if Josh has got it as an actor and he said yes.

He definitely has got it and he shows it in this movie because the filmís a little more complex as well from an acting point of view than you would imagine because heís playing the character of Slevin. We needed to highlight the fact that he was acting a bit strange. Why isnít he more scared? He actually gives us something that makes us wonder what is going on. Thatís why the problems came out quite well because he was already ahead of you a little. So youíre going, well hold here, thereís something not right. So those were choices he was making all along.

As a director with piracy becoming a big issue, how do you feel about something like this (DVD of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN) being sold all over for $4?

Thatís terrible. Itís awful. You shouldnít be buying it either. You want to see your work in theatres, not in shitty copy like this you know. Itís going to happen I guess. The movie came out already and it did very, very well. It did $10 million dollars or something I think and itís only been out for a few weeks in about 300 theatres.

Was the film shot here entirely?

It was shot in Montreal and then we completed it in studios.

What about the restaurant and cool apartments?

The restaurant was in Montreal and the apartment buildings were in the West Village. The inside of the apartments was all a set.

So you think the film is Tarantino-esque? Do you think itís fair to say that?

You could call it everything else but perhaps itís more Hitchcock. Tarantino-esque is too obvious to say that but Iím sure there's someone else you can compare me to.

What about Stanley Kubrick?

Actually I think itís more Kubrick-esque than anything because itís very stark at the beginning with the terminal and everything. I donít really go to see movies that much because I have children so I see films from Walt Disney. I donít get to see many films.

Lucy said you are typed as the gangster director but that you are really a romantic. How did that turn out?

Yes. Thatís why Iíve been working more towards my sensitivity. It wasnít my fault Jason sold it more like a thriller. It was a love story you know. As a director, you have to imagine everything.

As a director, whatís your take on actors doing love scenes?

I donít ever work at it beforehand. Iím sure Lucy told you that. Itís hard and thatís why I never really set them up because I like to think that I have faith in that they will be able to do it. I think thereís nothing worse than a director saying youíre not kissing properly. I just knew that they had a great chemistry and my job is to keep that honesty of it and just do it rather than get all weird about it.

Can you talk about the open credit sequence because itís one of the best and how you found J. Ralph to do the music?

He actually picked himself because heís a childhood friend of Jason Smilovic. If you meet Jason, he talks to you like a hundred miles and hour. Heís always excited and talks the way the film is written. J. Ralph is the biggest commercial director and is the music guy. So it would be perfect. He knew the story already so he came on board really early, which is unusual because usually the composer you get last.

Can you talk about the chemistry between Josh and Lucy and also the different takes after they make love and what was funny?

We had a bet among the crew and I put $50 on the floor and said if someone could bet what take is going to be the one that I use. So they did all the takes and thereís one where Josh falls and he grabs her on the floor and she laughs so hard because she didnít expect it. That was my favorite but that wasnít the one I used. Sheís quite seasoned so sheís the one I commend. I bet Lucyís really good at it. If she wants to she can just turn it on and off. So show me how you get through the door basically. So if she opens the door for you give her a second and see what happens. So I love that she just opens the door and Josh is so fantastic with the key thing and all that.

What about during that moment?

It can be a little bit intimidating for a second and then you realize that they all need to be doing what you do as well. You have to start buckling up the ideas. Thereís nothing worse than saying oh that was great but can you do that again. I make sure I have good directions to give them so from take one itís all good.

As a director, is it tougher to do an action sequence or a love scene?

Action sequences are harder because itís a lot to ask of yourself to do it in one shot or something. How am I going to shoot this so it looks real and you donít have to cut all the time and rewind it. So I try to do it in one shot Ďcause Iím not that great.

Would you say there is one movie that you have watched over and over again in your life?

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. I would say Iím not as big a film buff as most people just because I choose to do other things with my time. Itís not like I donít appreciate film. I really do but I donít get to see as many as I should.

So how is it to direct an actor in a towel for the first half of the movie and on the DVD will there be any scenes with the crew ripping it off?

Thereís not much soÖJosh was really charming with it because I remember Jason saying he had a great idea about putting Josh in a towel for the first half of the movieÖ.that would be funny and Josh was like excuse me, Iím here you know. And then he was like that would be fun. That was the most ugly looking towel I've ever seen.

Was he afraid it would come off?

That was the wardrobe girlís job. He didnít work out at all and thatís what I love about the man. I thought he would want to buff up and he said I donít care. He was very comfortable with himself.

On the DVD, will their be any extras?

We actually shot a lot of scenes with the 2 black bodyguards and they were really good scenes but we felt they made the movie too comic. But they were interesting scenes. They were comic. And there were more people killed as well.




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