Tuesday, 23 November 2010

McQueen Movie: An Interview with Lee Battle (Nick McQueen)


McQueen is a movie written & directed by actor Oliver Lee. It stars Lee Battle, Nico Mirallegro, Oliver Lee, Linzey Cocker, Marcquelle Ward, Tina O'Brien, Chris Grixti, Lianne Sorsa, Matt Lanigan, Danielle Malone, Zoe Matthews and Julie Proffitt.

Plot Synopsis:

"The story of Nick and Sam and Northern suburban life for the youth of today. Based in an everyday small town on the outskirts of a large city shows how ignorance, misplaced anger and confusion can end in tragedy.

The boys, one a loner, the other the new kid, both keep themselves to themselves but some how need each other.

Why isn't life as easy as it should be?"

This is my interview with actor Lee Battle, who plays the title role of Nick McQueen...

Pinky: How did you first come to meet Oliver Lee and get the role of Nick McQueen in the McQueen movie, Lee?

Lee: We met in 2007 working on Kevin Sampson’s film ‘Awaydays’. Oli had written the first draft of McQueen about a year earlier and because we shared a trailer on Awaydays we’d talk a lot about the story and read through the script when we weren’t on set. I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with so we started forming a team and began producing the film, and after pre-production got going Oli asked if I wanted to play Nick.

McQueen Movie Poster, photography by Jay Place at ShotID

What are the basic dynamics of the story of the film, and the inspiration behind it?

Lee: A huge inspiration for Oli is ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ – our tagline is even a play on that title. McQueen basically follows the relationship of Nick and Sam, two young lads who are drawn together by the troubles in their lives.

Pinky: Would you say your character Nick is an intense, complicated type of person?

Lee: Yes definitely. When you first meet Nick you can see he is dealing with some issues. There’s a lot of tension between him and his Mum. He’s quiet, very internal and has very high morals.

Lee Battle & Nico Mirallegro as Nick & Sam / by cameraman Jay Place at ShotID

How would you describe the friendship between Nick and his friend Sam (played by Nico Mirallegro)?

Lee: They both have similarities. Nick is more mature, has more life experience. He wants to look out for Sam and is protective towards him. They have a connection. Nick eases up when he is in Sam’s company and they can both be themselves around each other.

Pinky: McQueen's behind-the-scenes photos on Facebook show everyone working hard but looking as though they are enjoying their work. Was it a happy atmosphere on set, most of the time?

Lee: Without a doubt. I think, because it was very small set up it was very hands on for everybody involved and the fact that everyone was willing to pitch in added to the fun. It was a great learning experience and everyone on McQueen was there because they were passionate about it.

Pinky: Was it difficult for the production team to get a gun license for McQueen's more violent scenes?

Lee: Actually no, we were really lucky to make contact with a guy who runs a special effects company and he was happy to help.

Nico Mirallegro as Sam in a violent scene from McQueen / by Jay at ShotID

Pinky: I gather there was a run-in with the police during the filming of McQueen. I'd love to know more about what happened there...

Lee: Haha yeah. Basically, we were shooting some of the films more violent or aggressive scenes and I think because of how real they were some neighbours got worried and called the police and we had a complaint. I guess because our crew was so small it wasn’t as obvious as having a huge film unit and Jay our DOP ended up with a warning. But we ended up getting some good press off the back of it so it turned out alright in the end.

Pinky: How have the cast and crew of McQueen helped to finance the movie over the past few months?

Lee: The film was literally shot without a budget, literally nothing. You hear of low budget features which actually had X amount of pounds spent on them but ours was nil, and that’s what hopefully makes the end result so good.

Pinky: Which parts of Manchester and its surrounding areas were used as locations in McQueen?

Lee: We had two main locations, Stockport and Atherton, which is the town Oli grew up in and was the setting he had in mind when writing the film. We also used a shop on Deansgate and a pub in Bolton.

Pinky: Without giving away too many spoilers, will McQueen make us cry at any stage of the story?

Lee: Yes.

Pinky: Will there be a roll of out-takes as an extra on the DVD, when that comes out?

Lee: I hope so. I’ve watched back all of the takes and there’s some great outtakes. Who knows, they could end up on the facebook page?

Pinky: Finally Lee, do you think that McQueen has a special underlying message for us all about urban life?

Lee: McQueen is more of an insight into small town suburban life, suburban youth. And a look at how prejudice or ignorance can have consequences and greatly affect the people around you.

Pinky: Thank you for the interview, Lee.

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