Jonathan Sothcott Interview 2

Jonathan Sothcott is one of the producers behind the ever-expanding British production company Black & Blue Films. After interviewing him last, Gorepress got the chance to catch up with him once again to talk about his new project Strippers Vs. Werewolves and how far the company has come in such a short space of time.

GP : What have you been up to since the last time Gorepress spoke to you, Jonathan?

JS : Well I have been a bit busy I have to say – I think we last spoke around the time of Devil’s Playground. Since then I’ve made 5 more movies, two of which – Airborne and Elfie Hopkins – are horror movies. Airborne is a plane-set supernatural thriller about a jet hijack going horribly wrong because of an ancient evil in the cargo hold. It has an amazing cast – brilliant veterans such as the legendary Julian Glover (who was the baddie in my favourite sci fi film Quatermass & The Pit) and gangster film icon Alan Ford plus great newcomers like lovely Gemma Atkinson. But the big coup was landing Mark ‘Luke Skywalker’ Hamill – the man is a legend. It was directed by my talented pal Dom Burns, who did a comedy for us called How To Stop Being A Loser and produced by Simon Phillips who has now joined my company.

Elfie Hopkins is a dark tale of cannibalism in rural Wales starring Ray and Jaime Winstone and Kate MacGowan. The director, Ryan Andrews, is a phenomenal talent – watch this guy, he will be a Brit Tim Burton. His use of imagery and his storytelling ability are amazing. He was the production designer on my first short so this has been a long time in the making. Ryan assembled this amazing little team of really talented people down in West Wales to make this film and they have all done themselves proud. It will be an instant cult movie and will make Jaime Winstone into the leading lady everyone knows she should be. That girl’s scarily talented.

GP : Why Strippers vs. Werewolves?

JS : You really need to ask? To be honest, the script came to me out of the blue from micro budget auteur Pat Higgins and I was the only one here who ‘got it’ immediately – but once the other guys read the script and realised it was a Kick Ass style comic book action-comedy rather than a sleazy T&A horror flick, we knew we had something pretty special! Getting this right has been our biggest challenge but I think it’s one that people are going to like!

GP : What can people expect from Strippers vs. Werewolves?

JS : They can expect a film that delivers on the title – beautiful girls (Adele Silva, Ali Bastian, Barbara Nedeljakova, Coralie Rose), big action set pieces and really scary werewolves – we have Billy Murray and Robert Englund as our baddies – who could be better? It is also, really, really funny – we have worked very hard to get the best out of every gag. And it is littered with in-jokes – look for werewolf movie references aplenty! I have made films in the past that didn’t deliver – notably Dead Cert, which squandered a great cast and great ideas. I was particularly disappointed we wasted Billy as head vampire… but he’s going to be a bloody great werewolf in this. It took a long time to find a director that the distributor approved but who had the right film-making sensibility, but we definitely had a touch getting Jonathan Glendenning, who’s a very talented guy and a pleasure to work with. Have high expectations because they’ll be met – this one’s a lot of fun.

GP : What rating are you aiming for? Can we expect an 18 certificate blood & breasts splatter-fest?

JS : I’d like a 15 – it really isn’t a horror film, it’s an action-comedy that happens to have werewolves in. And it isn’t sleazy, I wouldn’t want to make a sleazy film. But given that it’s about a pitched battle between strippers and werewolves it seemed silly to call it anything else! I do think we’d be letting the teenage boys of the world down if we didn’t deliver on the boobs and blood though!

Dead Cert

GP : Will this be a film for both male and female audiences? It seems a little male orientated…

JS : Not at all. The girls are our heroines and they are very, very cool as well as very sexy – this is a movie girls will like just as much as boys, it was always intended to be. Just because they work in a strip club doesn’t mean they’re bimbos. There’s a lot of girl power in this movie! Before I take a project like this on I discuss it at length with my girlfriend, who is very clever and switched on but also my barometer of what’s cool and what girls will like. She absolutely loves this script and that was an important test.

GP : Lucy Pinder has been recently added to the cast list – who else are you hoping to get involved?

JS : Lucy is a friend of mine and has been looking to do some acting for a while, so she’s making her film debut. It’s a cameo really, but a very funny one and she’s a delight to have around. There are some people you meet who think they’re actresses just because they’ve taken their clothes off for the public, but Lucy is passionate about it and I think she’ll do well.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about Robert Englund – that’s like bagging Christopher Lee. The man is one of the biggest genre icons in the world and such a brilliant actor. The best thing about making movies is the toys we get to play with – not just blowing things up and car chases, but getting to work with people you grew up watching and loving.
The other one to look out for is a really nice role for my business partner Martin Kemp which will surprise people – it will be Martin dong something eye-poppingly different.

Strippers Vs. Werewolves

GP : What kind of werewolves will they be? The traditional Wolf Man look or something entirely new?

They are very much the classic Curse of the Werewolf look. We looked at every major (and some minor) werewolf movie as research and going down that route the ones that worked were ones like Curse of the Werewolf, the one in The Monster Squad (a film we pay very loving homage to in SvW) and of course the Lon Chaney classic. Unless you have bundles of money, the quadroped look seems to go horribly wrong and I didn’t want this looking like a Howling sequel, as much fun as they are. Our prosthetics designer Kristyan Malett, is an incredibly talented guy and will do us proud.

GP : When will Strippers vs. Werewolves be released?

JS : It is currently scheduled for a cinema release in November and DVD in Spring 2012. I’ll know more about international plans after Cannes.

GP : Black & Blue Films seems to be going from strength to strength. What do you attribute this to?

JS : Well yes we have upped our game in the last year. We are being more careful about what we take on. It’s all a huge learning curve. There isn’t a film producer school you can go to and graduate with an understanding of how to do this right. For me taking on Simon Phillips, who is a very talented producer, has been a really big help as Billy and I were spread too thin. Between us all we have a pretty good set of skills and now we’ve really moved up to the next level. We will keep trying to make better and better films and adapt to what audiences want – I wouldn’t want us to go stale.

GP : And finally, what is your favourite werewolf movie of all time?

JS : That’s a tricky one because I love werewolf movies – even the bad ones (and most of them are bad). I love American Werewolf in London. I love Curse of the Werewolf. I really liked Bad Moon. Guilty pleasures are definitely The Beast Must Die, Moon of the Wolf and Silver Bullett. I think the Hammer House of Horror episode Children of the Full Moon was great. And I love The Monster Squad but it isn’t really a werewolf film! I guess The Howling is probably my favourite – its scary and funny and cool. But I also love the sequels, even though they’re garbage, especially the impossibly silly Howling II and the murder mystery party that is Howling 5. Phil Davis who was in Howling 5 is a pal of mine and he cringes whenever I bring it up!

Keep your eyes peeled for more news on Strippers Vs. Werewolves!

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