Nerdlocker Interview: Julian Gilbey, Director of “Plastic”




 “It doesn’t matter how it started, more important is how it ended.”


Amongst the technological changes of the past decade we have seen the world changing at our fingertips.  This includes the way we store and save personal information from out of harms way in the cyber-revolution. Today I interviewed the quite comedic and personable writer/director, Julian Gilbey, and spoke about his involvement with his new film, Plastic. I had the pleasure of doing a little background research on the writer and this film, and got an advanced screener of the film earlier this week. This movie touches on many elements that will bring many different age groups and fans of many different genres together. This cyber-mobster-crime movie doesn’t pull any punches, and will hit the viewer hard with a 1990’s modern Robin Hood-esque concept.  Some of the English actors you will recognize, such as Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) from the hit HBO show, Game Of Thrones, Ed Speleers (Jimmy Kent) of Downton Abbey, and the always beautiful, Emma Rigby. But what you really don’t want to miss is the heist, and how these characters get involved with the darker “plastic” of London.

This was an exciting film from the start and had all the stimulating aspects of a modern English crime topped with a group of young, dynamic actors.  It shows a way of gaining control of modernized society and taking away the opportunities of the rich, egotistical, and cheeky. This film delves into the mind of four young college students that come up with the ultimate plan to take back the money and give it to the hard working citizen, or so they think. With old school hacking tactics, like implementing the cloning of credit cards, they run into a gentleman that doesn’t like giving up his personal finances so easily. As the movie embarks into the crazy joy ride through the streets of England through the mind of the students and the ill-tempered mob, the audience gets pulled into the deadly trap along with the characters. The cinematography was quite thrilling, from the different angles of the shoot outs to the eccentric drug induced party sequences.  Either way you look at it, Plastic takes us into the dark and rainy streets of London on a heist that the audience can’t get out of. It’s pure gratification and douses the viewer with real-world situations that occur each time we swipe our credit card at the ATM.

It was a pleasure getting to speak with Julian Gilbey about his directorial work in the film, Plastic, and to learn about some of his background in film, and his future projects.

Follow Julian Gilbey on Twitter – @JulianGilbey

Julian Gilbey

Nerdlocker:  How did you get involved with this project?

Julian Gilbey:  Brought to me by a previous producer I had worked with in 2006 and was the film Rise of the Foot Soldier, and was a hit in the UK.  A film about murders and crime that took place in 1995.

NL: Credit card fraud and scams are a major issue worldwide. How did you approach the film knowing this is an on-going topic?

JG:  The true story happened in the 90’s and we actually worked out how credit card fraud would work in 2014, compared to 98/99, it was more visually pleasing to make our techniques more old fashioned. For example, fifteen years ago you could disguise better and everything is computerized now. The film portrays credit card fraud the old fashioned way.  That’s an interesting question, we realized quite early on if we set this in the student world, post credit card crash then we are not making an excuse, it doesn’t explain the seduction of it.  Personally, if anyone stole my credit card information, I WOULD SMASH HIS OR HER FACE IN!  I’m not trying to be cheeky, there is someone trying to sell goods, or credit cards, there is the moral side, and go with the story.  Within the character, there are many elements, and were quite interesting.  They went out on these crazy shopping sprees and weren’t giving out to friends and family, the real people that were in dire need. You got the modern Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

NL: This film has a younger cast. What was a normal day on set like, and what was it like working with Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy-GOT) Will Poulter (We’re the Millers), and Emma Rigby?

JG: I love Alfie to death and the easiest guy to get a long with. He was great on set, along with Will, and had that chemistry that was captured in the picture. This movie focused and the visual and color scheme of things. We wanted someone to be very striking to an American audience.  When scouting an actress for Frankie’s character, I had one of my guys find Emma Rigby, who was perfect for the role. Don’t get me wrong, England and Scotland have beautiful women in the summer.  But we wanted someone with the contrasting personality and the gorgeous looks.

NL: In films of this genre criminals are associated with organized crime in one way or another. Was it a complicated process casting Marcel’s character, Thomas Kretschmann?  He is quite intimidating in the character.

JG: He’s a funny guy and completely insane in a good way. Second day of filming, Thomas Kretschmann was giving me shit, and said, “No, it means your working hard.” He’s a cheeky guy and like one of the kids in the movie, but very professional, and his delivery was great.  He enjoyed the material and had fun with it on set. We gave him more to do and had some fun and violent moments on the final picture.

NL:  When going into a film like this, are there any other films or directors that inspire you, or is there a process you go through to get into the mindset of the film you are writing/directing?

JG: Well the screenplay was already written when I joined the film, I guess we should have tailored it.  It’s funny you ask that, in a moment, personally, we are influenced by what we see day to day. I am currently writing a screenplay called Summer of Life and Death that is set in the French alps which is a crazy summer of sex, drugs, rock n roll, life, and death. It’s Dazed and Confused meets Touching the Void in the crazy and treacherous European mountains. With that kind of movie, being out in the mountains and climbing the rocks, be truthful to it, and is a complete departure and different from Plastic.  I like doing different things and Plastic was such a lighter film than my previous film, was more horrifying with a horror film.

NL: Is there an overall message, or a message that you want the audience to get out of this film?

JG: You never want to beat people over the head with a message, we can all say crying doesn’t pay especially in this instance.  It’s an overall message, its quite pinnacle to say what that is, and each person will get a different message out of the film. But you don’t need to beat Plastic into the heads of the viewer; people can have fun with it.  Shit, it’s real interesting, a lot of the kids in the US and UK that have opportunities have been fucked up by a bunch of cocaine sniffing, fucking idiots!  Am I right or am I right?  If anything, I wanted to point to one of many causes of temptation, ego, and vanity with credit card fraud. I blame the last recession with the cowboys of the Western World who literally plugged the plug on the monetary system. You know what, I’ll just throw a few hints throughout the film, where you can think of it, and jump in front of the overall idea.

NL:  You worked on the ABC’s of Death 2; do you have any other projects coming up in the horror genre?

JG: With ABC’S of Death 2, I don’t want to give to much away, but didn’t want to do a horror movie per say.  I wanted a Straw Dogs segment and a lot of fun comes along with it. It’s very liberating and fun to do, the budget is more liberating. Once you have been in the business for a while, you don’t need that huge budget, but the team backing and making the movie. It was my complete honor and didn’t have to hold back, where Plastic I had four college kids to look after. Every review has said it is much better than the first, with the first film with good segments, but the people took the money and run. Everyone was up for the challenge in Part 2 and going all out.

I am giving Plastic a 3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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