Hey Lovelies, 

Last week I was asked if I would like to interview the incredible director of ‘LAVA’, Joe Tucker, about the film, as it returns on home release on the 12th October, 15 years after it was first released lovelies. And I jumped at the chance! 

Over email I asked him all the questions I wanted answered about the film, his favourite scenes, his relationships with the actors and what he has planned for the future. And now I have all his answers back to share them with you lovelies! 


What is it about Lava that makes it so special, even after 15 years? 
I think it's still a film that is difficult to categorise, which is interesting. Reviewers at the time of the original cinema release spoke about LAVA in terms of it being a dark hearted comedy, a hard-hitting drama, even an urban thriller. The story follows a flawed revenge plan that is further upset by a succession of bizarre culture clashes and (inadvertent) drug-induced chaos during the Notting Hill Carnival, so it's a film of many contrasts and extremes. In that respect I think it still has a unique tone and has kept its capacity to surprise.

When you made the film, did you think it would have such a cult status?
No but I did hope that it would continue to find an audience beyond its cinema release, so am very happy with the status of cult!

What is it about the film, that you think makes it so key to the times? For me it seems to suit any audience in any decade, which is amazing.
Well, story-wise there are the timeless themes of revenge, the best laid plans never being the best laid plans, the farcial consequences of mistaken identity. But it's also the context of the Carnival backdrop - that yearly and unchangeable vortex of energy which grips Notting Hill every August bank holiday. So even though the characters speak and behave with an 'unvarnished authenticity', it's a setting which I think gives the story a timeless and heightened other-worldliness. 

Many people have different scenes within the film that are their favourite, what scene really stands out to you when you look back at the film? And why?
LAVA was just screened this September at the Portobello Film Festival and won a Golden Trellick Award. Seeing the film again on a big screen for the first time in over a decade, I got to marvel all over again at the scene where Philip (James Holmes) pours his heart out to Darrel (Grahame Fox), his brother's mocking assailant. I still find that scene incredibly moving. I was also bowled over (again) by the sheer force and brilliance of Nicola Stapleton's performance as the scheming vampy Julie, it's so vitriolic and extreme but also vulnerable and so so funny. Another striking moment was the comic banality of Claude (Dennis Titus) getting a call from his girlfriend just at the moment he's about to shoot a rival gang member; he sees her name flash up and decides he'd best answer it.

Have you stayed in contact with any of the cast? And would you work with them again in the future? 
Yes, I'd actually worked with a few of them before LAVA and yes - any and all of them. I was so lucky, all the performances are so strong, unvain and fearless.

How would you describe the film to audiences who may not have seen it?
The druggy, profane and violent collide amid the chaos of the Notting Hill Carnival. It's funny and sometimes shocking, yet ultimately moving.

Do you have any fond memories of making the film? If so can you tell us one?
The great late Tom Bell turning up on the morning of his first day's filming, refusing to wear the trousers and slippers that the costume department had prepared for him. Instead, he insisted on wearing the shell suit bottoms and the dirty pair of trainers that he'd arrived in - togs which he'd apparently acquired from a man whom he'd got talking to in a pub the evening before, swapping them for his own trousers and shoes. Bargain. That man's clobber does indeed appear in the film (Tom Bell's dress sense was spot on).

I see that Mike Leigh gave LAVA a positive endorsement, how was it working for him previously as an actor? Were you amazed by his work before?
 Remarkable and rewarding on so many levels. Yes, absolutely, his TV films in particular were an early touchstone. I remember seeing a 'play for today' film of his called 'Home Sweet Home', which as far as I can recall, was my first encounter with the Mike Leigh terrain, when I was about 14 or 15 years old, sat in my parents house in Leicester. I was so struck with it that I still have a vivid memory of it even now, particularly a scene where a social worker makes a home visit and brings his kettle in from his car for fear of it being stolen. Then 10 or 11 years later I was actually acting for Mike Leigh myself, which is really quite an extraordinary thing to have happened, I realise when I think about it now.

 Finally can you tell us anything about any of your future projects?
Acting-wise - the soon to be broadcast Sean Bean ITV crime drama ' The Frankenstein's Chronicles'. Writing/directing - in development is a caustic comic satire about rival Essex estate agents.

The film will be out from the 12th October lovelies! Have a look out for it then! 

Blog Soon, 
Joey X

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