Today: February 21, 2024

Storage 24 Noel Clarke

As Noel Clarke’s newest film hits the big screen, Chris Patmore caught up with its writer and star, to discover just what horrors are lurking inside Storage 24.

As Noel Clarke’s newest film hits
the big screen, Chris Patmore caught up with its writer and star, to discover
just what horrors are lurking inside Storage 24.

Was your intention with Storage 24
to make a uniquely British sci-fi movie?

Our intention, firstly, was just to make a sci-fi movie, and Johannes
Roberts [the Director] brings a horror element to it, as he is a big horror
fan. Obviously, [we want] to make a British sci-fi movie, and make something
that hasn’t been done here, at least for a long time. I feel that, as a sci-fi
fan … there [aren’t] a lot of mainstream movies produced in this country for
fans to go and see. So that’s what we wanted to do.

Why do you think there aren’t a lot
of genre films produced here? Isn’t it something we are good at?

I don’t know. I think it’s difficult because the budgets are so low that
you can’t always get the scale that you want. Our budget wasn’t massive, so we
really tried to put it in the places where it was needed to make the film look
like it has scale, and be exciting. Hopefully we’ve done that.

So, was it difficult to get funding
for it?
As difficult as any other film. The trouble is, doing sci-fi here is a
tougher sell than in America. If you pitch it in America they’re like, “Can
we sell? Great, we’ll do it!” It’s like it is still unfamiliar territory
for a British film, so hopefully we’ve done that, and done it all right.

British films these days seem to be
either historical costume dramas, or urban dramas, which you’ve done your fair
share of …

Which I’m mostly responsible for! I just feel that we need to do
broader, more exciting, more commercial, entertaining films. I want to be
entertained. And there’s such a huge sci-fi audience that isn’t catered for. So
hopefully they’ll get behind Storage 24 and go and see it.

Why did you decide not to direct
this one?

I’ve got a little production company and I decided that the greed or ego
of directing everything within the company would mean that you get less done. It’s
only a small company, with three of us, and we get partners for each project,
and if I directed it, it takes me out for nine months. If I write projects and
get other directors, we can do two or three films a year, potentially. So we’ve
done Storage 24 and The Knot, which
is a wedding comedy. I also wrote Fast
for Damien Jones, who
produced Kidulthood and Adulthood. I just thought [about] the
productivity of the company. Me stepping back and not trying to do everything …
[would move us] forward.

What made you choose a storage unit?
Was it because you’d already done council estates, and Joe Cornish has already
put aliens there?

Joe had a much bigger budget than us, and part of the reason for the
storage facility was because it kept the cost down. To be able to get the VFX
on the alien and put that where it needed to go, we couldn’t move around too
much. We needed one location and that was the storage facility. I got the idea
because I’d been to storage facilities with my wife and when I was there I
thought it was really freaky and a good place to set a film. That went on for a
while and evolved into this idea, and that’s the reason.

So it wasn’t a comment on
contemporary society: that we are so attached to all the stuff we have that we
have to use these lock ups?

(Laughing.) No. It might do
that by accident, but definitely not. It was simply that one location keeps the
budget down. So that’s what we chose.

Was it the same budgetary
constraints that made you choose a practical creature?

Yeah. Same reason. We had a practical monster and put the VFX on top of
it because there was no way we would be able to do a fully VFX creature. The
Americans can do that all day long, but unless you are a big studio film, we
don’t have the capability to do that. A studio is putting this film out, but we
made it and it needed to be done properly. Practical guy in a suit, with the
VFX on top of it, and the darkness, we’re hoping that it works.

There’s the scene where you’re
crawling through the vents, did you ever consider doing an homage to Die Hard
and do it in a vest?

(Laughs.) You know, it’s
weird you say that because my original idea, when talking to Johannes about the
character and how to make him different and downtrodden, and I’m like,
“Wouldn’t it be cool if he ends up in a vest.” Johannes was,
“No, because you’ve got quite muscly arms and what we don’t want is him to
lose who he is, and if you suddenly see this guy with tattoos and arms, it
might not be Charlie.” So we kept the shirt on.

When you wrote it, did you always
have the idea of casting yourself as the hero?

I did write it to play that part, but he had to be decidedly not the
hero at the start. He had to be very different to everything else I’d done and
be a real nine-to-five jobsworth, always finds a problem in something and a bit
of a weak-willed character. It was important for me to play that character
because when he becomes who he is, he has gone on a journey. I think that was important. I’ve played
lots of characters that are tough from the outset, and it was very important,
like I did in Ben Miller’s Huge, to
play something very different, very down.

Which, by definition, makes him the
hero because he has gone through that transformative journey.

That’s right, and that’s what
we wanted to do. People haven’t seen me do that a lot, so it was important to
do that.

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