Filmmaker Philip Barantini combined his experience working in busy kitchens with his time as an actor to craft his latest feature Boiling Point. It’s all shot in one continuous take and centres around a head chef played by Stephen Graham during a hectic evening at a high-end London restaurant. I was fortunate enough to chat with the director about the process of making this ambitious film…
I’m sure this is what everyone is asking about but as if getting a film made wasn’t hard enough in the current climate, you decide to do it in one take. Where did the decision behind this come from and are there any other one-take films that influenced this style choice?
Well, we did a short in the back end of 2018, and we did that all in one take. That was just 20 minutes. I’ve seen Victoria, Russian Ark, and movies like that so I knew it could be done. For me, the reason we did it in one take I think is because I wanted to throw the audience into that perspective of being in a busy restaurant, over that period of time and almost like making the audience the voyeur, and it added that extra layer of tension. I wanted the audience to maybe forget halfway through that it was a one take and be like ‘Oh my god!’ when they realise. Someone said to me the other day, which is the best comment I could ever get, that they hadn’t realised it was one take and that they’d need to watch it again!
It’s no coincidence that the latest feature from actor-turned-director Philip Barantini shares its name with a documentary mini-series fronted by potty mouthed cook Gordon Ramsay. Developed from a short version from a couple of years ago, Boiling Point unfolds across an incredibly hectic evening at a high-end London eatery, centring around head chef Andy (Stephen Graham) who’s taken his desperate personal problems into the workplace. Between an inspection from food hygiene jobsworth Mr Lovejoy (Thomas Coombes), a surprise visit from pompous former employer Alastair (Jason Flemyng), and other unexpected challenges, the increasing stress of the occasion begins to weigh down on him.
The ninth collaboration between legendary pairing Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro and their first in over twenty years, mob drama The Irishman has been a long time coming. Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by true crime writer Charles Brandt, the plot centres around Frank Sheeran (De Niro), the eponymous WWII veteran turned hitman. From meeting mafia kingpin Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) to his complicated friendship with union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the sprawling epic tracks the life and times of the mercilessly loyal footsoldier.
The director and actor pairing of Dexter Fletcher and Taron Egerton soared on the slopes for their Eddie the Eagle underdog story back in 2015, and now they’ve reunited to reach for the stars in Elton John biopic Rocketman. After a troubled working-class upbringing, we see Reginald Dwight (Egerton) come of age when he meets songwriter Bernie (Jamie Bell) and they start making music together. When the duo head to Los Angeles to crack America, Elton’s head is turned by hotshot producer John Reid (Richard Madden), and his rock and roll lifestyle soon spirals out of control.
Writer and director Dan Cadan reminisces about the golden age of British wrestling with his feature debut Walk Like a Panther, a so-called comedy set in Yorkshire. Mark Bolton (Stephen Graham) is the cheeky-chappy landlord of The Half Nelson, the local drinking den frequented by a group of former grapplers known as the Panthers. When the beloved pub’s future is threatened by devilish developer Paul Peterson (Stephen Tompkinson), Mark turns to his dad Trevor (Dave Johns) and the rest of the gang to save the day.
In 21st century cinema, British acting talent doesn’t come much more talented than Stephen Graham, the Liverpudlian known mostly for his hard-man roles across film and television, both in home-grown projects and in the US. His breakthrough role was in Guy Ritchie’s ensemble black comedy Snatch in which he starred alongside Jason Statham and Brad Pitt. Two years later, he was in the States working with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.
Since then, he has been perhaps most associated with playing sociopathic skinhead Combo in Shane Meadows’ This Is England and portraying the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone in HBO series Boardwalk Empire. His other notable credits include Public Enemies, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Pirates of the Caribbean.
His latest part sees him play reclusive security guard Robert in Michael Lennox’s directorial debut A Patch of Fog which is screening at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Instead of following the rules and prosecuting, he blackmails the thief in return for friendship. I caught up with Stephen Graham to discuss the new film as well as his impressive back-catalogue of work.
We’re introduced in Edinburgh’s Caledonian hotel and as he orders a water with honey, he switches chairs a couple of times to get comfortable, apologising for looking like a ‘right goldilocks’. He’s far from that, and after I ruffle through my notes and hit record, this is what happened…
After winning a BAFTA for his short film Boogaloo & Graham in 2014, Irish filmmaker Michael Lennox makes the jump to feature for his directorial debut A Patch of Fog. The suspenseful psychological thriller follows novelist and TV personality Sandy Duffy (Conleth Hill) who lives off of the success of a best-seller which gives the film its name. Not content with the luxurious lifestyle his book has given him, he develops a habit of shoplifting for thrills, loving the excitement of walking through the exit with stolen goods. Sandy gets off scot-free until he encounters secluded security guard Robert (Stephen Graham) who spots him dropping a pen into his pocket as he receives a phoney phone call. However, instead of prosecuting, he begins to blackmail the thief, threatening to expose the secret to ruin his reputation, and asks only for companionship in return for his silence.