It’s no secret that Paul McCartney is my favorite artist of all time. Many days of my childhood were spent blaring the music of the Beatles and McCartney on my little iPod touch. To this day, his CDs reside in the center console of my car. But this isn’t news to those who know me (or read our interview with McCartney’s guitarist Rusty Anderson). Suffice it to say, I was thrilled when the email for a new book, The McCartney Legacy Volume 1: 1969-1973 arrived in my inbox. I was able to chat with the authors Adrian Sinclair and Allan Kozinn about the first installment in their series. Due to the length and density of this interview, I’ll just get into it and let the interview “Take it Away.”
Coastal House Media: Thank you guys both for your time and congratulations on the book. I’m very excited to actually get to read it all. Paul McCartney is my favorite artist and I really love anybody that can nerd out about him, so I’m very excited to chat about him with both of you guys. Let me just start by asking, how do you know each other and how did you just decide to write a book together?
Adrian Sinclair: That’s a very long story. We met online through Beatles forums, so we’d known each other for quite some time. And then I conceived this project [The McCartney Legacy] — although it started off very differently from how it came out — I decided I wanted to work with an actual writer given that my background is broadcast on television. I thought: Who better to work with than a genius like Allan [Kozinn]?
When I first started this out, it was gonna be more like Mark Lewisohn‘s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions — it was gonna be like a walk through Paul’s recorded history — but then the more we delved into the project and the further we went along the track, we quickly realized that you couldn’t separate Paul’s life from his art. It’s just impossible. The two coexist, they go hand-in-hand, so we decided really after what was the “eureka!” moment, I suppose, was when I was interviewing drummer Denny Seiwell.
We were just talking to people who’d worked with Paul in the studio; recording engineers, musicians, former members of Wings, people like that, and at the end of a Skype interview with Denny Seiwell, he said to me just very casually, “Oh, you know, when I was in Wings, my wife Monique used to keep these little diaries. I was wondering if that was something you might be interested in hearing about,” and of course, I raised an eyebrow and I said,” Yeah, we’d love to hear any information you might have in those diaries,” because obviously, it would’ve been useful for the recording sessions book as well as anything else.
Anyway, long story short, about seven hours of Skype calls later with Denny [and] we’d been through his entire time in Wings in really microscopic detail and I said to Allan at the time, “I think we’ve got more than a recording session’s book here. I think really we should be looking at expanding this and really getting the most out of the information that we’ve just been given.”
So that really was the turning point, and that’s really when it became more of a fully-fledged bio[graphy] of Paul’s life than just a recording sessions [book].
Allan Kozinn: That plus we were talked into it by Mark Lewisohn to a degree. He had wanted to know how this was going and he was visiting me at one point and we sat down and had a really long talk about the fact that there’s a need for a serious McCartney bio and [take] what we’ve been collecting and actually do it seriously as a biography, not just a sessions [book].
And so we sort of explored that with our agent and it turned out that it was a good idea. So it became what it is.
CHM: And let me ask you guys because you are on two opposite ends of the world, how did you guys manage to work together? I feel like that has to be hard working on a book together. I don’t know if you guys are using Google Docs where you guys can both edit the same things or if you guys writing different parts of the book.
Kozinn: It’s actually not as hard as you might think because it’s almost as if we have an open line on WhatsApp. If either of us has a question about anything, the other one is at the other end of WhatsApp and we monitor them pretty closely. No more than certainly an hour will go by, but usually, we get an immediate answer and we talk a lot on the phone and given that the major places of Paul’s career are both the United States and Britain, it’s great having one of us in each place.
In terms of the way we’ve divided the workload into broad terms is that Adrian has been doing a lot of the interviewing and research, and I’ve been doing a lot of the writing. Adrian also has written quite a few chapters of the book and I’ve done some interviews and research as well. I mean, I have a sort of a research library of not just McCarney, but all Beatles stuff in my house here. And among other things pretty much every issue of Rolling Stone, which has been pretty handy for this project. I knew it would come in handy for some reason — I never threw any of them away [laughs] — so we’ve gone through a lot of that.
Adrian has been in the British Library a lot spending lots of time getting things from around the world, plus our interviews. So it has all come together that way. I mean, we never decided, “You write this chapter, I’ll write that chapter,” it’s been as we’re going along, I’ll be working on part of it and Adrian will say, “I’d like to do the chapter on the University Tour,” or whatever it is, and you know, and he would do that, and then I would look at it and sort of edit it and add things, subtract things, raise questions, or whatever and he would do the same thing with the chapters I’m writing.
So it really is a collaboration. I’ve never written with anyone before — I’ve always been a solo — but this has worked out really, really well from my point of view.
Sinclair: Yeah, I think like you said, the one magic thing that we’ve got is having in a way kind of works in our favor that we’re on both sides of the Atlantic because Allan has all the connections in America, and what I didn’t realize when I moved to where I live now is that there are two branches of the British Library and one of them is seven miles from my house. So I can be in the British Library in 10 minutes. So I spent an awful lot of time there.
You’ll see things like in the book, there’s a chapter about Paul and Linda going for a trip to Scotland in 1970, all of the information there came from the British Library. We knew that they were in Scotland because we’d read Paul’s Life magazine [where he] said that they’d been in Scotland, they’d been on a boat, and I went to the British Library and I took out every newspaper from every outpost you could conceive in the north of Scotland and we suddenly found this trail of breadcrumbs all the way to the Shetland Islands, and we had the entire story then. So really, it’s kind of worked well for us that we [have] this transatlantic partnership.
And also, given the scale of this project, we kind of understand now why Mark Lewison is taking so long between volumes. There are two of us. We can divide the work, we can edit each other’s work, we can cast [a] critical eye over each other’s work whereas Mark’s working alone. So in a way, it works out quite well that we’re a partnership taking on such a big project.
CHM: So this is Volume One, are there more to come?
Sinclair: Right now, we’re writing Volume Two, which will take the story up to 1980, and then we think we could probably do the rest in two more volumes. I say two, just because when we started, I had lunch with our editor and she said, “How many volumes do you think there will be in total?” and I said, “Five,” and the look of horror on her face made me say, “I mean, maybe four,” [laughs] so it may be four. The thing is, the parts we’re doing now are very intensive because he’s always doing something. But from say, you know, the mid-eighties on, an awful lot of what he was doing has been touring. And while we do what we can to cover the tours thoroughly, and if there’s anything interesting that happens on any tourist stop or we write something in between shows, or whatever, we wanna have all of that, but we won’t need to describe every single show that he’s done since 1989. So we’ll be able to fit more years in a volume than we have been in this first volume.
Also, you know, because it’s the start and because it’s coming out of the Beatles and because the end of the Beatles needed some explanation too, and Paul’s position within that maelstrom, all needed to be explained a bit. And so this first one [is] only ‘69 to ‘73, but so much happens in that. I mean the text is 720 pages — I don’t know what it is with the index and everything else — and that’s with stuff cut. There’s plenty more to come.
CHM: Let me ask both of you guys really quick, ’cause, I know you guys span five albums over the course of this book, right? Do you guys have a favorite album that you guys covered in this book?
Sinclair: That’s a really interesting one. I think when we were writing about the albums, each album becomes your favorite as you are writing about it. I developed a real fondness for Wildlife when we were writing about that and began to really appreciate some of the secret hidden nuggets in Paul’s collection, you know, like “Some People Never Know” and “Tomorrow.” I mean, if you spoke to most McCartney fans on the street, they’d never have heard of those songs, but they’re probably two of the greatest melodies that he wrote during that period.
And then you also come away from writing about Band on the Run realizing that of all the songs on the album, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” is the greatest song on the album, which, maybe before we’d written this book, you might not have had such a deep appreciation for that song, but when you explore that as a piece of music, as a composition, it’s just stunning, you know?
So yeah, but I’d say that while we were writing the book I think Wildlife became my favorite album.
Kozinn: I think for me it was probably Ram. Although when I say Ram, I really mean Ram and about half of Red Rose Speedway because I’m thinking of the Ram sessions [laughs]. And in the Ram sessions he recorded an awful lot of stuff, a bunch of which ended up on Red Rose Speedway and a bunch of which ended up as outtakes from Red Rose Speedway, you know, [songs that he] wanted to get on Red Rose Speedway but that was when they were gonna make it a double album and it got cut down to a single album. So a lot of good stuff sort of fell out.
But the Ram sessions, I think, were amazing. And it’s an amazing story that takes up a large chunk of the book because he was working on that from October 1970 through maybe March [or] April 1971. And it [The McCartney Legacy Vol.1] includes that whole period [where] he has to go to London for the course court case of “Paul versus the other Beatles and Apple [Records]”, he has to go again because his publisher challenged whether Linda [McCartney] helped him write “Another Day,” so it’s really an action-packed bunch of chapters, but certain things in it, those sessions like “The Backseat of My Car” and “Little Lamb Dragonfly,” especially. I knew the songs, [but] I never had really focused all that much on them. Really focusing on what made those songs tick, how they came together, how they were recorded and then what the final product was really eye-opening for me.
And I have to admit, Wildlife was always probably one of my least favorite albums of maybe not just Paul but any [of the] former Beatles’ albums [laughs]. But like Adrian was saying, as we sort of got into looking at the recording process and the writing process of that album, a lot of it began to grow on me, especially the stuff on side two, which is where the couple of songs Adrian mentioned are from. There really is a lot of good stuff on that album that gets overlooked because its general reputation is so out there. But we’re hoping that with a lot of these things, people who like McCartney generally but haven’t really focused on everything he’s done, [that when] they read the book, they’ll have a new appreciation as well for what he’s done and how he’s done it.
CHM: Since you guys are both experts on the subject matter, I wanna ask this question I’ve had since I was probably five years old. I grew up listening to Band on the Run a whole lot and “Jet” is one of my favorite songs of his career both solo and with Wings. The line that always drives me insane is the “suffragette” or “suffra-jet” line, and it’s always been an internal debate in my mind. What is the real line and why is it written that way?
Sinclair: I think it was probably written as a play on words. “Jet” was the name of his dog and around that time, David Bowie had “Suffragette City” out, so I’m guessing that that probably entered his consciousness through Bowie’s song. At the end of, I think the very last word in
“Suffragette City” is jet, isn’t it? “Suffra-jet,” I think it ends on. So I think that probably entered his consciousness through that.
But that’s kind of the way that Paul’s songwriting engine worked quite a lot, you’ll see that in the book. He’ll be reading a newspaper or a magazine, or he’ll see a billboard, and all these things just kind of enter his subconscious, and then he plucks them out when he’s writing his songs. He must have an incredible capacity to absorb the world around him and then translate that into song and into music because it happens so frequently. Even with little songs like the unreleased song from the Red Rose [Speedway] era, “1882,” was all based on things he’d read in the British press about the IRA tarring and feathering traitors. So he read that in a British newspaper and then he decided to evolve that into a tale that was based in 1882. Things like that happen quite frequently with Paul and probably still to this day.
CHM: I know you guys also kind of go deep into the recording sessions too, and I need to get into the McCartney chapter cuz I love, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I mean, that’s a pretty well-known song, but I’m always been curious about the recording of that song. I feel like that’s one of his greatest vocal performances but when he sings that song live, even back in the seventies, he’s never been able to sing it the way he did on the album… I feel like that was almost lightning in a bottle. Does your chapter on McCartney go into that at all?
Kozinn: I think with “Maybe I’m Amazed,” one of the really interesting things about it is that when he started the McCartney album, all he had really for new stuff was two little snippets: [“Maybe I’m Amazed” and] “The Lovely Linda,” and that would be something. Neither of them were really completely finished songs, especially “The Lovely Linda.” I mean, he even said, “This is just a trailer — I’ll finish it later,” which he never did so far as we know. And then to go from there to “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which is really up there with his Beatles-era work, that was maybe a quicker recovery than people often imagined.
And that was recorded not at home, but in the studio. So apart from it being really a full-fledged, brilliant song, he had facilities to record it that he didn’t have for the part of the album he did at home. It just sort of worked out really well that it came together during that part of the making of the album.
CHM: I want to talk a little bit about some of the, I guess “criticisms” that he’s had in the past. One of the ones that has always been fascinating to me was “Hi, Hi, Hi,” which I believe is not on Red Rose Speedway, right?
Sinclair: It’s a single.
CHM: So in that case, is that covered in the book?
Sinclair: Yeah, yeah. Everything’s covered.
CHM: Okay. I just didn’t know if songs not on an album would be included. But did “Hi, Hi, Hi” have some controversy with its lyrics?
Sinclair: Yeah, it got banned by the BBC. I mean, they wrote that song when they were just about to go on tour in the summer of ‘72, so they said basically before they went on tour, they felt like they had a gap in their setlist where they wanted a rocker. So they all disappeared after Spain and had a holiday in a villa, and what came out of that holiday was “Hi, Hi, Hi.”
So really, “Hi, Hi, Hi” is an embodiment of the Spanish sunshine and probably a lot of pot smoking, red wine [and] Spanish tapas. So it’s got that kind of “summer-y” energy about it. But when Paul got home, he had this lyric, “I’m gonna lie you on the bed/Getting ready for my ____,” and he needed to find a word to fill in the gaps. So he plucked a lyric from a French play to slot in there and he felt that that would get past the censorship test at the BBC. But the second that they heard it, they thought the sexual content of the song was inappropriate. And after one play on BBC radio, it was banned.
Kozinn: But that was because the word he used was “polygon” and they heard it as “body gun.” I think he said in an interview later, “I actually like ‘body gun’ better,” but he was trying to come up with something that would be unobjectionable and in a way not mean anything, but mean whatever you wanna make it mean. Then “polygon,” it’s a shape. So he put that in there.
It’s kind of interesting actually because what he was doing, and I don’t know if he did this consciously, but by making that the issue, by making it into a sexual thing that people are gonna be listening to and [asking] “Is he saying what I think he’s saying?” completely distracted them from the fact that the chorus is, “I’m going to get high, high, high,” [laughs] you know? And originally, I think when he originally wrote it down, it was [spelled] h-i-g-h and then it was changed to h-i, which, on the surface [is] kind of harmless, but it really was “gonna get high, high, high,” and it sounds like what it is, or it is what it sounds like. But having the sexual thing in there distracted the BBC from the drug issue and that was kind of funny.
Sinclair: But I think that Paul’s problem at the time with that was I think number one on the British charts was “My Ding-a-Line” by Chuck Barry — which didn’t get banned — and the lyrics are, “I want you to play with my ding-a-ling.” He gets away with that and Paul can’t say the word “polygon” [laughs].
CHM: I assume that both of you guys watched the Get Back documentary last year, but did anything from that footage in the series play a part in this book at all? Or was the book finished by then?
Kozinn: Well it was finished by then, but there was a long editorial process, so we were able to go back and there are certain things like the meeting with Dick James, where he comes in with a publishing catalog that he has bought on behalf of John [Lennon] and Paul. So Northern Songs, which we think of as the publishers of the Lennon-McCartney catalog, actually own some other catalogs. To most people watching Get Back, that was just like, Okay, who cares? but we care because Paul later went into buying publishing catalogs and this was sort of an interesting moment where you see in that conversation, Paul is saying, “We own all these and what are the titles?” and he’s going through the list of titles. He’s obviously quite interested in it and he always gives credit to the Eastmans, his in-laws, for persuading him to buy publishing companies as an investment.
It goes back earlier than that, obviously. The Eastman’s advice there was kind of crucial to Paul’s fortune, let’s say. I mean, he’s done extremely well with that advice, but it wasn’t totally out of the blue. He already knew a bit about buying publishing companies and owning publishing companies other than his, so that was an interesting moment that we ended up adding to the book.
Sinclair: We were advised by our editor [that] when Get Back came out to revisit the chapters that we’d written which discussed the [Let it Be] sessions. I think essentially what we’d written didn’t change a huge amount, did it? There were a few factual things we were able to smooth out, thanks to Get Back, but there were also a few things that caused a bit of a problem for us. There’s something in the Get Back film where Paul’s sitting at the piano and he says, “I wrote this song morning,” was that “The Back Seat of My Car” [or] “Another Day,” Allan?
Kozinn: I think it was “The Back Seat of My Car.”
Sinclair: And he says, “I wrote this song this morning,” but actually, the song that he then played was an edit; so that actually happened 15 minutes later. So some people might watch the Get Back film and think that Paul wrote “The Back Seat of My Car” that morning, but that wasn’t the case. So we had to revisit some of the original audio as well to make sure that those things were accurate.
Kozinn: We have all the Nagras, so we could check if he says, “I wrote this this morning,” and sits down and plays it, whether that really happened that way or it didn’t. And he actually had played some other song that never became a full-fledged song. It might have been “Another Day,” actually, I can’t remember, but either “The Back Seat of My Car” or “Another Day” happened [about] 15 minutes later.
It’s a great documentary. I love Get Back. But if you’re writing a book based on that, you have to be really careful and go back to the original audio recordings to find what actually happened. The one great thing about Get Back was that we’d been listening to these Nagra audio recordings for decades and what you imagine is happening is quite different from what you see happening in the Get Back film.
Listening to the Nagras I’d have thought that for most of the sessions, John has just sort of slumped in [and out of] his chair, absolutely not interested. You look at the Get Back film, he’s there, he’s on, he is interested and the audio is the same, but when you add a picture, it gives you a completely different perspective.
CHM: Looking ahead at the next book, since this one cuts off at ‘73 and in ‘75 was the “Wings Over Europe Tour,” I forget what the actual tour was called. But then Wings went on a big world tour then, right? This is my interpretation of it, but it felt like Paul kind of resisted some Beatles stuff. I know he played a few songs in ‘75, but it seems like in ‘79, he started opening up a little bit. That’s where “Let It Be” started being played a little bit. I’m just curious if the next book will kind of tackle any of that.
Sinclair: Yeah, I’ve been reading a lot about that recently because one of the keys to our project, to not only understanding the story but getting the story as accurately as possible is to find interviews from as close to the time as possible. So when we’ve got Paul talking about writing songs, we go as close to the time as we can get music for us, magazines, anything we can get our hands on where he is talking about songs. When it came to the “Over the World” tour, we actually have Denny Laine to thank for that.
What happened in 1975 was that they were round at Paul’s house in London and they were jamming in Paul’s back garden and they started to jam some Beatles songs. Denny Laine was pushing Paul in that direction. Paul was always opposed to it. He didn’t want to do it on the ‘72 tour or the ‘73 tour, even when it was suggested to him because it felt too close. I think he still had a few wounds from the breakup of the Beatles. And then, yeah, Denny Laine persuaded him [on] the ‘75-’76 tour that he should embrace the music that he’d written with the Beatles. And that’s why they introduced a few numbers on that big tour. That’s probably the reason why that tour was so successful. Not only did he have a great catalog of songs at that time that he’d written with Wings and solo but he delved into his Beatles catalog as well. And really, that’s kind of what the audience came along to hear.
And Paul was the first to admit that in interviews at the time. He’d say that he almost felt embarrassed that people just wanted to come to see him rather than Wings. But really, when you’re Paul McCartney and you’ve been in a band as big as the Beatles, that’s what people come to see. They don’t come to see Joe English or Jimmy McCulloch, or maybe to a lesser extent they might come to see Denny because Denny’s got some big songs, but they came to see Paul. So yeah, the world has Denny Laine to thank for that and to this day Paul still plays some of those songs in concert that he did in ‘75. He played some of the songs he played in ‘75 at Glastonbury — so that has had a ripple effect through five decades.
Kozinn: There is another factor that goes back to the era of our book, which is that Paul’s big issue in 1969 with the Beatles was them engaging Alan Klein as the manager. Alan Klein’s contract ended in ‘73. So in ‘73, he still wasn’t playing Beatles things with Wings. But on the James Paul McCartney television show, he played “Yesterday” [and] he played “Blackbird” at the live concert that’s at the end of that show in the full recording of it. Wings did a version of “The Long and Winding Road,” [that] didn’t make it to the TV special. They also played it that night at what became their London debut at Hard Rock Cafe. It was a charity show late at night, so he began opening up at least psychologically a bit after Alan Klein’s contract was not renewed by George, Ringo and John. He also began talking [about] the constant interview question of: Will the Beatles get back together? [which] at first was just sort of brushed aside, and then it began after 1973 becoming, sometimes, “No, we’re not gonna do that,” and sometimes, “Well, you never know. We might,” [laughs] so it became a little confusing for the other members of Wings, too, hearing him say, “Well, yeah, I might do something with the Beatles again,” you know?
So there are the roots of that. It had also something to do with Kline being out of the picture.
CHM: One feature I love with the McCartney “Archive” reissues are the bonus tracks which range from radio edits to demos. I feel like McCartney seems more open about releasing that stuff than other artists — take U2, a band I love, for example — but is there a reason for this?
Kozinn: McCartney’s reissue series has varied over the years — some have more outtakes and demos than others, and I think that has to do with a number of things, including when in the series you’re looking at (the early issues didn’t have much in the way of outtakes or demos; later ones like Flowers in the Dirt had plenty), as well as what exists in the archives for each album. Compared with what’s available on bootlegs, he has actually offered relatively little, and we know of quite a few things in his archives that remain entirely untapped. There was a 30-plus song demo tape from Spring and Summer 1970 – before he left for New York for the Ram sessions – that he has released none of. And there are four-track demos for Band on the Run, made before Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullouch quit, that I’d love to hear.
I once had a discussion with him about outtakes and bootlegs, and it was interesting: he said he likes bootlegs, but he had some real misgivings about releasing that material officially because he’s afraid it will muddy the waters for young listeners who don’t know the official discography yet. I said what seemed logical to me — that there would be liner notes in which everything would be explained. But he pointed out that when the outtake versions are played on the radio, the deejay is not going to read the liner notes, and someone listening could easily walk away from hearing an outtake thinking that it was the finished version. And since he works quite hard to make the finished versions finished, he is reluctant — or was at the time of that interview, which was 1990, well before the Beatles Anthology and most of his archival sets — to release the unfinished versions.
Sinclair: Oddly enough, Paul is not known for including bumpers crops of outtakes in his archives sets, but his box sets are getting better (all the time). McCartney’s early archive box sets didn’t harbor many bonus tracks, but Paul has included more media in his reissues since he re-signed with Capitol Records (the first deluxe sets were issued on Concord Records — part of the Starbucks group). Paul has never been a big fan of outtakes, his view is that outtakes didn’t make the album for a reason, this is likely why some of his reissues may appear thin when compared with, say, Bob Dylan who puts out every take of every song he has ever recorded in his deluxe sets. All that said, the recent Capitol Records books have been much richer in content – the early mix of “Wild Life” that dropped in 2018, for example, was sublime.
CHM: Rapid fire question for both of you guys before I let you go: now that we’re almost 50 years removed from all that, do you think if all four members of the Beatles were still alive, do you think they would’ve reunited and played a show or reunited in some capacity?
Sinclair: Yeah, definitely. 100%.
Kozinn: They might have reunited around the time of the Anthology to do something. Maybe [the] “Free As a Bird” [sessions], or something else. Whatever they had to do. But they might have reunited for a recording. I doubt they’d have given a concert. I don’t know.
The McCartney Legacy Volume 1: 1969-1973 is available now. For more information, click here.
EXCLUSIVE | Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen On How ‘Fallen Leaves’ Became Such a ‘Learning’ Experience
Fallen Leaves premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win the Jury Prize. On the other hand, Aki Kaurismäki’s direction, screenplay, and performances by Alma Pöysti & Jussi Vatanen received critical acclaim. Finland has decided to send the MUBI film for Best International Feature at the 96th Academy Awards.
Apart from being praised at several prestigious festivals, the Finnish movie has received a lot of love from the viewers in its theatrical run. Whether it is storytelling or acting performances, the Aki Kaurismaki directorial is getting the recognition it deserves. Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen are impeccable in their roles and continue to take the audiences by storm. Luckily, I, on the behalf of Coastal House Media, had the opportunity to speak with both stars at the movie’s press conference earlier this week. We discussed how their experience on stage aided in preparing for such complex roles.
Both the actors have been astonishing on the stage, but we all know that movies are a different ball game. I asked how they mentally processed the acting experience while starring in Fallen Leaves and although they shared different anecdotes from what they learnt while shooting the film, both actors admitted that they were “grateful” for this experience. While answering the question, Poysti said she loved how silence can also mean so much in movies and it’s something that she is still processing. She said, “I’m so inspired and so grateful for this experience, and the amount of humanity that runs through our roles. Work is so beautiful and it actually means something to people. This kind of purity inspires me to investigate how much can you take away and when less is actually more. Also, you have to be quite brave to let the camera in when you are taking off the masks and taking away the pretending.”
“Being as bare as one dares can create a fascinating and beautiful space. Trusting the silence reveals a silent dialogue within and between characters, where few words are needed but carefully chosen, with nothing extra. I’m still processing and enjoying contemplating this concept,” Poysti added.
Meanwhile, Vatanen echoed the same sentiment and credited the filmmaker to make things so easy for them. He said, “It definitely was a learning process and we got to witness old-fashioned filmmaking that is so minimalistic. I and Poysti, we both learned how can you achieve a lot by doing so much little and deliver a lot of emotions by just being present in that moment. Of course, Aki is there to help us and you just need to follow what he is trying to paint on the canvas. So, it took away all the pressure.
The actors also shared that the movie was filmed in a mere 20 days, jokingly noting that they’ve spent more time discussing the film than actually shooting it.
Fallen Leaves in currently playing in theatres across the US.
EXCLUSIVE | ‘Joram’ star Manoj Bajpayee Reveals He Never Takes Time To Get Out Of His Characters: ‘Never Had The Luxury…”
Actor Manoj Bajpayee is known for playing intense roles. From Bhiku Mhatre in ‘Satya’ to Professor Siras in ‘Aligarh,’ Bajpayee has always enthralled us with his impeccable acting performances. His upcoming movie, ‘JORAM,’ is no different and sees him playing an immigrant labourer.
In Joram, skillfully directed by Devashish Makhija, we follow the poignant journey of Dasru, an immigrant laborer. His life takes a harrowing turn when his beloved wife is tragically murdered, and he finds himself entangled in a relentless and unforgiving system determined to defeat him at all costs. Faced with unimaginable challenges, Dasru makes a desperate choice to protect his infant daughter, Joram, and embarks on a daring escape to his long-forgotten homeland nestled deep within remote forests.
The movie, which was screened at this year’s JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, received a standing ovation from the audiences. Bajpayee, who was present at the screening of the film, opened up about how he prepared for the role of Dasru and how he manages to come out of them.
While responding to a question posed EXCLUSIVELY by COASTAL HOUSE MEDIA journalist Aayush Sharma, the renowned actor revealed that he drew upon his personal experiences of originating from a humble village to authentically portray the character of Dasru.
“I come from a village. My journey has been very, very long. I have met several people. Such has been my journey that I don’t need to go to jhopadpatti to play a jhopadpatti guy. There are so many experiences stored here (points to his brain). I had to simply refresh m memories from my childhood. That’s how my character Dasru cam alive to me. I felt like I had seen him before. I just had to construct him for this film,” Bajpayee said.
On the other hand, the ‘Gulmohar’ star admitted that he never had the luxury of taking a lot of time to get a character out of his mind. Bajpayee added, “As to how I come out of it, I jump to my next film (laughs). Nowadays directors like Devashish Makhija are very, very demanding. They just want to suck you in and want you to forget everything and take a plunge in their world. I try to be a sincere listener to my directors. It’s in my DNA that I don’t get nostalgic about my films. All of us actors are like that. We find our ways to approach our actors. When we don’t work, we try to relax and go back to reading, spending time with family, etc. However, I have heard several actors taking a lot of time to come out of their characters. That is a luxury I’ve never had.”
The film also stars Smita Tambe, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub and Tannishtha Chatterjee in pivotal roles. ‘Joram’ is scheduled to hit theatres on December 8.
INTERVIEW | Petersen Vargas, Kaori Oinuma, and Gillian Vicencio Talk Filipino Dark Comedy ‘A Very Good Girl’ and Its Overwhelming Success: ‘A Big Achievement For Us’
With movies like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Shoplifters receiving worldwide praise, there is no doubt that Asian cinema is finally getting the recognition it deserves and it is in no mood to stop at all. Joining the bandwagon is Petersen Vergas’ new movie ‘A Very Good Girl,’ starring Dolly De Leon and Kathryn Bernardo in the lead roles. The movie tells the story of Philo (Bernardo) and what happens when she is fired from her job by a stylish retain mogul named Mother Molly (De Leon). However, things go out of control after the firing as Philo embarks on a journey to take revenge and is certain about how she wants to destroy Molly’s empire.
Apart from Bernardo and De Leon, the film also stars two young stars of Filipino cinema – Gillian Vicencio (Joenna) and Kaori Oinuma (Rigel) – who have surprised everyone with stunning performances. As per our review, ‘A Very Good Girl‘ is a roller-coaster ride, filled with brilliant performances, high fashion, and superb production design. Its captivating narrative and visually stunning presentation keep audiences engaged and entertained from beginning to end. The film has received a lot of praise from critics as well as viewers for its storytelling, acting performances, and visually stunning production design.
Coastal House Media caught up with the director Petersen Vargas and actors Gillian Vicencio and Kaori Oinuma to learn more about the creative process and what kind of preparations went into making ‘A Very Good Girl’ such a massive success.
You are working with two of the biggest stars in Asian Cinema, Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly De Leon. Were the roles specifically written for them and they were the first choices for playing Molly and Philo? Also, do you think that the world will be surprised by their Mukti-layered performances?
Vargas: Yes! So, the way we developed the material like we were already thinking of Kathryn and De Leon. So yeah, those roles were tailor-made for them. But what was surprising was what they added to the roles because their performances provided more depth to the characters. It’s surprising because as you’ve said, Kathryn hasn’t done a role like this. So, I think a lot of people were very pleasantly surprised and embraced her character. Viewers call it the new era of Kathryn Bernardo. Meanwhile, as far as Dolly De Leon, I already knew she was gonna kill it, but seeing it in person, directing her, and seeing what she’s done for the film, it still amazes me I could never get tired of watching her thing.
Kaori, you are the jack of all spades. You are a dancer, model, and actress and you can sing as well. The future of Asian Cinema or Filipino cinema is looking bright when people see you on the screen. But what was the first instance where you felt that acting is something I want to do professionally and make my career in?
Kaori: Oh, my gosh! I fell in love with acting while doing my first-ever project, I wasn’t good at that time and even now, I know that there’s a lot to improve. But I just realized that for me, I realized that when you act, you’re free to do whatever you want to, to feel the needs of your character, and as a person, I am not that free. I think I want to dive into acting just because I want to be free, as a person, I can’t wait for that time that I’m free.
Gillian, your character, Joenna, is one of the most important ones and takes the movie in a whole new direction. When the script came to you and you got to know that you were playing this character, what was your first thought and what kind of preparations went in to make sure you nailed the character?
Gillian: You know, when they offered me this role, I just really accepted it, right there and then. But when I read the script, I understood the struggle and the pain of the people who are being taken advantage of, and for me, it’s important for this kind of situation to be known and to be represented. So, no matter how sensitive the topic was or what was going on with the character? I think it was time to spark some discussion about it, especially here in the Philippines. So, I discussed the creatives and directors about the backstory of the hierarchy, and I just did my best to portray it. I just hope that I did justice to the topic because it’s very important, it’s very, crucial.
Outfits play a very important role in this movie because it shows two very distinctive personalities of every character. Was that always a part of the movie? Or you thought of giving the story a spin by including this aspect while shooting.
Vargas: I think it was very much part of the DNA of ‘A Very Good Girl,’ just because it was like a showdown for me and costume design was very key in getting a glimpse of these characters. Like, once you see what those characters were, you’ve kind of like get to know them already, just from that visual. So, it was very important because we wanted to take this campy route very, very seriously. (laughs) I wanted it to be very over the top, I wanted it to be extravagant. So it was fun and because I think Philo’s character is a superhero. Like she, she dresses down to like her normal self, and then suddenly just transforms into a superhero with her with her killer outfits. Yeah, I think I’ve always just envisioned this film ending with two beautiful women in long gowns, but like, you know, like, a drip in blood and jewels. That was always the vision. So yes, definitely, outfits were a big part of the storytelling.
So, the movie has been released and it got amazing reviews. How are you guys feeling after the amazing reviews/social media reactions and do you think such reactions would be able to tell the world that Filipino cinema is back with a bang?
Vargas: The response has been very overwhelming. We are very grateful that we are successful at the box office and people are flocking to the cinemas, giving this film a chance. It’s just a pleasure to see those seats filled out. We’re very grateful and I liked how people started talking about the important themes of the film. Of course, we wanted to engage the audiences in a very fun way in this dark comedy journey, but beneath that, it was very important for us that people talked about the important topics of being good and accountable and this whole story of womanhood. So yeah, I appreciate it a lot and I hope that the audiences outside of the Philippines could feel the same way and support the movie in the same manner.
Gillian: I agree with Peterson. We came out from a pandemic and the Philippine cinema was not doing good. But, we are finally having viewers in theatres right now because of ‘A Very Good Girl’ and I’m very happy that ‘A Very Good Girl’ is the first Filipino film to premiere in Hollywood. So that’s a very big achievement for us and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so happy and grateful. It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming. I’m just happy with the way people are receiving the movie. Thank you so much for appreciating our work.
Kaori: I think they said it all. Seeing people go back to the cinemas is a very big achievement for me and all of us. The responses and the praises for the movie, I mean, Oh my gosh, it’s overwhelming. The best thing is that people are now open to the new genre and they’re committed to us as well. We love them. We love very good people.
‘A Very Good Girl‘ is currently playing in theatres across the US.
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