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Don’t be afraid ‘to piss people off’

Jason Flemyng is known to audiences around the world for his work in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the X-Men movies. But now he’s decided to challenge himself, directing his first feature film, black comedy vampire movie Eat Local.

Flemyng says it wasn’t an easy decision to take. “The only reason I haven’t directed before is the fear that as director it’s all on you.” he told a packed session at BVE.

“I’ve been happy to be a producer (working with Dexter Fletcher). But my producer on Eat Local, Rod Smith, said ‘you can do this’. I knew the material so well that I felt I had to do this myself.”

“I learned a lot from making this film. You need to piss people off, spend more money than you have! Keep pushing actors, producers. You need as much coverage as you can get so push everyone, Don’t feel grateful that everyone’s doing the film.”

Eat Local has already been sold across Europe, and Flemyng is now hoping it will secure distribution in the UK and the US. “That’s the dream,” he told the BVE audience. “Success of films or distribution is alchemy. There’s a huge mass of films that deserve to be distributed or seen by the audience that don’t.”

Listening to Flemyng speak, you can tell he loves being involved in the process of filmmaking as both an actor and now as a director/producer. “When the car taking you to set stops and you see ‘base camp’ – that’s magic! It’s what I’ve always dreamt of. I have to stop myself running to the set.”

“Driving home after the first day on set of Benjamin Button, I had to stop the car and park up on Sunset Boulevard,” he said. “It was such a thrill”.

“But I learnt on that film that to work with David Fincher you have to prepare. Don’t go on set if you don’t know what you’re doing. He will crucify you.”

Having directed his first film, Flemyng says he’s keen to continue working behind the camera, “I still want to produce. Looking at what’s on show at BVE, I love all the techie stuff – this place is ridiculous!”

But he admits, for the moment he still sees himself as an actor first. “I will veer towards what I’m good at for the forseeable future,” he said. “Being an actor pays the rent. So I consider myself an actor first.”