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Inside the Heart of ‘Scrapper’: An Interview with Groundbreaking Director Charlotte Regan

It probably has been a nerve-wracking but also great few days of writer/director Charlotte Regan. After opening the Sundance Film Festival London with Scrapper, her film was also picked up for the Edinburgh Film Festival, taking place in mid-August. We had a sit down with Charlotte and chatted about Scrapper, the amazing young cast and the next projects”.

Writer/director Charlotte Regan. // CREDIT: Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb

Liselotte Vanophem (Big Picture Film Club): Congrats on the film!

Charlotte Regan (writer/director Scrapper): Thank you so much.

LV: It was just announced that the film is going to Edinburgh, to the Edinburgh Film Festival. How does it feel?

CR: It’s very cool! It’s very exciting. I love Edinburgh, so it would be nice to be a part of it, for sure.

LV: How did it feel when the Sundance Film Festival London said, “we want your film as the opening film”. Opening a festival must feel even more special than ‘only’ being selected.

CR: Being part of the Sundance Film Festival London and the Sundance community feels super cool. I try not to think about it too much, though. But it’s very cool. I feel very lucky, for sure.

LV: The casting of this movie is amazing, especially the children who are making their film debut. How did you find them?

CR: Oh, our casting director, Shaheen Baig, is incredible. She was a massive part of the search. And it was just a really long search. It took like two years because we were meant to shoot the year before, but because of COVID19, we had to push it back. We went to a lot of schools, and we’re being sent hundreds of tapes of young people. But from the moment we got Lola [Campbell] her tape, we knew that she was like magic. And then Alin [Uzun] came to an audition, and he’s the most charismatic 12-year-old you’ll ever meet in your life. So straight away, we knew we had two great kids on our hands.

LV: When and how did Harris Dickinson join the cast? The relationship between his character Jason and Lola’s Georgie is incredible.

CR: I’ve worked with Harris before when we worked on a short film a few years ago. I know him from that. I also love all the work that he’s done. All his films are incredible. He’s an amazing guy. He was cast the traditional way. We cast the young people first, or we intended to. Maybe we didn’t properly lock them in, but we looked for the kids first before looking for a Jason, just because I felt like the kids needed to come first and then Jason. Harris read for it and was just amazing, you know. He was also very selfless and knew how to support the kids whilst always giving a great performance.

Harris Dickinson as Jason and Lola Campbell as Georgie in Scrapper. // CREDIT: BBC Film

LV: Where did the story for this film come from? Was it something that happened to you personally, something you have seen, etc.?

CR: I think a mix of everything for sure. There are people that I recognize within the film. People from the joyful working-class community that I grew up in. But beyond that, it’s not something that happened to me personally. The story evolved over time.

 LV: This is the first movie you wrote and directed by yourself instead of having co-directors/co-writers. How was that process?

CR: It was a lot of sitting on your own, writing, which I’m not a big fan of. I like to be with people to talk about things. I worked with my producer Theo [Barrowclough] on this, who is one of my best friends in the world, and we’ve worked together for a long time. There was that ‘family’ vibe. My production designer Elena [Muntoni] was one of my best friends in school, and we’ve known each other since we were 12. My DP Molly [Manning Walker] is one of my best friends. It felt very much like a family-orientated shoot. They came on board very early and were always willing to talk creatively, which helped. Theo in particular, has sat with me for days and days, writing the script with me and saying the dialogue out loud. He was my partner through the whole process, for sure.

LV: There are a lot of emotional moments in this film. What was the most emotional one for you?

CR: I don’t know, really. I don’t feel that emotional on set, weirdly. I don’t know why. I probably try not to. However, when I watch it back, I love the bit where they are dancing together, and they finally connect just because she’s been so reluctant to let him in. So I love that moment. However, on the day of filming, I didn’t feel very emotional about it. I was probably blurring it out on purpose. I was probably tired and drinking too much coffee.

Lola Campbell as Georgie and Alin Uzun as Ali in Scrapper. // CREDIT: BBC Film

LV: And what do you hope that the audience will take away from this film?

CR: I hope it makes people laugh and smile. I suppose that is what I love about watching cinema. Movies are experiences that make you leave feeling lighter than when you went in. Something that makes you laugh or brings you a bit of joy. And then I hope that it captures how much joy and humour there is in working-class environments because I feel like it’s not something we get to see loads on screen.

LV: Is that experience also why you went into filmmaking?

CR: I don’t know. I think I got lucky with the film so I think it’s more luck. I don’t know if I would be good at anything else.

LV: Do you already have other projects you’re working on

CR: Yes, I’m writing films at the minute and just filmed an Apple show called The Buccaneers. It’s a period drama. One of the films I’m writing is a psychological horror about a gangster. It’s a totally different genre than this one.

LV: Scraper has a release at the end of August in the UK (25th of August, to be exact). Are there any plans for releasing it in other countries?

CR: I think it releases on the same day in the U.S. I think I’ll be working on another shoot then, so might not be able to make it to promote it there.

LV: Well, good luck with Scrapper and your other projects!

CR: Thanks a lot!

Scrapper is screened on the 7th of July during the Sundance Film Festival London and has a nationwide release on the 25th of August.

Also Read: Review: Scrapper

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