Tuesday, 12 March 2013

interview: Nick P Coe

Nick P Coe was producer of the British end of Wolfgang Büld's 'trilogy': Penetration Angst, Lovesick: Sick Love and Twisted Sisters. In April 2006, after the German release of the third film, I did a short interview with Nick in order to get some quotes for a Fangoria.com news story.

What sort of progression do you see over the three films that Wolfgang has made with you?
"Back in 2002 when I first read the script for Penetration Angst I must admit to being more than a little intrigued in finding out exactly who this Wolfgang character was; there was enough black humour in the script to get me hooked into the whole experience. Before this collaboration I had mainly been producing more family-orientated films and documentaries, and the thought that a script with the words ‘Penetration’ and ‘Angst’ centred boldly on the front page would begin a three-feature partnership was not something I had contemplated. So here I am three films later looking back at what has been a ‘white knuckled, roller coaster of a ride’ four years of production!

"Twisted Sisters is the film that I had the least amount of work to do on set. In fact I was only on set for a few hours during the final week in Hamburg. That is not to say that it was the easiest film of the trilogy for me personally. I had three main jobs: I had to bring in the UK cast and crew; manage all the UK props and send them to Hamburg; and make sure that the contracts were all signed, sealed and delivered. Unfortunately a mix-up in communication, a stolen props box and a nationwide hunt in a hired Mercedes soon spoiled my dream of lying in a hammock on a Hawaiian beach smoking a cigar while the production ran itself by clockwork. Suffice to say temperatures were raised and accusations were thrown across the set but the show must go on.

"I see Twisted Sisters as the definitive ending to the Horsey-Büld collaboration, and what better way to go out than to give the extremely talented Fiona joint top-billing! Whereas Penetration Angst focused on a certain part of Fiona’s anatomy, Twisted Sisters accentuates her role as a truly gifted actress. It is also visible to see how important Fiona’s presence is to Wolfgang’s scripts, it brings them to life. Twisted Sisters was the only film of the series that was not shot in the UK; this lends the film a certain degree of mystery to the UK viewer who would probably be more use to Büld’s love of London or English coastal towns. I see this as a trait that is bound to become more common in UK low budget production as it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the way in which a story can be conveyed. Admittedly it is also a lot cheaper and a lot easier to set up a film shoot in Hamburg’s main station than it was to steal an hour in the toilets of Sandown station on the Isle of Wight!

"Whereas Penetration Angst combined five characters in three overlapping storylines, Twisted Sisters was written in a less complex way. The narrative is similar to the second film, Lovesick: Sick Love (which I believe has been overlooked by the public due to it being less titillating and therefore darker than its two siblings) insomuch that there is a definitive lead character whose actions propel the film’s narrative. The Jennifer character in Twisted Sisters is the hero but still possesses enough flaws to blur the line between good and evil (Norah). Like the vindictive Julia in Lovesick who toys with her boss O’Ryan, played with absolute horrific brilliance by Paul Conway, Jennifer loses her halo after toasting the news of her pregnancy with another round of drinks! This is pure Büldism, proving that nothing is black or white; just endless shades of dark black. Yet even though Twisted Sisters demonstrates Wolfgang at his demonic best at subtracting characters from the equation there is always the hint that rebirth is around the corner. To the untrained eye these films may just be schlock and titillation, but there are complex Taoist philosophical ideologies exploding throughout the story; who else but Wolfgang Büld would demonstrate this with a fizz and a bang after only half an hour’s screen time?"

What complexities were involved in shooting a film where two of the main characters are played by the same actress?
"Smoke and mirrors, and a little bit of movie making magic! There was a nationwide search for the body double for Fiona in a German newspaper that managed to attract a number of young women to Wolfgang’s door – the power of the movies! It was the meticulous planning of Wolfgang and cinematographer Uwe Bohrer that allowed for pivotal scenes such as the fight between Jennifer and Norah to take place. That and magic dust!"

What sort of response has the film received from audiences?
"Having been present at the first public screening in the UK in March I was extremely happy with the way the film was received. There were, as always, plaudits for Fiona’s contribution but also for Andrew Southern, Eden Ford and Pietro Herrera. The thing I was most worried about was how the audience would react to the plot twists (given that the title of the film is translucent) but even towards the end of the movie there were gasps of shock when their second-guessing missed the mark. The feedback has been positive with a lot of people commenting on the pace of the film, and of course the presence of Fiona!"

Where has it been shown so far and what are the future plans for distribution, especially in the USA?
"Twisted Sisters has now been released on DVD by Epix in Germany and has played in cinemas in Hamburg, Munich, Nurenburg and Berlin. The DVD release from Odeon Entertainment in the UK is expected to be in early summer with the US release (Barnholtz Entertainment) at the start of autumn."

interview originally posted 7th April 2006

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