Sunday, 21 July 2013

interview: Steve Gough

Steve Gough directed Oilman, one of the three short films on the curious anthology video Nightmares. After reviewing that video, I tracked down Steve, who now teaches screenwriting at the University of Westminster, and was delighted when he agreed to a short e-mail interview.

How and why was Oilman made?
“Cobbled together, really, with money from Welsh Arts Council, Channel Four development finance and some private sponsoring, my first film after film school (NFS graduate).”

How did you get Martin Shaw involved?
“He liked the script and wanted to be involved!”

The video sleeve says ‘A macabre story about a contract killer whose life is turned upside-down after an assassination.’ - is that an accurate summary of the plot?
“Not really as the Shaw character is more of a ruthless business man who uses murder threats in act one to secure a shady oil business business deal - the denouement is in the form of a kind of moral punishment for his sins ... He is equally cold and calculating as a father to his son who reacts by seeking to disrupt his life... Does he actually lead his father to his death...? That is the question you will have to answer.”

Why did you make a film with virtually no dialogue?
“It was partly the challenge of it, partly the idea of showing human life as a sort of animal behaviour...”

Where was the film shown and what sort of reaction did it get?
“Got to some festivals, with mixed responses. I think a few were confused and I do regard it now as a somewhat perverse experiment - though I have an affection for its eccentricities and think it has its moments as a drama.”

How did Oilman end up with two other films on a 1992 video called Nightmares?
“No comment. Try the producers?”

Would you classify the film as a horror movie? (‘Three nightmarish stories’ says the video...)
“Allegorical horror fantasy????”

Where did your film-making career go after this?
“Went on to write Heartland for BBC in 1989, then wrote/directed Elenya for Ch4, BFI & ZDF in 1989, then wrote Thin Line for Ch4 in 1992, then Washed Up for BBC in 1999... Now writing novels, two published so far!”

interview originally posted 22nd January 2005

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