Gurinder Chadha on ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’

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Gurinder Chadha, the director of Brit hit, 'Bend it Like Beckham' discusses her new film, ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’ with Wally Hammond

The look of ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’

is dominated by that kind of adolescent girl’s bedroom.

'
Well Georgia’s bedroom is pink. A bit too pink I think, but it’s the English seaside, so actually I’d say pastels were the dominant colour. So that’s that’s her boring world, she’s bored of her world and she wants to break out of it. So because it’s Eastbourne it’s lots of sandy yellows and pale blues and then her street that was very pretty with all the pastel'.

Was it filmed in Eastbourne?

'No that’s actually Brighton, we cheated a bit there.'

Yeah, I kind of recognized it.

'I mean Eastbourne has some similar streets, but it’s not as graphic with the sea at the bottom and I cheated there and I went with those, a bit more cinematic, I thought. But you’re right there are a lot of pinks and a lot of chocolaty boxes sort of girly, it’s a girly kind of world'.

It’s feminist in that sense.

'Yes it’s Georgia’s world.'

Directing a film like this, do you have to get in touch with your 14-year-old self?

'
Yes, but I did that already when I chose to do the project. When I wrote it, I wrote it like a stroppy teenager. The crew just thought I was mad. In every scene, though, I tried to show a different side to Georgia. It shows how complicated being a teenager really is. No one scene is the same, you know? She’s a stroppy teenager in this scene, she’s thoughtful Georgia in here, she’s selfish Georgia here, she’s falling in love Georgia here. It’s a very different Georgia at the end to the Georgia at the beginning. Hopefully, when you watch the film it will take you back to being that age and help you reconnect with your teenage self.'

You expect the film to be quite frantic in the way it’s cut and edited but it isn’t.

'No. I didn’t want to shoot it like a youth film. Just because it’s for young kids I didn’t want to do speeded-up shots because I thought it would look very televisioney. I think that’s what that programme ‘Skins’ does, or the film ‘Kidulthood’. If I can make an emotional connection then I think I’ve done my job. One of the ways I wanted to make that connection is making audiences feel like what they’re watching is truthful and based in a reality'.

There’s a scene where the kids rate each other out of ten.

'
Yes, they’re all concerned about it what they get out of ten for their eyes or their nose and its very, very sweet. Well it’s more innocent. Moments like that, they’re slow, they’re not dynamic, they’re all sat around eating pizza but they tell you huge amounts about who they are as characters, what you’re watching as a film and about their world. In a funny sort of way, by keeping those moments still, I’m actually packing in a lot of information quite subtly and I think that’s one of the things I like about the film.'

Did your past hits come into play when making ‘Angus…’?

‘You know, it is hard to follow a film that’s been very, very successful like "Beckham". Peter Cattaneo who did "The Full Monty", it’s been tough for him. People are always going to compare my films to "Beckham".’

Can you talk about why you cast the comedian Alan Davies?

‘I liked the way Alan read, you know? I liked the way Alan read because he was sort of slightly put-upon dad who was trying to do the right thing. He’s a bit of a lefty who had this lovely little girl and all of a sudden she’s turned into this monster! He doesn’t quite know what to do.'

This film deals with racial identity: did you feel you had to change your essential nature as a director to cope with that?

'
No, no because I do consider myself to be a very British director. I’m Indian but I’m also very English and I like the idea of making something very, very English in every department: costume, drama, design, fashion. I kept saying “If there’s anything in this film that looks like it could work in an American film it shouldn’t be in it." '

How far did you take that idea?

‘Every single element. Even the language, any word that they use in America I wanted taken out. Any phrase, anything that made Americans feel comfortable I completely took out. I wanted it to be uncompromisingly English.'Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’ is in cinemas now.

Author: Wally Hammond



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