Joe Wright: interview

London-born director of the multi-Oscar-nominated 'Atonement', Joe Wright is one of our 40th birthday heroes

See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

Who are your London heroes?

'David Lean. A dyslexic lad from Croydon who went on to become one of the greatest filmmakers the world has even known. Was Keats from London? I love him too.'

What's the biggest thing that's happened in your field in London in the last 40 years?

'Digital editing. It has enabled an almost punk ethos in cinema. Like the way in music you’d learn three chords then form a band. London is now scattered with people working in little rooms cutting their montages and that is really exciting. Film can come from anywhere now. However, it has slightly diluted the filmmaking practices in Soho.'

What's your favourite place or thing in London?

'Hungerford Bridge. After I’ve been in Soho all day in the cutting room, I love stepping out into a summer’s evening, walking down to Charing Cross Road, through Embankment station then over Hungerford Bridge. Then if you look across the train tracks you can see Parliament, and on the other side you can see St Paul’s. Whenever I come back to London having been a way for a little while I always go and look at that view.'

What's your personal favourite moment in London? Where were you, and what was happening?

'It was probably the night after Kathy Burke won the best actress prize in Cannes for "Nil By Mouth". We had a very long drinking session at the Old Red Lion pub in Islington. There was a moment at about 4am where the pub was full of the most extraordinary mix of people there to celebrate Kathy’s win. Kathy eventually stood on a table and everyone was ready for her to give a speech, but she just shouted, "Drinks are on the house!" It was a really good night. We got very drunk.'

What does Time Out mean to you?

'It’s the key that’s used to unlock London.'

Complete the sentence: London is…

'…a place I love with all my heart.'See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

Author: David Jenkins



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