JOHN: Why Tucked as a title?
JAMIE: Originally the title was Jackie – the central character’s name – simple and it worked – but then that Jackie Kennedy movie came out with Natalie Portman.
JOHN: Anything else that you hadn’t foreseen?
JAMIE: Some of the dresses Derren wore were so heavy. I think the dress he wears in the last scene… I’ve never felt something so heavy. I hadn’t even thought about that. And the wig was so heavy. The opening scene of the movie is one take for six minutes. He had to do the full-on stage act, singing, doing jokes, all the lights on him with the heavy dress, the heavy wig, the jewellery… But Derren would never complain.
JOHN: How many takes for that opening shot?
JAMIE: Three. The other two we didn’t use were not because of anything Derren did; we had focus issues because it was quite a tricky move on Steadicam
JOHN: You live in Brighton and Derren lives in Worthing, so you knew him personally before you cast him?
JAMIE: I used to date his step-daughter – she was make-up artist on another film I did. So I’ve known him for years and he did a little bit – a day – on a film I made called Home For Christmas. And I had always had this idea for Tucked and, honestly, as I was writing it, I couldn’t think of anyone else who would be so good in the central role…
The way Derren talks and his persona, his stories… Been in the industry for 50 years and worked with Sinatra and Burton and all these incredible people. He’s got that history and I just knew he would be perfect for it.
JOHN: You finished shooting Tucked in 2016 and finished editing it in 2018. Done anything since then?
JAMIE: Three films.
JOHN: Heavens! How many films have you made in total?
JAMIE: Fifteen. A lot were Amazon, iTunes, VOD release, that sort of thing. Tucked is the first one to have a theatrical release in the UK. I have had theatrical release in America before – 15 cities – a movie called Caught. A terrible title. A horror film set in the 1970s. Horror is actually my favourite genre to watch, but I like character-driven horror. I’ve never liked gore tests. I like tone and atmosphere.
JOHN: Well, Val Lewton – What you don’t see is more frightening than what you see.
JOHN: But three films directed since Tucked…!
JAMIE: Yes. A week after we finished filming it, I went off to start a very silly fun comedy called Tracks, an interrailing film all round Europe.
JOHN: A what?
JAMIE: An interrailing comedy. It’s about a couple who go on trains all round Europe. We had a crew of six and shot in Paris, Nice, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan. We cast all the supporting roles as we were going. We didn’t have any location secured. We did it proper guerrilla stuff to give it an authentic feel. We have just finished that one now. Very different from Tucked.
JOHN: The entire film was shot on trains?
JAMIE: On trains, in hostels, hotels. I shot in the middle of Venice.
JOHN: Filming sound on a train is dodgy.
JAMIE: I tried to write it so there weren’t many dialogue scenes on a train. The scenes which had dialogue, we shot back in the UK. We rented a train carriage which went from London to Heathrow and back twice.
JOHN: You saw West London passing by through the windows?
JAMIE: (LAUGHS) We made sure we didn’t see too much out the window! Anyway, I did that one, then a movie called Justine, written by Jeff Murphy, who wrote for the TV show Hinterland; he has a musical, Denmark, coming out. A really good writer.
JOHN: And Justine is…?
JAMIE: …about two young girls who fall in love. A lovely little heartbreaking, beautiful, charming love story.
I did that and then I’ve just wrapped a movie called God’s Petting You, which is like a British True Romance. It’s about two addicts who fall in love and together plan on robbing the biggest porn star in Europe. It’s very slick, very colourful. I wanted to do something very different and ‘out there’. It’s inspired by American films in the visuals, but very very British in its content.
JOHN: About two addicts who plan to rob the biggest porn star in Europe… Based on a true story?
JAMIE: (LAUGHS) No…. Well, I know someone who’s like that.
JOHN: So you have made three films since you finished Tucked…
JAMIE: Yes. And on July 1st I start my next one.
JOHN: Heavens! Which is…?
JOHN: And, after that?
JAMIE: I’ve just signed with an American agency called Gersh, so I’m trying to write my first script to do out in America.