Encouraged by the response to his short film Any Dream Will Do and by editor Mark Aarons, writer-director Julian Simpson began developing a first feature inspired by film noir and Hitchcockian chase thrillers in which a hapless innocent is caught in the vortex of events beyond their control.
"I didn't want to make a film noir picture as such," Simpson explains. "I don't think you can emulate something which was so particular to a period, but I was fascinated by the premise of a relentless chase and how the directors of that time conveyed a story."
In The Criminal, Steven MacKintosh plays a penniless musician whose close encounter with a beautiful woman (Natasha Little) leaves him the prime suspect in a brutal murder. The more he tries to prove his innocence, the more he is trapped in a far-reaching conspiracy.
Response to the screenplay was immediate from industry figures and actors alike and the project gained early momentum when Simpson teamed up with producer Christopher Johnson. A round of meetings brought H Michael Heuser's Storm Entertainment on board as a sales agent and a slew of European pre-sales followed that provided approximately half of the budget. The remaining half of the financing was secured through partnership with Palm Pictures.
The film was warmly received at the 1999 London Film Festival and was subsequently purchased by Paramount Pictures for UK, Australia and New Zealand. It opens in the UK this October.
- Type of film
- Julian Simpson
- Music Sculptors, Tolga Kashif, Mark Sayer Wade.