Director Lance Daly talks about this new Irish masterpiece…
Critics are falling over themselves to praise this new Irish movie. It’s already caused a stir at film festivals around the World and now finally Irish audiences can see what the fuss is about this weekend.
This feel-good movie tells the story of two Dublin teenagers that run away from their northside suburban neighbourhood to live on the streets. While it shows a side of Dublin that most of us never see, it’s rarely gloomy thanks to the two lead actors who light up the screen in every performance. Movies.ie spoke to writer/director Lance Daly about the release of this upcoming gem…
Q: Tell us about the background to writing and filming Kisses? The initial idea was about two kids running away from home. It was written in 2006 and started shooting at Christmas that year, after auditioning thousands of kids from schools all over Dublin.
Q: The success of the movie would always lie on the performance of the two central characters. How difficult were these roles to cast? Our casting director Nick McGinley spent many months fighting to get into all the schools and see everyone who might be good, and after a long trawl through his tapes, we settled on 14 boys and 14 girls. We spent a very long day auditioning these kids and eventually Shane and Kelly emerged as the unpolished diamonds worth gambling on.
Q: The younger actors are on screen for almost the entire film, did this bring any limitations to the shoot? It brought a million limitations, but when they did what they do in the film, we just had to shrug and accept that it was worth it.
Q: Many recognisable locations around Dublin are used, including O’Connell Street, how difficult was it to film in such busy locations? We filmed the chase scene hanging onto the speeding car on the Friday before Xmas down the centre of O’Connell St at 8pm. That was difficult. And then the rest of the time you get all the usual muppets standing in front of the camera waving drunkenly, tripping over cables, stealing the gear, leaning in over your shoulder to give you advice on how to direct the scene, slagging the actors etc. One great actor who we had dressed as Santa Claus got his balls grabbed by some passing drunk who thought it would be funny to feel Santa up. There was nearly a riot.
Q: The movie makes clever use of colour grading (changing from black & white to colour) was it difficult to subtlety introduce to the film without ruining the tone? It was a part of the film from the idea stage, and was written into the script, so the story was photographed and designed and costumed to allow for black and white and colour differences. Colour is a useful tool, we just took that to an extreme. We spent a lot of time on the Digital Intermediate to make sure the change was gradual and subtle.
Q: What did Stephen Rea say when approached to play Bob Dylan? Was he on board from the start? He said “Well, ya know, the similarity has been commented upon in the past”.
Q: Was it difficult/expensive to get clearance to use Dylan songs in the movie? Part of our agreement with Dylan is that it remains confidential! It was difficult but mostly required patience, and Dylan’s manager was very helpful and encouraging and loved the film – he made it quite painless for us once he’d seen what we’d been working on.
Q: Had you not got clearance from Dylan, would you have used a different musician? It would have been too late. We shot the film and then relied on our producer’s good luck to seal the deal with Dylan. Luckily it worked out.
Q: The film has been shown at a number of festivals around the world, what has been the feedback from foreign audiences? They seem to love it. Some struggle a little bit with the heavy Dublin accents, but it turned out to be a story that has a universal appeal. The 3000-strong crowd at Locarno gave it a huge standing ovation after the credits finished. It was like being at a football match. Toronto audiences were crazy about it too.
Q: What are your plans after Kisses? On to the next one.