We grabbed five minutes with Jim Gillespie after his Edinburgh International Film Festival directing masterclass to put five burning questions to the man behind I Know What You Did Last Summer, whose Channel 4/BFI short Joyride helped launch his career.
1. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the film industry since you made your Channel 4/BFI short, Joyride?
The rise of the “tent pole” movie to the exclusion of all those (often great) mid budget thrillers and dramas that used to make for a variety of choice for the audience.
2. What would you change about the film industry if you could?
The lack of risk taking and the current bias towards only financing projects based on existing IP. Original stories need to encouraged, irrespective of genre.
3. Which of your own films would you place in a time capsule for future generations and why?
Unquestionably I Know What You Did Last Summer. It hit one of those zeitgeist moments where the intended audience “got it” irrespective of any critical reaction. The title became part of the cultural ether of the time (still is), and being spoofed by The Simpsons (I Know What You Iddly-Diddly Did) was the ultimate compliment. That said, I hope my next film, Deep State (no, can’t tell you what it’s about yet) will replace it in the capsule.
4. Which other director’s body of work would you preserve for posterity and why?
The almost impossible question to answer! So many great filmmakers to preserve: Hitchcock, Wyler, Lean, Sturges, Hawks, and that’s just one small slice of one generation. But I think I’ll plump for Kurosawa. A master (in every sense) of humor, action and (most importantly) humanity. Ikiru is just a timeless classic – one of many in his body of work.
5. What’s the biggest creative risk you’ve ever taken?
Moving to Los Angeles with little more than my 10min short Joyride tucked into my bag, searching for an opportunity to tell stories on film. Changed my life.
Jim’s latest film Take Down is in cinemas 22nd August