Celebrity Interview: Vicky Jewson, Director of Close talks on Making the Film; Casting and The Process

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Close, an original Netflix film, presents a race against time thriller as a female counter-terror expert and bodyguard begins a simple assignment which deteriorates quickly putting her life and everyone around her in imminent danger.

Directed by Vicky Jewson, who continues to build her reputation as both director and writer delivering unyielding, determined female protagonists. Her passion for the action genre has its roots in the male dominated action packed 1990’s. Deciding it was time to recreate those tough guy roles she has with women. Now her hero’s, to her talk, are females with a nod to the testosterone charged performances.

Her latest film, Close, begins its streaming run on Netflix, a bad-ass action counter-terror thriller, showcases her skill as both writer and director. With palpable, intense action scenes, the characters make their way through a labyrinth of obstacles with time the enemy and an army of hired guns ready to carry out the unknown orders.


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Having the opportunity to speak with Vicky, she spoke freely on the making of the film, especially from an Independent film maker’s prospective, her process and inspiration for Close, casting and of course, funding.

After an exchange of telephone greetings, we jumped into the heart of the film. Below is an expert of our interview.

Janet Walker: Congratulations on the film. It’s very powerful, a real race against time thriller. So if you could describe your inspiration.

Vicky Jewson: Yes. So I always wanted to make movies about strong female protagonists in the action genre world. I’ve been a filmmaker my whole life. I’ve made movies my whole life, from the age of six. And I grew up with all the action movies of the ’80’s and ‘90’s and they obviously all starred men and I had this hunger to see women in that roles because all my heroes were men. And I just did some research into women who had extraordinary jobs and who were living real life dangerous jobs and I came across this article called, ”Women in Grey,” about female body guards and I found it absolutely fascinating.


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And I went and met with the women who was featured in the article and she gave me an insight into her world. And it just unlocked so many stories that I just felt it was an untouched world in terms of what we see in film to date. It’s not just VIP protection, she’s been shot at, she protected people from there was so much material there and I got really excited and felt like I had found my next film.

On the set of Netflix's Original film CLOSE with Director Vicky Jewson, Noomi Rapace and Sophie Neilsee.

JW: It looks like you did. So describe your process for me. It looks like you’re credited as a writer also. So describe how you go about your process.

VJ: Well I write with Rupert Whitaker and we write together. We start by coming up with what the movie is in a couple of sentences to make it as simple as possible. I think it very important to know what the film is and then we come up with an outline with a couple of pages and from that we then create with a wall of index cards and each index card is a scene and then it is color coded depending on if it is a character beat or an action beat.

And then we pin it all up on the wall and then we spend a week messing with it taking it apart moving it around and then we sit at opposites ends of the tables and then takes different scenes and write, and lock ourselves away at our cabin by the seas, and write until it’s all done.


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JW: So from writing concept to wrap – How long did this project take?

VJ: Its been about four years. It’s been a long time. It was probably a year developing the script and then it was a year to package it and get the finance together. And then from that point when we met with Noomi, it really took off and its been a two year process from when we started prep to the time we finished the package, edits and it’s about to come out.

JW: You mentioned it was a four year process so when you got the greenlight to begin and pick up the finance and start the filming describe that to me.

VJ: its just an amazing feeling. As an independent filmmaker you’re always on a knife edge as to if your film is actually going to get made or if it will all fall apart. And you hear horror stories of movies that fall apart mid shoot or just as they are about to begin. We had a key piece of finance at the beginning and we were all starting prep, everyone was there and we were all based at Pinewood and I knew it wasn’t as stable as I wanted it to be. There was one particular phone call when it locks it down and I just remember feeling quite emotional really, and the financer said, “’tell Vicky she can go make her movie.”’ And it was just an amazing feeling as it was like we can actually going do this finally.


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JW: You said you were at Pinewood? Where were the exteriors filmed?

VJ: We filmed in Morocco. So we started off at Pinewood in London and shot all the British stuff around that area and the fish tank scene at Pinewood. Then we filmed in Morocco. We went to Morocco for just under four weeks.

JW: The cast is very impressive. So tell me about how you were able to gather them. When you were writing did you have particular people in mind? Did you get the talent that you were hoping for or how did you end with this brilliant cast?

VJ: It was sort of a dream scenario to work with Noomi {Rapace}. We were at that process of packaging the movie and we had gone out to LA to take meetings and it we were trying to get this one meeting with her agent the whole time we had been there. And we finally got the meeting an hour before our flight was due to go.

We ran in and did the pitch and they really like it and they immediately patched us in with her management team and they said they would send the script to Noomi and if she liked it we would hear pretty quickly because she reads fast. So we rushed got on the plane, landed in London and the next day, I heard that Noomi, wanted to meet up. She lives in London, and we just really clicked.


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In Part 2 of my interview, talks more on her brilliant cast and the moment she knew each was right for the role and specifics on filming some of her more unique inspired scenes.

Close, starring Noomi Rapace, Indira Varma, Sophie Nelisee, Eoin Macken, and Charley Palmer Rothwell, Huw Parmenter, begins its streaming run today.

Images courtesy of Netflix and used with permission.

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