‘The Fly’ dir. Olly Williams
An uptight getaway driver waiting outside a bank robbery has three nerve shredding minutes to get through before his crew returns. All he has to do is focus.
Writer-Director: Olly Williams
Producer: Gareth Thomas & Luke Frazer
DOP: Sam Goldie
Key Cast: Jack Doolan
C8: Where did the idea for The Fly originate from and how long the writing process take you?
OW: I wanted to make something as conceptually stripped back as possible. One actor vs. an invisible antagonist. The Fly was the simplest and cheapest idea that I could come up with but then I started getting excited and things got a little out of control.
C8: What was the initial reaction when you told people you’d written a five-minute short about a battle between a man and a fly?
OW: I got some confused looks, but then they read the script and storyboard and I think they understood what the idea was. I storyboard very tightly. It ends up like more of a weird graphic novel in the end but it helps me control everything before I even get onto set. It also helped get people on board.
C8: How important was casting to the success of the film?
OW: Massively. Nobody else could have played it like Jack. The ferocity, power and emotion he put into it was formidable. That little “sorry guys” look he does at the end was priceless. We did a bunch of takes but that one was so subtle, funny and vulnerable. It makes the film for me. We used my car for the film, and weirdly Jack reminded me of the car. It has so much character in its face, just sitting there waiting to strike – a bit like Jack. Luckily we fucked the car up a lot more than we damaged Jack.
C8: At what stage did Sam Goldie come on board and how did you work with him on the visual aesthetic of the film?
OW: Pretty early on. He upped our game significantly. I’d storyboarded the film, bought the car, and worked out how to turn this weird old building into a bank, but he brought this photographic sophistication that was out of my grasp. The film won the Roger Deakins Award (Cinematographer on Skyfall, O Brother Where Art Thou, Shawshank Redemption) at the Plymouth Film Festival and that’s entirely earned by Sam. Plus he’s a lot bigger than me so I kind of have to say that.
C8: What had you done in your career up until this point and what have you done since?
OW: I spent ten years directing short films, music videos and commercials as part of Diamond Dogs directing partnership with my old partner Phil Sansom. We made the 2008 short The Black Hole, which was the last short up until The Fly that I was pleased with. I’m currently represented by Another Film Company where I’ve been happily shooting commercials for the last couple of years. As well as directing I’ve spent the last 12 years or so as a Production Designer, designing for the people like Duncan Jones, Dougal Wilson, and Jamie Hewlett.
C8: What do you think makes for a good collaboration?
OW: Directing seems to be about having an opinion and an instinct and having the wherewithal and drive to follow it. But you have to be able to listen to and accept other opinions too. I had a scene in The Fly where Jack got out of the car to chase someone and listens to gunfire through the closed bank doors. I LOVED that scene, but Leo King (editor) managed to talk me into losing it, as it means Jack doesn’t get out of the car until the last moments. That claustrophobic tension wouldn’t be there if I’d stubbornly kept that scene in.
Filmmaking is a totally collaborative endeavour. There’s no point in bringing a cinematographer on board if you don’t value their opinions, and that goes the same with any of the HODs.
C8: What does 2016 hold for Olly Williams?
OW: I’m very excited to have a feature project in development with my producer Simon Monhemius that we’re hoping (fingers crossed) to shoot around the end of the summer.