Paris Leonti (Director/Writer)
Q: Looking at the genre of the film, what were the influences that inspired you when you sat down to write the script?
A: To be honest a lot of people talked about The Italian Job and Oceans Eleven but to me I didn’t see it that way. I see Daylight Robbery as a heist movie, but a human story first and foremost. It’s a little bit different to any other heist movie. I wanted to get away from any other influences as much as I could and by focusing on human reaction to give it a unique quality.
Q: Tell us a bit about the characters in the story
A: I suppose the character bases are people and personalities that I know. Not suggesting that I know bank robbers! But it’s always easier to base a character on a person or people you can really observe. They represent the average person you might meet on the streets of London or maybe sit next to on a bus.
Q: If you had to sum the story up in a sentence how would you describe it?
A: A really well-planned heist that just doesn’t go according to plan.
Q: Can we talk about the casting process?
A: I feel very lucky to have the cast involved that we have. I saw 300 actors and actresses and most of them didn’t really fit the criteria but as the process continued, we were finding people I liked. I knew that with only 23 days to shoot the film, I needed to choose wisely. I recalled some two or three times, just to check their consistency and reassure myself that they were going to possess the characters while we were on set. We were going to be motoring and there wasn’t going to be a huge amount of time to keep getting on top of the actors if they slipped out of character. The guys that are cast are the perfect choice. There was quite a bit of irony attached to one of the character names… Lucky. While I was writing the script, I had Vas Blackwood in mind to play the Lucky character and when I sent out the script, it went to him first and we were lucky enough that he accepted straight away!
Q: How did you find the bank location? (situated on London’s Cheapside in the City)
A: A friend of mine is a location manager, he told me about it. It’s a great location but it wasn’t easy to use because of the many restrictions that were forced on us. I was overjoyed with the look of the place on camera though
Q: Was it difficult to shoot inside the tunnels? (built as sets in the studio)
A: The tunnels were designed from spec and then turned into three dimensional images on a laptop. This gave us an opportunity to pre-visualize where and how the cameras could be placed. That meant that it was not so difficult to shoot in there, but the actors genuinely had a tough time crawling through them.
Q: How do you get through a day when there is so little time and everything has to stay on schedule?
A: I know pretty much what I want each day so I push and push until my first assistant complains and then I ask him to push a little bit more. I think I have had to stay on my toes as much as possible and keep things clear for everyone on set. That way, you avoid causing confusion. We were really lucky with the crew that we had - they are all very experienced. That’s the most important thing that keeps everything on track at the end of the day.
Q: What’s the difference between Daylight Robbery and an American-style heist movie?
A: Firstly, the characters are all very typically British and we’re shooting a London-based story. But I would say that this film has a gritty sensibility and doesn’t have the thrills, for the sake of it. There are no far-fetched wires that stop you from hitting the ground like in Mission Impossible, no fancy prop items, and no overload of gunshots and car crashes. I suppose what I am saying is that Daylight Robbery is a film that isn’t pretending to be anything other than an enjoyable heist caper, with a few underlying reminders to us all - if you take a decision and act on it you’re hemmed in by those actions.