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Cracks - Jordan Scott interview

Jordan Scott

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JORDAN Scott talks about following in her father, Ridley’s footsteps, directing her debut feature film Cracks, working with Eva Green and her hopes for the future…

Q. Did you feel any sense of expectation surrounding your first film, Cracks, being the daughter of Ridley Scott?
Jordan Scott: Well, yes. I think there was probably a little pressure there. But I always think that we’re kind of like apples and oranges because we do such different things. He makes such manly films. We’re such different generations, so I haven’t worried too much about it.

Q. Was it always a career choice for you, going into film? Or did you consider anything else?
Jordan Scott: I think like every teenager you want nothing to do with what your parents do and then, over the years, I went to art school and thought maybe I wanted to be a painter for a second. Then I thought maybe a photographer and eventually I did realise I could utilise everything I learned and loved in directing.

Q. How was the experience of doing your first feature film?
Jordan Scott: It was hard, it was exciting, it was brilliant.

Q. What appealed to you about Cracks?
Jordan Scott: I think the Miss G character was such a multi-layered, textured character. You don’t often see that type of character for an actress, so I thought that was quite exciting. She reminded me a lot of Blanche DuBois [from A Streetcar Named Desire]. So I think that was a big part of it for me.

Q. The book is set in South Africa during the ’60s, but you’ve relocated to England in the ’30s. What inspired that choice?
Jordan Scott: Well, for me boarding school was very representative of England and I really wanted to make something that was quintessentially British I suppose. I was looking for lush, gorgeous countryside to create a fairytale feel in a way. And then I brought the period back to the ’30s because the diving reminded me so much of the Leni Riefenstahl Olympia in 1937 and this kind of element of strength and expression. Also, within the school they were all in denial and turning away from what this woman was doing and that, to me, mirrored what was going on in the rest of Europe as well.

Q. You didn’t go to boarding school but you did attend an all-girls’ school, so I guess you had an appreciation for the type of cliques that can be formed?
Jordan Scott: Exactly. Girls can be very cruel! So, I thought you see those bands of girls films but they’re always comedies and you never see the kind of Lord of the Flies element.

Q. Did any of the girls form cliques on set?
Jordan Scott: Well, they were their own clique. They were this very tightly knit unit and they really looked after each other.

Q. How was filming with Eva Green? Was she first choice?
Jordan Scott: Yes, she was wonderful. She was really fearless… obviously, those early inspirational teacher moments were a walk in the park for her. But she wasn’t afraid to take the character wherever she needed to go. She’s brave and she likes difficult, gritty roles that really challenge her.

Q. How did you capture the diving scenes?
Jordan Scott: Well, obviously we had to have diving doubles even though the girls would have loved to try. They were part of this great Irish diving team. The water was very cold, so we only really had one or two shots at each girl, and so set up as many cameras as we possibly could at every different angle. Then off they’d go!

Jordan and Ridley Scott

Q. How supportive has Ridley been throughout the process?
Jordan Scott: Brilliant… he’s very excited.

Q. When he was making films, did you get to visit the sets he was on and pick up any tips from him?
Jordan Scott: Sometimes… he didn’t often film in England and I was at school. But when I was really little he was making Legend and I went on that set and it blew my mind and, I’m sure, ruined me for life!

Q. Did you get to meet Tom Cruise?
Jordan Scott: I didn’t! I probably wouldn’t have cared though. I was probably more interested in the unicorns and the princess and fairies! [laughs]

Q. On the subject of praise… you’ve been praised, on the record, by former US President Bill Clinton for a short film you did…
Jordan Scott: Oh gosh, yes. I did a gun control campaign years ago, when he was in office. So, yes… I suppose. I’ll take his word for it. I hadn’t realised that he’s gone on record!

Q. Are you working on anything at the moment?
Jordan Scott: There are a couple of things I’m working on but I’m reluctant to say. I’m a very superstitious about that kind of thing!

Q. Will you be switching genres?
Jordan Scott: I don’t know where I want to go next. If you look at Danny Boyle and the way that he’s managed to really… he’s taken some really extreme genres and coined them every single time to perfection. If only… [Laughs]

Q. Is it easier to get films made for you given your family background or is it still just as hard?
Jordan Scott: No, I think it’s just as hard. It’s not the decision of one or two people. It’s the decision of many… you have to get financing. Once you’ve made a film, you have to get a distributor so I don’t think it makes it any easier at all.

Q. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the experience of making Cracks?
Jordan Scott: Don’t send your kids to boarding school! [Laughs] But from the process, it’s been a really wonderful experience and one that I want to do again immediately. The hardest challenge was the Irish weather. It rained every single day, all summer long, except for like an hour during three days. We had 20 minutes of sunshine to do those diving scenes.

Read our review of Cracks

Read our interview with Juno Temple