AN EXCLUSIVE UPCLOSE CHAT WITH ADNAN AMIR TAKEN FROM HIS LATEST INTERVIEW
ADNAN, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND? WHEN AND WHAT MADE YOU GET IN TO FILMMAKING?
“I'm an easy going, friendly kinda guy. I love to laugh and the simple things in life make me smile. I've moved around a fair bit and travelled a lot. I was born and grew up in Yorkshire, UK, spent most of it in Huddersfield where I went to School and College. My Dad passed away during College and I wanted to stay close to my Mum for my Degree, so I studied Law in Bradford and then later did my Postgrad LPC at Huddersfield. I wanted to become a Solicitor but after working in a Solicitors Firm in Leeds for a while I just found it pretty boring to be honest and didn't see myself wanting to do it for the rest of my life! It's a decision that I'm glad I made early on as I've enjoyed many successful years working in the Local Government which began in Cardiff. Even though I progressed rapidly to senior level sometimes you feel you can do something even greater on a whole new level. I love to test myself and if great things can be achieved, great! If not atleast I gave it a go and I've ticked it off the to do list! (laughs)”
WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR MUM WHEN YOU TOLD HER THAT YOU'RE MAKING A FILM?
“My Mum was encouraging but I don't think she thought I was actually being serious for the first year! (laughs) But she was cool and seeing my commitment, desire and hunger over time just raised her belief in the project. Seeing me filming made it more of a reality and being in it was confirmation that she knew how cool it was...she has high standards! (laughs)”
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING MOVIE "BACK 2 FORWARD"?
“It's a unique rollercoaster journey of emotions, where you'll laugh, cry and smile. Obviously not all at the same time because that would be pretty weird! (laughs) But it will be a real experience keeping you on the edge of your seat with lots of twists and turns. It's essentially an exciting thriller film, but there's romance, drama, action and a bit of humour. It's all very real and edgy with some escapism, I think it will be the first of it's kind-you will never have seen a film like this. Some very strong performances from some very talented people-I think people are going to love it!"
WHO OR WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND THE MOVIE?“
"I don't look at anyone to inspire me, everyone lives a different life and their circumstances are totally different so the inspiration has to come from within, and that's what it was really. I always loved films and the fact that I'd worked in films and dramas for over 12 years as a side hobby gave me some great experience. I got serious though when I saw some back to back rubbish films! (laughs) They were Hollywood big budget films and I didn't get how they could be so bad, so I started writing away. But at this stage it was only really for me and I was writing it as a Novel, half way through I changed it to a film script and started believing that I could make this in to a film. I didn't even think that I would play Roshan's character at this stage but over time it made sense.
Though I had a few offers of lead roles over the years I felt if I was ever going to take on a role it would have to be a character that excites me and one that I could make an impact with. And with Roshan's character I don't think any new actor has had such a diverse challenging role in their first film and that's something that was appealing. At the same time I wanted a film that was not just about one person, and in this film there are 4/5/6 really strong characters and that was important to me. It was quite appealing to find some talented individuals and give them an opportunity that they'd never had. I wanted them to shine so that they could leave their mark in the industry and find further great opportunities. I also felt that I could bring something different and perhaps could change some perceptions so that also inspired me in terms of bringing greater positive change.”
WHAT WAS YOUR STATE OF MIND WHEN DIRECTING?
“I was extremely positive in seeing my vision and dream come alive and knew what I needed to do to drive things forward. I was always seeking perfection as it wasn't just about getting it done, it needed to be done to a high standard. Of course sometimes you can be a little anxious in big scenes as there's a lot of co-ordination and things that you're managing all at once, but at the same time there's more excitement that the film is progressing well. I'm generally quite chilled and a calm guy, I knew exactly what I wanted and that focus helped me in dealing with lots of difficult and testing situations. Since I started on the film I've slept on average 3 hours a day and on filming days a lot less, sometimes not at all. When you're multi-tasking and doing many roles there's a lot to think about and I didn't want to lose any quality so had to put the extra time in. I think in general people would say during filming I was upbeat, approachable, encouraging, patient, and ready for a laugh in between the scenes. And I hope everyone enjoyed the experience! Sorry to those who didn't! (laughs)”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THIS PROJECT?
“It's been a very challenging experience and something not for the faint hearted, but I've been extremely focused, dedicated and believed throughout. I feel as a result I'm a much stronger and patient person for it. I had to be ready for anything so I had to adapt and be flexible, yet be focused enough on what makes the scene exciting and engaging, whilst being faithful to my original vision. I learnt that belief must come from within and those who have it can achieve the impossible. It was my role to be driving things forward, but sometimes it's not in your hands so you have to be incredibly patient and bite your lip to get the quality right. I learnt that you have to give your heart, soul and mind to make things happen as there's more things going against you than with you.”
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST FILM INFLUENCES?
“There's no real influences as such I have a varied taste and can appreciate varied genres. I like films that have strong characterisations and have multi-layered scripts that entertain you from start to finish and take you on a journey. I do appreciate what Sylvester Stallone did with Rocky, in that he Wrote, Directed most of them, and obviously Acted in all. The way he made people believe in him and the film which he wrote was an achievement that spans over 30 odd years. I'm sure many people laughed at him and thought what are you doing with this script and you think you can act in it as well?! But he kept the faith and perservered, I respect that quality.
I like what Christopher Nolan did with Batman, he made them more real and edgy with drama, emotions and more real action rather than over the top comic style. I love the drama and emotions of Castaway, you feel the despair, pain and hurt of Tom Hanks' character. I like the concept of if one thing changes everything changes in The Butterfly Effect and other psychological thrillers such as Shutter Island and Seven keep you on the edge of your seat. I love the fast paced nature of the Bourne films too. I obviously enjoy Hollywood films but also World Cinema, if it's good it doesn't matter what language it's in as you can sense and feel the emotions and drama.”
WHO GRINDS YOUR TEETH?!
“(Laughs)! Well there's quite a long list for this question, but no one in particular! I dislike rude people who lack basic manners, they are near the top teeth grinders on my list! (laughs) The worst is someone in a Customer Care profession, just be polite or work where you don't need to interact with people! Also, people who change, unfortunately most people do and it's usually for the worst. And people who can't explain why they've behaved in a strange way-they owe you atleast an explanation so be expressive and care about people's feelings! Aggressive drivers are annoying, just chill you'll atleast get there alive! (laughs) There's more, yeah people who take themselves too seriously and people who are too strongly opinionated without actually having a genuine reason or experience for their opinion. And people who are cheap, you know tit for tat, selfish, jealous people who play games and those who hurt people intentionally they grind both my teeth and gums! (laughs) Hopefully there's a few people left after that list! (laughs) No but people should be nice, thoughtful and caring without any hidden agenda.”
TELL ME A SECRET?
“Erm it won't be a secret if I tell you! (laughs) Ok well let me think...when I was at School I was the first child who skived off, I know an achievement that I'm proud about! (laughs) No you see it was some Home Economic class where we were making a cushion or something, I mean come on I can make it at home! (laughs) Actually I felt bad as we got caught and the teacher really went crazy on my best friend for corrupting me, but it was my idea..sorry mate! It was out of character for me and I did gain 100% attendance the following year and I can now make a blanket, curtain and a carpet all at once! (laughs)"
DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST CRUSH?
“Yes actually I do, it was a girl called...guess who? Kelly! I remember she was the first girl I kissed, it was just perfect (laughs)...It was Christmas and so warm and cozy inside whilst outside it was snowing, so romantic! I remember we were playing pass the parcel in class and there was a dare to kiss someone so she kissed me, I was well chuffed and I knew at that point she was the one. (laughs) But the problem was we were only 5 at the time... it was on the cheek btw! It was terrible it was the last day I saw her as I moved Town next day or something. I think our families just couldn't bare to see how madly in love we were! (laughs) No but on a serious note as a result I've liked the name Kelly and when I was going through lots of names for the lead actress it's just one that stuck and it fitted the character well.”
TELL ME A TIME YOU WERE SHOCKED?
“When you asked me the last two questions! (laughs) Well there's been a few times. I remember when I was in Chicago and and we went out with some friends after a really good house party. It was pretty late and we were looking to get in to a club. The later it gets the more desperate you get and also you need to take your passport over there. But it was the first couple of days that we were there so we didn't have a clue. Anyway, the girls that we were with were very cool and they were sorting it out, so we left it to them. We eventually got in, music was ok not my cup of tea but not bad. It was obviously very dark at first but suddenly the lights came on and this huge massive black man dressed as a fairy comes flying on cables from nowhere from one end of the club to another singing!
Seriously with the lights now on you're beginning to see people around you, yeah lots of guys with moustaches with other guys with moustaches! (laughs) And that was the beginning of the shock as the big fairy man started pointing and talking to me directly on the microphone in front of the packed out club. The lights all came on me and he was like “Oh my God your so exotic” I'm thinking I'm Asian, but I can take a compliment so I appreciated it as well. Then he went on and said “You're so beautiful-don't you think he's so beautiful?” I was more shocked he called me beautiful than we were in a gay club! I was actually terrified and quite suicidal as there were some hungry looking people! Anyway, as friendly as the crowd were it was time to rock n roll else where. The girls for some reason were really comfortable and were happy hanging around but we needed some ground rules! (laughs)”