After seeing and reviewing Svengali last week, I was lucky enough to be able to speak to some of the cast during a red carpet premier at the RichMix Cinema in East London.
One of the first members of the cast I caught up with was Dylan Edwards who plays the role of Jake – the Scottish band member from Svengali. However, interestingly, Dylan was cast in the Scottish role despite not having a Scottish accent to speak of.
When talking about how he worked on his Scottish accent he said: “Improvisation is a massive part of this, in the film I play a Scottish character, so when I went away to learn the lines, I got my Scottish mate to read out the lines, which I tried to learn phonetically.
“Then we went to shoot and we were told we were just going to improvise around the script, so I kind of winged it.”
Of course, I couldn’t leave without speaking to star man Jonny Owen, (producer, writer and lead actor). I questioned how he was able to move from his smaller viral videos to being able to make Svengali on the big screen, he explained: “What happened was a private investor got involved because he believed in it. He offered to fund the film and said could you write this script for an hour and a half and it was as simple as that really. His own personal advice was to get Martin Freeman in the film. Martin sent an email agreeing to do it; once Martin gave the green light I was able to go ahead with it.
“It was kind of like getting a big named star and getting a bit lucky with a private investor. You’ve got to have a bit of luck and persevere. Those are the two bits of advice I’d give.”
The optimism that Jonny has is very much like that of his character Dixie, this was shown to me when he held forth on how budding film makers can succeed in a brutally competitive industry.
His advice being, “Just persevere, be like Dixie and don’t take no for an answer, if you believe in yourself it’s fine. You are going to get a lot of knockbacks, you are going to get a lot of people saying no, but if you believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing then you’ll do just fine, perseverance is key. So many people fall with the away sign and you are sort of like the last man standing which is great.”
Image: Cinema seats © Leo Hidalgo (ileohidalgo, flick)