5 MINUTES WITH: NICK CAVE
Film3Sixty talks to singer-songwriter Nick Cave about his script for Lawless, a 1920s Prohibition gangster film starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy and directed by John Hillcoat, who previously made the Cave-scripted Australian western The Proposition.
Nick Cave: Actually, I was initially very reticent of writing a script based on a book. I thought if I was going to spend the time writing a script, I want to tell my own story and do an original script. But the book was so beautifully written, so poignant and so very much about the kind of things that John and I are interested in – especially the tone of it, the beautiful melancholic quality of the language, the sorrowfulness of the story and the brute violence. These things were so beautifully done it was irresistible.
How would you describe your relationship with John Hillcoat?
NC: We’ve been working together since he came out of film school. We’ve been making videos, movies, the whole thing, together for over thirty years. It’s been a very close relationship. We’re very, very good friends. We socialise. Our children even play together!
Did you find going from song to scriptwriting an easy transition?
NC: I’m very much visually orientated. All the songs [I write] are very visual and they’re about seeing. That’s what my songs are really about. They’re narrative stories so there’s a sense of the narrator standing back and looking at this story. They’re about stories and that’s why I think scriptwriting came so easily. It’s just telling these stories.
Would you ever consider penning a script about the horrors of the music business?
NC: What about the horrors of the film industry? That’s where the real cannibals are. The music industry is relatively tame – you just go into the studio, get fucked up, make a record and put it out. Why would you want to make a movie about that? There are much more interesting dynamics going on in the film world – much more drama and heartache and triumph and failure.
Are you a big film fan?
NC: I like anything. I don’t have a lot of taste. I have a very egalitarian way of looking at cinema. I can just get a bunch of DVDs off the shelf and go back home and watch them. Mostly, you just assume that every film you get out on DVD is going to be pretty bad. We can make that general assumption. And occasionally you come across films that are really exciting. It’s a wonderful moment.
Words: James Mottram
Lawless is released in UK cinemas on 7 September.