For British director Sheree Folkson, this last week mark’s two milestones: leaving her flower-filled London flat for an extended Spring stay in Los Angeles—and the stateside theatrical debut of “The Decoy Bride,” the romantic comedy starring Kelly MacDonald (of “Boardwalk Empire” fame), David Tennant (famously known for his turn in “Dr. Who”) and Alice Eve (the 11th hour girlfriend-fiance in the finale episodes of “Entourage”).
Sheree has directed David twice before, including the highly watched UK TV mini-series “Casanova,” along with Peter O’Toole and Rose Byrne. She’s no snob, in fact, when it comes to the medium, bouncing between television and film during her career. She just completed a small-screen thriller with Chloe Sevigny.
She’s also a marvelous spirit, so it’s no surprise she was enlisted on this project. I know her through Andy, who has been pals with his fellow Brit forever. We look forward to many more chats and more during her stay here in L.A., especially about her stint filming the “Decoy” in the Scottish Highlands, as we’ll be in that gorgeous country next month.
Reviews for “The Decoy Bride” seem to split between those with a soft spot for romcoms, and those who are cranky at heart. Among the first reviews in was The New York Times, with critic Neil Genzlinger on point calling it a “charming, non taxing comedy.”
La Vie En Rose: What attracted you to the script for “The Decoy Bride,” which was written by comedian Sally Phillips and Neil Jaworski?
Sheree Folkson: I am a big fan of romantic comedy, right back from 1930s Hollywood onwards. I thought “The Decoy Bride” had a real charm and originality. I loved the idea and the setting and felt it had some beautiful scenes. One in particular was the elderly couple with the bagpipes.
LVER: The very fact you are the director aside, why do you think this is worth seeing?
SF: If you like to watch films that amuse and let you escape from your own life…if you enjoy watching something that is not full of action and special effects, but has charm and some laughs…if you like romantic comedy. It’s a very low budget film, but has two wonderful performances from Kelly MacDonald and David Tennant, who are sweet and adorable.
LVER: Given this is such a screwball romcom, are there any vintage screwball comedies that you were inspired by during the development of this film? Any you are an absolute fan of?
SF: Where shall I start?! I love this genre. “It Happened One Night” is just fantastic. I also adore “The Shop Around the Corner,” and gave a copy of it to both Kelly and David to watch so that they saw the speed at which James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan delivered their lines. I also love “The Awful Truth.” Moving on into the 1950s, there’s “Pillow Talk.” And in a slightly different genre, there’s a wonderful film by the British filmmakers Powell and Pressburger called “I Know Where I’m Going” that is set in an obscure rural part of Scotland that has a resonance with “The Decoy Bride.”
LVER: This is your third time working with David Tennant. What keeps you interested in directing him again?
SF: I’ve worked with David since he was an unknown actor, the first two times on television. This is the first movie. I just think David is an exceptional human being and wonderful actor. He always has a perfect grasp of the text and the character. He has that rare gift of comedic timing—it’s immaculate, inventive. He’s innately so technically proficient: he always knows exactly where he needs to go, how to repeat what he just did exactly.
He also hasn’t changed since becoming famous. He’s always kind and friendly to everyone. For this role, we needed someone who could be funny, charismatic and also truthful. I knew he would be perfect.
LVER: Your next project, “Hit and Miss” starring Chloe Sevigny sounds like the complete opposite of “Decoy Bride.” Why did you decide on such a contrasting project?
SF: I have quite eclectic tastes. I adore directing comedy. But I also love original writing in any genre. And I love brilliant actors. I’ve always thought Chloe Sevigny was extraordinarily talented since I first saw her on screen, so when I heard she was attached to “Hit and Miss” I got very excited.
What I particularly liked about “Hit and Miss” was that there was much less dialogue than in most TV scripts, which I knew would allow for some interesting possibilities in shooting visual sequences. Again, a great contrast to “The Decoy Bride.”
I wanted to show my versatility as a director—I’d hate to get pigeon-holed as just one thing. I like to see myself as similar to one of those directors from the golden age of Hollywood who were employed by the studio to shoot a screwball comedy one week and a dark thriller the next, which is pretty much what I’ve just done.
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