Archive for the ‘EyeMovies’ Category
Award winning director Robin Sheppard talks EYE Movies through the in’s and outs of the film and TV world
Thursday, June 18th, 2009
In the space of a decade, Kirk Originals devotee Robin Sheppard has become one of the most in-demand TV directors in the UK, responsible for helming many household name series. A very personable, demure and likeable character, she nonetheless comes equipped with a steadiness and durability which are seemingly pre-requisites in the business. With her list of projects including a number of critical and popular successes such as “At Home With The Braithwaites”, “Sparkhouse”, “Lucky Jim”, “Cherished”, “Kingdom” and Jilly Cooper’s Octavia”, she’s also always managed to display a versatility in her choice of projects. On meeting her, she’s disarmingly charming and puts her success down to her personality and love of working with actors and writers with her refreshing, energetic attitude to the creative processes of the TV game.
Having graduated from the Royal College Of Art, she puts her entry into the competitive world of TV directing as down to a succession of happy accidents, as is quite typical of many artistic jobs. “It just kind of happened because I had no idea of what directors did. I didn’t really have a burning ambition to be a director, it happened by a series of events. When I was at college and even before that I always used to offer to shoot everyone’s films because I was the only one who knew how to work a camera. I noticed that certain directors didn’t communicate very well with the actors so I used to quietly go up and have a quick word with them and the actors seemed to appreciate that and used to say that I should think about becoming a director.”
With film-making being such an exhausting process taking on a project does usually involve setting apart the best part of a year or even more to complete the work. During this period, as Robin underlines here, it’s an all consuming process. “It completely takes over your life. It is so intense right from the first day that you start to the last day when you finish. It really, really is so intense but in a lovely way because you inhabit a completely different world. There are so many things to think about and do everyday to make it all come together.”
However the exactions of the working lifestyle are counterbalanced by her enthusiasm for working with actors and writers and she’s amassed a more than enviable list of the finest UK acting talents across her works.
“I do love working with actors and that’s the reason I do it really. It’s hard to single anyone in particular out but one I’d like to mention is Timothy Spall. He is one of the mightiest, finest talents around and if you’re talking about pure acting talent, he’s right up there. Stephen Fry also is really brilliant. He’s so much of a Renaissance man and able to turn his hands to so much. I also really like and rate Anna Friel. I love her and as for other actors I admire, Brenda Blethyn, Alun Armstrong, Sarah Smart, Helen McCrory, really there’s so many and it’s such a difficult one to answer. The acting talent in the UK is truly phenomenal and I’ve been so lucky to work with so many great talents.”
Looking at the rapid development of her directing career, it is notable that before getting her breaks on major series, Robin jobbed about on the TV drama staples that are the mainstay of the schedules, the likes of The Bill, and Casualty.
It was a strategy that appeared to pay off. When ITV were setting up the tale of the unlucky lifestyles of lucky lottery winners, “At Home With The Braithwaites”, it was the writer Sally Wainwright with whom Robin had worked on “Playing The Field” who lobbied on her behalf to set up and direct the first tranche of the series. “That was a huge break. Sally sent me the full series of “At Home With The Braithwaites” as a mate and I wasn’t nearly big enough to direct the first block of the series. She very kindly went to the Exec Producer and said “I want Robin Sheppard to direct it.” They met me out of politeness and I knew that they were only meeting me on Sally’s say-so. Anyway at the end of the meeting they said, “Ah whatever, we like you and think you’re great” and they gave it to me. It was a big leap of faith for them.”
With Braithwaites becoming “a huge and very unexpected hit”, it cemented Robin’s standing as a director to look out for and other projects came to her as she worked with the likes of Robert Lindsay on “Hawk” and then on the BBC series “Sparkhouse”, a contemporary update of Wuthering Heights, staffed by a stellar cast of Sarah Smart, Joe McFadden, Celia Imrie and Alun Armstrong. and Working Title Television’s adaptation of Kingsley Amis’ novel “Lucky Jim”.
Moving onto the likes of “Between The Sheets”, working with Rob Lowe and Anna Friel on rom-com “Perfect Strangers” and then the adaptation of the true story of Angela Canning who was wrongly convicted of killing her daughters, “Cherished” which featured Sarah Lancashire and Timothy Spall in the leads.
“Cherished” became one of Robin’s projects which she’s “most proud of”. Yet in jumping across all these different genres, she acknowledges that “I do seem to cross genres a lot and people are quite amazed by that as a lot of directors tend to stick to what they do but my CV over the years has become much more varied. I do like to stretch myself.”
Recently Robin has been involved in establishing the recent Stephen Fry Sunday night hit “Kingdom” and has completed an adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s novel “Octavia” which stars Patrick Baladi, Richard Coyle and Tamsin Egerton. Kingdom “did amazingly well, getting 8.4 million viewers which is double what most things get now. It was fantastically well received and also bucked the trend for downward ratings for drama.”
With a director taking responsibility for the overall look of a piece, it should come as no surprise that Robin has elected to dress her characters in Kirk Originals eyewear throughout her career, noting the individuality and subtle style they bring to the character. “Kirk Originals have always featured in my productions where I can squeeze them in. Anna Friel who was in “Perfect Strangers” wore several pairs of the Vintage collection in that film and she loved them. I’m also looking to slip them into “Octavia” because it’s set in 1976 and also I genuinely love Kirk Originals. I think they look fantastic.”
Currently Robin is developing a feature film adaptation of the cult hit book ‘Apples’. “The screenplay is being written by the original novelist Richard Milward and it is being produced by Nikki Parrott at Tiger Lily films. We also have some funding from the Film Council under their ‘First Feature’ awards programme” says Robin. “It is a twisted tragic-comic love story – a frenetic, poetic, funny and graphic account of adolescent angst set on a Middlesbrough council estate. Notably when ‘Apples’ was published as a book Times Magazine described it as “Catcher in the Rye meets the Arctic Monkeys”.
Yet Robin never strays too far from her TV work having recently directed the BBC’s “New Tricks” with Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, Alun Armstrong and James Bolam – and experience she characteristically describes as “more fun than you should be allowed to have while working!”
Robin wears Olaf ‘The Shadow’ Kirk from the Kirk Heroes collection in H2
Words: James Masters
Thursday, April 9th, 2009
Moving into our orbit whilst making “Hallo Panda”, it’s been delightful for Kirk Originals to witness the swift rise and ongoing advance of one of our favourite characters, film producer, Barrington Paul Robinson.
Charming, erudite and bouncy, with a knowing, self effacing wit, Barrington’s natural humour and style seem suited to and even enhanced by Kirk Originals’ eyewear. As his “rollercoaster” production career has moved upwards from music promos to developing features, his engaging manner and passionate charisma have seen him named as one of Screen International’s Stars Of Tomorrow and as a “Breakthrough Brit”, sent to LA on a UK Film Council funded promotional jaunt.
Having quit a city finance background to pursue his passion for film, Barrington cut his teeth producing music videos for Pendulum, Art Brut, Mr Hudson and Razorlight and his enthusiastic personality soon found him raising funding for short films. Making “Free Speech” a two hander on modern London relationships for which Barrington landed the then breaking Danny Dyer in 2004, he followed this with 2006’s “Death Of The Revolution”, a sparklingly intelligent treatise on modern politics set in a junior school.
It was the Channel 4 screened and critically lauded “Hallo Panda” that brought Barrington and Kirk Originals together. A light comedy about the romantic travails of an American zoologist in London whose best buddy is a talking Panda bear, “Panda” elicited a fabulous response, not only down to the susceptibility of the British public to anything featuring large, fluffy, cute Panda Bears.Preparing the script, Barrington realised that all the characters required quirky, individualistic eyewear and “having stalked Kirk Originals for years”, he jumped at the opportunity for an “in”. “The director told me that all the lead characters wore really great glasses so I tracked down Kirks and when they were up for it, I was really, really flattered.”Taking “Panda” to the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007, by then the smooth talking Barrington had already started to snaffle Kirk Originals eyewear for himself to immediate effects. “I was labelled the best sunglasses in Cannes with my Sunshine Vaughan’s and was photographed everywhere. I felt like I was never gonna be able to take them off ‘cos no-one would have paid attention to me if I wasn’t wearing them. They definitely got me into places that I wouldn’t have been able to get into without the glasses.”
So as we touch base again with Barrington, he is, as ever, a whirlwind of completed productions, upcoming productions and the staple, “several projects in various stages of development”. Following “Panda”, Barrington produced another short, “Player” directed by Mary Nighy (daughter of Bill Nighy) for which a stellar cast of Celia Imrie, Pete Postlethwaite and Haydyn Gwynne was assembled. Coming off this. he moved onto “The Heroes Journey” with Secret & Lies’ Phyllis Logan in the lead which was screened at last summer’s Edinburgh Film Festival. Notably both films are also in competition at prestigious festivals like Raindance, Bristol’s Encounters and The Leeds Film Festival.
An astute producer, Barrington understands the value of attaching marquee names to productions in order to get noticed. It always helps casting well known actors especially when you go back to the agent. If the short’s done anything they’re more likely to let you play with their other clients. That was part of the game-plan from back with “Free Speech” and Danny Dyer. We wanted to let people know that we could cope with name actors and can treat them accordingly, so hopefully they’d keep sending them to us.” The strategy appears to be working with stronger casts, companies and production houses getting behind Barrington’s upcoming projects. Next up would appear to be his London underworld, “Jerry Bruckheimer moment”, “The Debt / The Greed” (working titles), a murky Robin Hood inspired allegory of the relationship between coppers and villains and he’s also attached as a producer to an upcoming, heavyweight film noir, “Box”, a tale of an alienated Australian boxer coming to terms with London inner city living which takes shades of “Sunset Boulevard” and “Touch Of Evil”, relocating them to the English metropolis.
Yet Barrington’s main focus is currently a British take on the “High School Musical” phenomenon, “Chance To Dance”, a project attracting considerable heat due to its international prospects. “We’re trying to make the story authentic so alongside the dance, we can build in great drama and relevant characters. That’s one of the key selling points, to make sure it retains an edge.”“Chance To Dance” has already proved a calling card for Barrington and having pitched it to the UK Film Council earlier this year, it led to him being named as one of the “Breakthrough Brits”, being sent on an all expenses paid, networking trip to LA with the cream of British ethnic minority actors, writers and producers.
“It was my first time in the States. The hotel, “The London West Hollywood” had just opened with Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant and David Beckham la la la but we were too busy with our stuff. We wound up meeting a lot of useful people in the industry. We went to Warners, Fox, all of the studios and the carpet was really rolled out for us.”
And where Barrington goes, his Kirk Originals accompany him. Having been selected for LA, he returned to the Covent Garden store to add that stylish flourish for his Stateside cinematic adventure.
“Kirk Originals kindly arranged for me to get a pair of sunglasses for LA and I got this amazing pair, more glitter obviously, the new Sunshine Jean, I was getting stopped in the street, people asking me where the glasses came from.“I wore them all the time I was over in LA, at all my meetings. I never left home without them. I was sitting there in my Silver Jean Sunshine shades, looking all London, literally just taking it in so that was great.“I think Kirk Originals have almost become like my trademark now. Them and the hair, I’m pretty much sold on that. They’re both going to stay I reckon.”
Words: James Masters
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
If you have not yet seen the new Batman film do not miss it! Keep an
eye open for Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon sporting his Loi
5/105 from the ‘Sculpture’ colection. This frame is limited edition so please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase one.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Penelope Cruz dazzling in Kirk Originals in upcoming rom-com “The Good Night In a high profile film project set to be released across the globe later this year, Kirk Originals was asked to supply glasses to Penelope Cruz, seen here lounging by the pool whilst sporting a pair of Vaughan from the Sculpture Sunglasses Collection alongside co-star Martin Freeman in �The Good Night�. The movie’s a New York based but London filmed romantic comedy, written and directed by Jake Paltrow, brother of actress Gwynneth who takes the female lead opposite British actor Martin Freeman (Love Actually, The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Office) as her ex pop star partner. With a high value cast for the $15 million budget, uber-starlet and now Kirks wearer Penelope Cruz appears as Freeman’s “dream girl”, take that bit literally for now with English dramatic stalwart, Michael Gambon and the evergreen and ever funny, Danny Devito rounding up the A-List cast. “The Good Night” is billed as a tale of an approaching middle age ex pop star (Freeman), now slumming it writing advertising jingles in New York. Living with Gwynneth in a relationship that has gone somewhat stale, Freeman begins to dream of his ideal woman, the role played by Ms Cruz, to escape the apparent tedium of their home lives. Advance word on the movie has been excellent so far and it looks like it could prove an off-beat, likeable, intelligent modern comedy which appears one to watch out for at cinemas in 2007.
Penelope is wearing Vaughan from the Sculpture sunglass range.
Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
Bill Paxton (Jeff Tracey) and Ben Kingsley (The Hood) star in Jonathan Frakes’ update of the classic 1960’s supermarionation TV Series “Thunderbirds”. And because we at Kirk Originals love everything retro, it was only befitting we place our specs on Transom, one of The Hood’s sidekicks.
Set in the year 2010, Jeff Tracey is a billionaire, retired astronaut and leader of International Rescue. From their secret island in the South Pacific, Tracey and his four sons are ready to respond to disasters anywhere in the world at any time!
All is not as peaceful as it seems – enter The Hood, a telekinetic genius, and his band of British cronies. They have been spying on International Rescue and have discovered the location of their secret island. The Hood wastes no time in putting his sinister plan into action. He cripples the space station Thunderbird 5, forcing the young Tracy brothers to embark on an ill-fated rescue attempt. In their absence The Hood seizes Tracey Island and when Jeff Tracey, Fermat and Tin Tin come to the rescue (with a little help from Brains and Lady Penelope), Thunderbirds are GO!
The red headed ruthless Transom wears Lynn in grey from the Kirk Originals Vintage Sculpture collection.
Monday, April 2nd, 2007
Jake Green (Jason Statham) is a hot shoot gambler, long on audacity and short on common sense… He’s rarely allowed to play in any casino these days because he’s dangerous. He’s a winner. One night Jake and 2 older brothers, Billy and Joe, are invited to sit down in a private game.
A game that is fixed for Jake to loss to Macha (Ray Liotta), a top dog crime boss and casino owner who can’t play for squat, but always wins because people just aren’t allowed to loose to him. But Jake isn’t afraid of Macha. And not only beats him in a quick game of chance, but also takes every possible opportunity to throw insults. As Jake and his brothers leave the game, Macha puts out the order for the hit on Jake and what Macha wants, Macha gets.
However a twist of fate gets Jake working for a pair of brothers, who happen to have their own agenda for Macha.Mark Strong a Kirk Originals devotee and loyal wearer of the brand on screen and off screen talks “Revolver” to us.
“Revolver”, a London and Las Vegas gallery of gambling, guns, gangsters and games starring Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Vincent Pastore, Andre 3000 from Outkast and more, I play a rather sweet, nerdy assassin called “The Sorter” – “A machine of death he’s described as and he never misses. But he’s got a stutter, he’s nervy, wears a raincoat and glasses, and the idea is that this seemingly innocuous gentle guy is a lethal shot. There’s a whole sequence where he massacres a load of the bad guys, well even badder guys really, and when I saw in the script Mozart’s’ Requiem starts playing and in slow motion he sorts out and kills everyone in the room I thought that’s a moment and I really wanna be part of that.” “Sorter” wears Charles 1/101 It’s not only Sorter that has an eye for great glasses – watch closely!
Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
Kirk Originals support quirky London Short Film, Hallo Panda. Another film production to have recently benefited from Kirk Originals’ patronage is the London based film short “Hallo Panda”, directed by brothers Ben and Chris Blaine and funded by both Film Four and the UK Film Council through their prestigious Cinema Extreme programme. Put simply, “Hallo Panda” is a short film about one man’s mission to masturbate a talking panda.The longer plot version. Mark is an American zoologist in London and Panda is a talking Chinese bear, here to mate with a female he can’t stand the sight of. Trapped and lonely in London, they become friends. Yet in this triangle of affection, Mark loves Sarah, Sarah only loves moths, and Panda just wants to go to home to China.
“Hallo Panda” is described as an unromantic comedy about the conflict between love and procreation, instinct and intellect, and the relationship between a drunken zoologist and a grumpy, talking bear.Central to the short is the convincing animatronic panda, voiced by rising UK actor Benedict Wong and featuring the physical performance of Peter Elliot as the man in the bear suit, itself created by those technical wizards at Animated Extras.Yet amidst all this trickery, the brilliant central performance of Steven Beckenham captivates the audience with the highs and lows of Mark, the put upon zoo-keeper whose responsibility it is to revive the pandas’ sex lives. Wearing the Charles frames from Kirk Originals lent the lead character the requisite cool to off-set his actions and character and also highlight certain less fashion conscious characters in the short film.
“Hallo Panda” was produced by Quinny Sacks and Barrington Paul Robinson for Charlie Productions and producers and directors, the Blaine Brothers are presently in discussions for a longer, feature length version of the film. All were impressed with Kirk Originals’ suitability for the lead character, Mark, the production have already expressed a desire to involve Kirk Originals again for their “unique and audacious stylings”.