Get to know: Spoek Mathambo and Lars Iversen’s new project ‘HOT ICE’

Introducing Hot Ice, the incredible new project from Copenhagen based producer and songwriter Lars Iversen and South Africa based MC/Producer/Artist Spoek Mathambo. The first taste of Hot Ice comes in the form of their irresistible single ‘Lola’, an uplifting and bouncy slice of summery, tropical dub-pop, due for release on 24th March 2017 via Atlantic Records. The track also features guest vocals from Mattias Kolstrup, lead singer of renowned Danish electronic band Dúné.

 Critically successful artists in their own right, Hot Ice sees a first time collaboration between Lars Iversen and Spoek Mathambo; with Iversen known as the founder, producer and main songwriter of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, and Mathambo as a hugely influential and pioneering electronic artist and producer both within his native South Africa and the wider world.

 

FAULT Magazine Meets The Kid Flash, KEIYNAN LONSDALE

 

Keiynan Lonsdale has come a long way—and at super speed—since spending his days chatting up celebrities as an MTV VJ in his native Australia just a handful of years ago. The 25-year-old is currently holding it down as Kid Flash on The CW’s popular comic book series The Flash.

 

Lonsdale made his Hollywood entry in 2015 after scoring the role of Uriah in Insurgent, the sequel in the young-adult Divergent franchise. The rising actor has since appeared in the third blockbuster chapter Allegiant and drowned his wet feet in Craig Gillespie’s disaster-at-sea drama The Finest Hours opposite Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. And wouldn’t you know it: Lonsdale dances and sings, too. To say that he’s a mere fan of Michael Jackson would be unjust and cruel. Also, for someone who was mute for a short time as a young boy, he’s certainly making up for it nowadays.

 

Following up on last week’s one-off musical crossover episode of The Flash and SupergirlFAULT sat down with Lonsdale to discuss his childhood dreams of performing on stage, the unexpected impediment that comes with donning the Kid Flash suit, and his idolization of Michael Jackson.

 

There’s a lot of hype around the musical episode that’s airing next week. Are you excited?

 

I’m excited for everyone to see what was put together. There’s some really good production value. I think it’s going to be something totally different that we haven’t presented before.

 

You guys have an intense and devoted fanbase—a Comic-Con audience, essentially—so it’s all about the secrets and reveals. Are you good about keeping things under wraps?

 

It’s funny because the fans I meet always want me to give them the lowdown. But I’m pretty loyal to the show. I do my best not to spoil anything. I definitely let something slip before by accident.

 

So what happens then? Is there like TV jail?

 

[Laughs] I think it would depend on what information you’re revealing. When I started working on the show last season, I revealed by mistake that an actor had returned or that I had bumped into them [on set]. I got super nervous. I called the producers: “I’m so sorry! This is my second week and I already ruined the show!” But they were super cool about it. They obviously know absolutely everything that’s going on, so they have even more information to keep locked away. They get it.

 

What are the added challenges that come with acting in costume as Kid Flash?

 

I just couldn’t hear a lot of stuff. [Laughs] But we made adjustments. I also just got used to it. Also, it’s all very tight fitted. You can’t just casually move the way you normally would, which is actually kind of cool because it separates you from the now superhero. If you’re going to turn, you’re going to really turn, you know what I mean? It’s not some lackluster motion.

 

I’ve come to learn that you’re a huge Michael Jackson fan. When did you start idolizing him?

 

Gosh, it was crazy because when I started to become aware of Michael Jackson, I was super young. I was like 2 when I started watching all of these things, every day. There was so much content for me to grab onto because he had been around for so long at that point. I was heavily obsessed with numerous songs and iconic moments. I did have my own “Thriller” costume and dance—that’s how I always performed and felt most comfortable doing. I knew that when I did “Thriller,” I would win the dance competition because this is the one. I remember watching the behind the scenes for the music video and thinking that it was such a crazy process. It’s such an extravagant and marvelous music video, and the best music video of all time. “Of all time!” to quote Kanye West. [Laughs] So I would say that, but every moment in his career was legendary.

 

It was shocking to find out that you were mute for a couple of years when you were young because I didn’t talk for a good year in elementary school. That you would be so shy, yet so incredibly eager to perform at the same time is both heartbreaking and endearing.

 

My mom definitely helped and we were always super close. She knew that I wanted to perform because I would tell her, “I want to dance on stage with Michael Jackson.” But I didn’t like people looking at me or talking to me. [Laughs] Eventually, she said, “I’m not going to take you to dance class anymore,” because I would go to class and cry or sit down. I was so nervous to be with the other kids, parents, and teachers. My mom said, “Look, I’m not going to let you do this until you accept the fact that people will be watching you. You’re going to have to be okay with that because that’s what you’re asking for.” I did some weird things. When I started doing competitions at 4 years old, I got my mom to hide me until I was on stage because I didn’t want anyone looking at me until I was up there. Then as soon as I got off the stage, I would sneak around the back until I got back to my seat. I just didn’t want any attention at all. As for the whole being mute thing, that was purely out of shyness. It was hard for me to communicate with anyone outside of my house.

 

Do you still struggle with social anxiety?

 

Oh yeah, it’s there. I’ve had so many experiences and jobs that force me into that position. I worked for MTV Australia as a VJ for two years, which obviously makes you feel quite exposed. Your job is to host, interview, entertain, and show off your personality. I found that really difficult, but it also showed me that I could push through a lot of challenges. I freak out when I’m around a lot of people. If I’m told that I have to speak in front of a bunch of people, I get so nervous. But then I’m like, “Wait, I did do this for two years as my job.” I just forget, you know?

 

PULL QUOTE: I didn’t like people looking at me or talking to me. I just didn’t want any attention at all. As for the whole being mute thing, that was purely out of shyness.

 

So you come from a big family. You were the youngest of six children growing up. I know you have more siblings on your father’s side as well. Did you find your place as the entertainer?

 

It’s always played into the family dynamic because dancing was my life 24/7. My siblings were very much aware of that because I took over the living room every day. Now that they’ve seen me getting to do some cool things—they were watching The Flash before I was even on it—they’re really proud. They’re all creative in their own right as well, which is awesome. It’s all good vibes.

 

When you come from a big family like that, that’s really your first audience, right?

 

Yeah, exactly. I remember when I had my first movie premiere, I was nervous, but I had so many family members that I got lots of cheers whenever my face would show up on that big screen. It made it sound like the whole audience was just loving it. It was very helpful.

 

This is a fairly recent one: What do you remember from shooting The Finest Hours?

 

It was the hardest shoot that I’ve ever done because of the rain and the water elements involved. But it also felt like this really tight-knit group because the whole cast and stunt crew were going through the same thing. It created this cool bond. It was fun and physical and inspiring and draining… I got to meet and work with some really incredible actors. It was also beautiful because it was the first time that I got to take part in something that’s based on a true story.

 

I know you bonded with Jai Courtney on Insurgent and talked about making a similar transition coming from Sydney to Los Angeles. Is there an Aussie circle in the industry?

 

There’s definitely an Aussie circle. I know that when I came over here for the first time for pilot season, I came with six other Aussies, we lived together, and then went to dinner with a bunch of other Australians. It made us feel really safe and it’s a great community. In L.A., I feel like half the town is Australian. That’s obviously not the case, but it feels like that. It’s crazy how many Aussies are out here working and just doing their thing. I think if you come all this way and put all this work in, you might as well do the damn thing and give it all you have, you know?

 

Have you ever had the opportunity to ask a filmmaker, a producer or a casting director, “What made you hire me for this job?” I just think I would be endlessly curious about that.

 

I’ve never been like, “Why did you cast me?” [Laughs] I don’t want them to reconsider, you know? I remember having dinner once with the producers on Insurgent and they were explaining to me how they saw my tape and it just felt right. That’s not super helpful, but it’s such a nice thing to connect with someone like that. We go through so many rejections as an actor, but the majority of the time, we’re not the one. We’re just not the guy for the job. So when someone tells you that they saw your work and, for whatever reason, you were that character, it’s quite humbling. It makes you realize that there are certain roles for you and others that you’re going to miss out on. That’s all.

 

I guess it is this ephemeral thing, too. Casting is so intuitive. It’s hard to explain.

 

Yeah, exactly. It’s not a formula. It’s so subjective.

 

What’s happening on the music side of things? It looks like you put that on the back-burner.

 

I did put it on the back-burner. When I booked Insurgent, I had just released a song out into the world. A terrible song. [Laughs] When I booked the film, I wanted to really immerse myself into acting, the role and to where my life was taking me like, “I have to do this. I have to give this everything I have. All of my attention.” I feel like there was maybe like ten months where I didn’t write a single song. Eventually, I sort of found a balance. Now I’m at a place where I can go shootThe Flash on a 14-hour day, head home, and write a song for three hours. To be able to have that balance is really cool. Whenever I have a few days off, I’m giving sort of everything I can to create. I have a lot of content. I just want to make sure that it’s right and take the time to make sure it’s right because I can be quite impatient. Then I can share it with whoever wants to listen.

 

Based on what I know about you, I think you might like this project I just made up: a Baz Luhrmann musical starring yourself, Michael Fassbender, and Rachel McAdams.

 

Oh yeah, that would be everything. That cast and Baz—all of that. You should write the movie and cast us and have Baz direct it. [Laughs] Make it happen. That would be marvelous.

 

The business of acting is unpredictable in countless ways, but you’re still at the steering wheel with the choices you make. Where would you like to ultimately end up?

 

I really don’t know anymore. I always had very creative goals. I still do, but I’m learning to let go of all the pressure and the permanent attachment of wanting to be at this place at this time. That’s when I go a little bit crazy. I just want to continue doing what I’m doing right now. I couldn’t be happier with life. I get to be creative and chill out when I can chill out. Also, I’ve surrounded myself with really good people. I want to live that life where I get to do all of those things, experience the world, and experience new stuff all the time. That’s what I never want to stop doing.

 

WORDS: Reto Sterchi 

PHOTOGRAPHY—Nikko La Mere 

FAULT Magazine Meets Olivier Assayas

 

In the defiantly unconventional and resolutely disorientating ghost story Personal Shopper, French auteur Olivier Assayas reteams with Kirsten Stewart after 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria, once again investigating a beleaguered and solitary individual who’s living in the shadow of another person.

 

Stewart plays Maureen, a young American woman in Paris who’s biding her time as a personal shopper, going about the quotidian rituals of her job schlepping haute couture from one atelier to the next for Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), a revolting celebutante whose one ironclad caveat is that her slave never try on the clothes. Maureen doesn’t always obey: In one explicit scene, she throws back shots of vodka and slips into Kyra’s brand new bondage outfit, made even more lubricious when she begins to masturbate in her employer’s bed. When Maureen’s not busy pleasing her boss—or pleasuring herself—she doubles as a medium, submerged in her obsessive quest to open up spirit portals and commune with her recently expired twin brother Lewis (Anders Danielsen Lie) to take the edge off her suffering and move on. If her freelance ghostbusting sounds strange, there’s plenty more on offer, like incoming text messages from a sinister correspondent—“I want you and I will have you”—that may or may not involve supernatural forces from the afterlife.

 

Premiering in competition at Cannes last year, Personal Shopper provoked a farmyard chorus of backbiting boos at its initial press screening, with Assayas going on to pick up the highly-coveted directing prize, in a tie with Graduation director Cristian Mungiu. That’s Cannes in a nutshell.

 

The French auteur spoke to FAULT about Kristen Stewart’s transformation, Sylvester Stallone’s comeback, and his Cannes-winning Personal Shopper.

 

I took a look at the Personal Shopper press conference footage from Cannes last year. You didn’t leave any room for ambiguity in saying that the film’s ending is pretty clear in your mind. Were you surprised that so many viewers found the ending much more open-ended?

 

Well, I think that movies are questions rather than answers. I honestly do like that audiences can leave the theater guessing. I think it has to do with some kind of an afterlife that movies have, you know? To me, movies aren’t so much about giving immediate gratification to the audience. I think anything that’s worthwhile echoes. I like the notion of things echoing with the audience, when you question and include things that are very personal about one’s faith or belief in things that are invisible. I honestly think that’s one part of filmmaking that’s missing in a lot of movies.

 

The film is in many ways about Maureen coming to grips with death, isolation, and repressed sexuality. Did you want to reconcile something in yourself when you set out to make this film?

 

I suppose I did. A movie like this is pretty dependent on the mood or the situation you’re in when you make it. That’s what Maureen is about. It certainly has to do with my own questions and my own interrogations. I’m sure this movie was about exploring my relationship to the presence of invisible things in filmmaking, which I’m convinced exists. I’ve been convinced ever since I started making films that movies capture something beyond what is physically present in front of the lens. Movies capture vibes that you don’t entirely control. Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but still, it has been very important and informed my filmmaking since the very beginning. With Personal Shopper, I think I’m trying to explore it and question it and figure out if it makes sense or not.

 

Is it always your first inclination to want to do something that’s unmistakably unique?

 

When I start writing, I usually have my back againt the wall. I don’t have any kind of career plan. There’s no master plan, really. I’m trying to move on and take one step forward from whatever I had been doing, and try to explore things that I have not explored. What it all boils down to is that I’m writing the one thing that I have the energy to write. It’s something strange enough, mysterious enough, and weird enough to give me the desire to put it down on paper and have a shot at it. In my own strange way, I suppose, I’m some kind of an experimentalist. And I don’t want to know if it will work or not. I need to be scared and not completely sure if I’m going to get away with it.

 

EMBED TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0Ng5JDR9KM

 

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Stewart. She has shown incredible range since Panic Room.Twilight launched her into the stratosphere, maybe at a price, but you single-handedly secured her a spot in arthouse. What is it that makes her endlessly fascinating?

 

Honestly—knowing Kristen, having worked with her twice now, and being friends with her—the more I know Kristen, the more I think she’s a completely exceptional actress, not to mention an exceptional human being. I feel extremely privileged to have been able to somehow document her transformation, you know? I feel that I’ve been the right person at the right time to be able to record on film the moment Kristen kind of became conscious of her talent and the reach of her talent. I hope I will work with her again because I think there are still things we can try together.

 

PULL QUOTE: The thing is, I’m not interested in actors. I’m interested in individuals… I’m not choosing actors. I’m choosing friends I’ll be spending time with in the coming months.

 

That’s a beautiful thing. I spoke to Anders [Danielsen Lie] at Cannes last year and he wasn’t entirely sure why you cast him in Personal Shopper. So, why did you want him to play Erwin?

 

[Laughs] Usually, there’s no solid answer to this kind of question. Here’s the thing: I wrote this part not knowing who I was writing it for. At the time, I had a very vague notion of who would be in the film and how I would be doing it. I remember having a discussion with Antoinette Boulat, my casting director, who I’ve been working with for twenty years so she’s more a friend than a casting director. We’re very close. We started discussing the character of Erwin and putting down names of actors, and so on and so forth. The next day, she sent me a text message with Anders’ name. It struck me in that moment that I had actually been writing this part for him, you know? Erwin is very close to what Anders did in Oslo, August 31st. It was as if Antoinette had read through me—as if she had entered my subconscious and clarified that this part had been written for Anders. Instantly, I said, “Yes, of course. Call him. I’m offering him the part. I want him and no one else.”

 

You’re clearly good at reading people and sussing out future collaborators. You’re sensitive to your needs. You don’t talk much on set, either. Your style of directing is almost telepathic.

 

The thing is, I’m not interested in actors. I’m interested in individuals. I’m interested in individuals who are, more or less, on the same wavelength as myself. That’s why I never do screen tests with actors or anything of the sort. I just need to meet them. After thirty seconds, I know if it’s someone I can function with or not. It’s very intuitive. To me, I’m not choosing actors. I’m choosing friends I’ll be spending time with in the coming months. In the same way it is with your friends, you don’t need to constantly explain things or reestablish things. That’s why your friends are your friends. So I think my approach to working with actors is much closer to what we call friendships.

 

How long does it take you to complete a screenplay, generally speaking?

 

It depends. I wrote Irma Vep in nine days. I wrote Personal Shopper in two months, at the most. With the screenplay right now, I’ve been working on it on and off for a year and I’m not through yet. So it depends on the project. Sometimes things come to you finished and you put it down on paper and that’s it. Other times, you have to feel your way into a subject and the characters.

 

Is the script you’re currently working on Based on a True Story for Roman Polanski?

 

Oh no, the Roman Polanski one was fast. The deal was that they wanted the script, like, the next day. I really worked fast on that one. We started working on it in early June and we had a finished screenplay by mid-July. We basically reshuffled it with Roman Polanski during August and started preparing the film. Now it’s done and finished and they’re in the editing room with it.

 

Are you in the habit of seeing every idea through, or do you have a lot in your periphery?

 

I like to try things. Ultimately, I don’t think I work with ideas—I work with characters. Once in a while, I start scribbling down stuff, but it’s not so much ideas and more characters. I realized that I’m serious about turning something into a film when the characters stay with me or I keep going back to them. Gradually, layer by layer, [the character] comes to life and I build the screenplay around that one character or possibly a few characters. That’s the best answer I can give you.

 

You went through a traumatic experience in 2014 when they suddenly pulled the plug onIdol’s Eye. What’s happening with that one? You’ve since called it your “ghost film.”

 

[Laughs] It’s more like a burden that I’ve been carrying around on my back. It’s super frustrating to not have done it. It literally fell apart a day before we were about to start shooting with the cast. I’ve been trying to revive it because I really believe in it. I think there’s potential for it to be a really good film. But it’s too expensive and we’ve been really struggling with that. So maybe it will be my next film or it won’t be my next film. It’s still certainly possible. It’s a very fragile project.

 

I know Robert De Niro was first attached to star and Sylvester Stallone, who obviously made quite a comeback, has since replaced him. Are you excited to have him on board?

 

It’s very exciting. I’ve always been a fan of Sylvester Stallone, ever since his early films and when I was a young film journalist. He was my first choice, really. That’s just how the industry functions, I suppose. When I wrote Idol’s Eye, I wanted Stallone and everybody told me, “You’re never going to get this financed. No one will want him for that part.” I thought that was crazy because he’s a great actor. At the time, they said I should offer it to Robert De Niro if I want to get the film made and, obviously, I’m a huge fan and I was happy to offer it to him and work with him. But now a year has passed and, all of a sudden, everybody is excited with Stallone because he was in Creed or something. So, it’s just weird. I just don’t get it, you know? I go with the flow, I suppose.

 

WORDS: Reto Sterchi

PHOTOGRAPHY: Rafa Rivas 

Paramount Pictures presents Ghost In The Shell immersive pop-up at Lights of Soho

On Thursday 23rd March, in order to celebrate the launch of their latest blockbuster movie, Ghost In The Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, Paramount Pictures transformed neon art gallery and member’s club, Lights of Soho into a completely interactive and high-tech immersive pop-up experience.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell tells the story of the fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, led by protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi in mid-21st Century Japan.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

 

Bringing the film to life, the Soho gallery space has been transformed into a completely immersive and interactive environment using the very latest modern technology. From a 360° holographic Geisha mask and interactive windows to exclusive memorabilia from the film, guests from the world of film and music were transported to a fictional cyber world with the help of London trio, Sälen who hit the decks with a mixture of electro and trip hop beats to set the futuristic tone and keep guests dancing into the night.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Lights of Soho set up for the “Ghost in The Shell” London Gala Screening After Party on March 23, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

HTGAWM’s Jack Falahee discusses lessons learnt from the LGBTQ community in FAULT Issue 25

 

Photography by Joseph Sinclair
Styling by Angel Terrazas
Grooming by Mishelle Parry at Celestine Agency

Jack Falahee ‘Playing Connor | Finding Jack’

Words: Miles Holder

How To Get Away With Murder first appeared on our screens in 2014 and is to this day one of America’s most progressive and expertly written television dramas. Oscar award winning actress, Viola Davis stars as the powerful, female, African-American lawyer without a defined sexuality nor reason to explain one. As an African American female actress, she will no-doubt have faced similar prejudices to that of the character she plays; however the same can not be said for the whole cast. Enter, Jack Falahee. Despite years of training at prestigious acting schools, it was the role of a homosexual college student, Connor Walsh that would provide Jack with a clear and untilfiltered glimpse into the LGBTQ community. It’s a credit to Jack’s skills as an actor, that Connor’s character and his sometimes turbulent relationship with his HIV-positive boyfriend have created strong discussions within and outside of the LGBTQ community. With that in mind, I sat down with Jack to find out what the character that means so much to so many different people – means to him.

You’ve got an impressive resume – you’ve studied so many different acting methods, what is it about television and the screen that mean you’ve gone down that route?

When I was at NYU I was originally admitted to study musical theatre but when I started hanging out with kids who had grown up with ballet classes and vocal coaches, I quickly realised I was a bit out of my depths. If I felt that way in a class of forty students, then going to an open audition for a broadway show was going to be a nightmare; and it was and I was cut very quickly.

I went to Amsterdam and studied the experimental theatre and then Shakespeare in the States but when I got into television acting, I was really inspired by the technical side of it. I grew up enjoying movies but when I started studying it I became aware of angles, what “the shot” was and just everything that is done to make a screenplay come to life. That really fascinated me and will likely lead to me producing and directing in my future.

What period of Connor’s character resonated with you the most?

Fundamentally he and I are very competitive and also very jealous people – it’s something which I’m personally working on but I don’t think Connor is! I grew up with 3 siblings and 2 brothers who are all wildly brilliant and whilst it was a house full of love, it was also incredibly competitive so I definitely relate to Connor in that way.

When you first got the role, did you think the show would have such an impact?

Frankly, you’re not thinking about that when you’re a struggling actor; you’re thinking about getting a job so you can pay rent and survive so I never really sat down and considered I’d be spending years of my life on the project.

I’m still not over how the much of an impact the show has made and a lot of that is Connor’s character and his importance to fans. It’s emblematic of my straight privilege, but I never thought his character would be so important to the LGBTQ community. When the finale came out and Oliver proposed to Connor, seeing the Twitter reaction was so overwhelming and I was just overjoyed at how meaningful the character is to people.

What are the best lessons you’ve learnt from your fans?

100% opening my eyes to the LGBTQ struggle and I can’t stress that enough. Going into this, it was never written on the page that “Connor Walsh is a homosexual”; so when it came to the first love scene I just thought, “wow this guy is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead” and now I know that was the heteronormativity in my mind back then that was rationalising this whole aspect of his character. It wasn’t until Pete Nowalk was like “oh no, Connor is gay” that I’ve been really trying to become a student of the history of LGBTQ rights and learning more about the struggle of those in the past and in the present day.  I asked Pete and my friends for a reading list on LGBTQ history because one of my favourite aspects about being an actor is that I’m continually having to learn about things I’ve been very uneducated on in the past. I’ve grown up with friends and family who aren’t straight white males so it was important for me  to do Connor’s character justice. The outpouring of love from the fans was so gratifying and humbling for me. Receiving messages from fans saying “Connor & Oliver helped me come out to my parents” is deeply rewarding and to be any small part of the courage needed to come out will forever be a blessing to me.

Are you comfortable with your sex symbol status?

No! Well, it depends [laughs]. I go back and forth on this, on one hand, it’s a great boost to my confidence but on the other hand, it’s a very vulnerable thing to be. Women live their lives being objectified and reduced to just their bodies every day and it is awful so I’ve been discussing it with the women close to me. I obviously can never understand how women can go through life that way but I can see a glimpse of what that experience might feel like and it’s not a nice one.

Nine times out of ten, it’s all good fun and nice things are being said but that 10% of the time when people disregard my space or my wellbeing is not okay. People tell me “that’s what you signed up for” and I really don’t think it is! I was this chubby, awkward kid and now I’m a sex symbol with the help of great makeup and lighting experts making me look a certain way on tv and magazines.

What is FAULT?

I think that there is a part of me which is always seeking validation which is very informative of why I’ve become an actor; regardless of what might happen, I think I’ll always be seeking approval.

Read Jack’s full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

FAULT Focus: Further Reading with the Editors of Ladybeard Magazine


Starting at the beginning, where did the idea for Ladybeard come from?

Ladybeard was borne out of a frustration with the mainstream – we take underrepresented and misrepresented topics and open them up to fresh feminist perspectives.

Launching a magazine (especially a print magazine) in the past decade has been risky business. What drives and inspires you to keep creating?

Ladybeard is purely driven by passion – we make it in and around our full-time jobs. Sometimes it’s hard to see the sense, but it always feels worth it once the magazine is made. We are driven by the need for thoughtful, interrogating, inclusive reportage that stimulates people – while there is still a need for this, we are inspired to carry on with the magazine.

Ladybeard is a glossy magazine however you’re a far cry from the “How to keep your man” “how to be thin and nothing else” titles on newsstands. What thought process in particular led to you choosing the glossy format for Ladybeard?

We love the way a glossy feels, looks, its weight, its texture. The abstract qualities of a glossy – its luxuriant, covetable, personal qualities – very much inform the format of Ladybeard. We don’t, however, like the harmful and narrow messages it so often perpetuates.

What would you say was the main goal of Ladybeard?

To reimagine topics that so define us, but that have been reduced to simple, white, cis, exclusionary forms, like ‘sex’ and the ‘mind’ and in this way offer something exciting and interesting to readers. Something that better reflects their world and their experience of the world.

Can you talk us through your thought process when choosing your issue themes? 

In some ways sex was obvious: it permeates all media, in particular the pages of women’s glossies, and dominates feminist discourse. So we started there, with something explicit, controversial, and present. In contrast, there was a distinct lack of discussion surrounding the ‘mind’ when we chose it for our second issue. The move from ‘sex’ to ‘mind’ was a move inward, to something more introspective and intangible.

In late 2016 you released your Mind Issue which (by our interpretation) challenged the notion of binary thinking. However people need to be willing to be enlightened before they can reflect on the issues raised in the magazine – is it hard tackling the “ignorance barrier” many erect when faced with new ways of thinking?

Perhaps it’s a case of preaching to the converted, but we have only received positive messages to the issue. We try, as far as possible to encompass a multitude of voices and experiences, rather than force a particular agenda on our readers. Yes, the magazine as a whole challenges the notion of binary thinking, but we don’t feel that to be the most challenging thing in the magazine – over the recent years, we’ve seen a huge cultural shift in our understanding of the self and gender. Binary thinking is more often rejected, and constantly held up to scrutiny.

With your issues selling out and events receiving rave reviews, it’s easy for an onlooker to say that Ladybeard is enjoying a lot of success. However, on a more personal level, how do you define a successful issue? 

It’s difficult to say, we’ve only made two issues and they each took a year! From the outside it may appear that Ladybeard enjoys traditional standards of success, however we make no money from the issues, and for 6 months of the year work nights and weekends to pack it all in. It sounds clichéd but what really matters is the magazine – as long as we are honestly happy with everything that has gone in, then we feel it’s a success.

What can we expect to see from Ladybeard in the coming months?

Another snail-paced race to make a magazine – this time our theme is beauty.

*What scares you about the year ahead?

Ha! Aside from the disintegration of safe spaces for any marginalised community and the implementation of divisive, repressive policies on a global scale, we feel a little scared about doing the issue all over again, about making it work, about growing up.

…and in contrast, what are you excited for in 2017?

Making another issue, seeing where it takes us.

Could you pin-point a single book, movie, talk that impacted the way you saw the world? 

A lot of people on the team would say Susie Orbach’s ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’ – reading that while still a teenager was incredible formative.

What are your FAULTs?  

We’re impatient and critical and never satisfied.

 

Words: Miles Holder

Read more about Ladybeard on www.ladybeardmagazine.co.uk 

FAULT Focus Events: Stand Up for EU Nationals

As we gear up for the launch of our ‘Made In America’ issue which chronicles all the popular artists who have managed to excel despite growing racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment in the land they call home, we’ve been keeping our ear to the ground to find more creatives/events who highlight and embody this role. Today that comes in the form of “Stand Up for EU Nationals”, a celebration of, and show of solidarity for, EU nationals who (for now at least) call the UK “home”. 

As Article 50 is triggered with no guarantees for EU citizens in the UK, this event celebrates their contribution to our community.
In the first half Ian Dunt, author of Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? and the LSE’s Philippe Legrain will reveal the facts about immigration to the UK and how the press fail to report the enormous economic, cultural and social contributions newcomers make to our country.
In the second half, comedians Shazia Mirza, Sindhu Vee and Grainne Maguire will give their hilarious take on what it’s like to live in Brexit Britain.

The event will also feature an EU citizen picked from a crowdsourcing campaign, who will talk about what it is like to live in the UK, both pre- and post-Brexit.

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stand-up-for-eu-nationals-tickets-32688631577#tickets

Come for a night of celebration and laughter, as we refuse to despair in the face of Brexit or give up on our friends and neighbours.

Tickets just £8 (concessions), £12 and £18 for a celebratory night of information and comedy.

FAULT MEETS KATELL QUILLEVERE

Adapted from Maylis de Kerangal’s internationally acclaimed 2014 novel Mend the Living, Katell Quillévéré’s Heal the Living opens with three teenagers deploying their surfboards on a deserted beach at dawn, throwing themselves into the curls of deep blue waves. Pure sensation is the order of the day, and a prelude to a tragedy in their lives. Before long, a fatal car crash takes one of them.

Upon arriving at a hospital in Le Havre, 16-year-old Simon (Gabin Verdet) is pronounced brain-dead. Doctors broach the delicate yet urgent matter of organ donation to his distraught parents Marianne (Emmanuelle Seigner) and Vincent (Kool Shen). Here, Quillévéré steps back—let’s consider the enormity of the situation—and shifts her attention to the peripheral hospital staff: a disheveled surgeon (Bouli Lanners), a mousy organ donation coordinator (Tahar Rahim), and a put-upon new nurse (Monia Chokri). Meanwhile, Simon’s misfortune opens up the possibility for the continuation of life for another. In Paris, middle-aged mother Claire (Anne Dorval), whose degenerative heart condition is worsening, is put on a waiting list to receive a potential transplant.

Heal the Living is a meditation on human suffering, both literally and figuratively embroidered around hearts: the rhythm of our lives and a sound box for our emotions. Quiet human details, like parents’ farewells whispered into the ears of unconscious children, are magnified with soaring visual and sonic acumen—Tom Harari shoots, Alexandre Desplat scores—and it’s life affirming.

 

The César-nominated filmmaker spoke to FAULT about her big career lessons, discovering newcomer Gabin Verdet, and her dazzling elegy to life Heal the Living.

 

Could you describe your first encounter with Maylis de Kerangal’s novel?

 

It was somewhat accidental how I made contact with the material because it was actually David [Thion], one of the producers on the film, who introduced me to the novel. He had already put the idea in his head that it should be made into a film. When I first read the novel, I was already working on an original screenplay, so I wasn’t particularly interested in adapting it. But it was so powerful. I could see that there was something special there, so I made it a point to meet with Maylis. It was over time in the writing process that I really came to understand my intimate connection to the novel. It conjured up my memories of loss in the hospital and it replayed in my mind. Sometimes when you’re making a film, you confront and deal with things like loss, as well as desire. I hope this is the same kind of experience people take away after watching the film.

 

Was this a very cathartic experience looking back?

 

Yes, and I think that’s the essence of what cinema is. It should have this cathartic effect, both for the people making the film as well as for the people watching it. If you think back to the start of cinema and the whole fairgrounds thing, it was a way for people to confront fear, laughter, tears and even some danger, but at the same time, with a bit of distance from it all.

 

The film centers on Simon, then his parents, then the hospital staff, and then Claire and everyone in her orbit. This feels deliberate—underscoring the interconnectedness of us all.

 

You’re correct in your analysis because the movie is all about the human link. There’s no direct translation for this from French to English, but it’s almost like the film is in a relay where each character passes the torch on to the next person. That’s how this film was conceived. As you said, it begins with an individual, broadens out to include a larger community, and then society as a whole.

 

 

 

The opening moments with the surfers are absolutely breathtaking. I understand it was quite difficult to pull off. Why was it important that we see them at sea before tragedy strikes?

 

This was the most difficult thing to shoot. The water, the sea—it’s very powerful and something you can’t control. It was important that the film begins in the sea because it’s where all of humanity began. The idea of showing surfers at sea is a way of referencing the start of life and the end of life. It’s a metaphoric image when we see the surfers inside the waves. It’s almost as if they’re inside the mother’s womb. When the sea ejects the surfers, it’s as if a mother ejects the child during birth.

 

There are moments of fantasy that make scenes explode. The road the surfers are driving on turns into ocean waves, for example. How do you know when to indulge and daydream?

 

It was a challenge to achieve this kind of subtle balance between dream and reality. I found that, by striking this balance, it provided access into what is very profound in the film. On one level, the film is medical. On another level, the film is very physical. But then we’re also dealing with a film that’s metaphysical. To experience all of them and to have this trajectory from the trivial to the sacred when you’re watching the film, I needed to find the balance that you’re talking about. I think that’s what we’re really striving for in cinema. In life, you have the life you’re living, the life you’re perhaps afraid to live, and the life that you would like to live. I think cinema unites these three different ways of looking at life, which requires that balance between fantasy and reality.

 

You somehow managed to cobble together many of my favorite French-speaking actors into one ensemble, from Anne Dorval to Finnegan Oldfield. What was your approach to casting?

 

I can tell you that nobody came first. I really tried to build a team and think about it as an ensemble—something closer to a symphony. This is my first film where the casting felt like roulette. Prior to this, I had always thought about the person who came before and after in the casting process. I considered the physicality of actors, the emotional boundaries of actors, and also diversity. I wanted a diverse cast to reflect society. So I was interested in pulling actors from different kinds of movies and actors of different origins. I really wanted true personalities to encompass this story.

 

In order to experience the magic of seeing a transplanted heart beat again in a stranger’s body, you need the trivial details as much as the sacred ones.

 

I’m very curious about Gabin Verdet. Did you find him through street casting?

Yes, Gabin is an actual surfer. He had never acted before this film. It was a long casting process to find him and his friends. We saw like 200 surfers. I was always convinced that the person playing Simon would have to be an actual surfer because I wanted to shoot him at sea. It had to be real. Simon had to have the body of a surfer, which is very specific in its own way. [Surfing is] also a state of mind, so I really needed someone who had that special relationship to the sea. When you’re a passionate surfer, you risk your life. Gabin is a really passionate guy. He really wakes up at five in the morning every day to surf. [Laughs] I think you can feel that on his face, in his smile, and everything. I loved that he had a limitless potential. I didn’t have much time to warm this young guy up to the audience, so it had to be really strong while it lasted. And it had to be really lively.

 

There are other technical wonders: How did you film the painstaking open-heart surgery?

 

We spent a long, long time working with real surgeons to make it believable. There are many reasons why I wanted it to look exactly like reality. First of all, the science behind transplants always fascinated me and I wanted to do it justice. The idea of getting all the protocols and requirements correct on film excited me. Also, I’m convinced that the more realistic you are about capturing life on film, the more magical things become. In order to experience the magic of seeing a transplanted heart beat again in a stranger’s body, you need the trivial details as much as the sacred ones. Triviality is totally related to scared life. One doesn’t work without the other.

 

Heal the Living marks your third feature as a director. What are some of the more important things that you’ve picked up over the years about the key to making a very good film?

 

One of the important things that I learned is that, to have a successful film, you really need to start off with an excellent screenplay. You really have to work on the writing so that it’s really good before you start anything else. Also, once you have the solid foundation of a good screenplay and you’re ready to make the film, you have to be open to whatever might happen. You have to be able to deal with the weather, with suggestions that are made from other people… It’s really this line between mastering and controlling the script, and being open to what might happen once you begin shooting. This is extremely important and difficult. [Laughs] Controlling, and then letting it go.

 

Can you recall an early memory where you decided you wanted to become a filmmaker?

 

The earliest image I can recall is watching The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when I was three years old. I remember being fascinated by these two guys playing hooky. They were really unique and left an impression on me. I wasn’t at all programmed in an artistic way. I don’t come from a family of artists. I didn’t know people from the arts. My way of playing hooky became cinema.

 

Heal the Living was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the César Awards in 2017. The film is set to open across UK cinemas on April 28.

 

WORDS—Reto Sterchi 

PHOTOGRAPHY—Ilaria Orsini