Oi Polloi

Interview: Daniel Wolfe on ‘Catch Me Daddy'

Published: Mon Mar 02 2015

Catch Me Daddy is a film set in West Yorkshire directed by Daniel and Matthew Wolfe. It’s funny, it’s violent and it will most definitely leave a lasting impression on you. I asked Daniel a few questions about the making of the film, and like all good interviewees, he answered back…

First things first, what've you been up to today?

Just did a radio piece on the film with Jason Solomons on the Robert Elms show which was nerve wracking because I've always been a fan.

For those who haven't seen the film (or don't know how to use Google), can you explain what the film is about?

It’s a contemporary western. A young British Pakistani girl and her drifter boyfriend are holed up in a caravan, on the run from her family, spending their evenings getting high on codeine and weed. A group of hired thugs find out where they’re hiding and come after them...

Where did the idea for the story come from?

We’d heard stories of couples living on the run, moving from town to town. Weirdly I remember coming into Oi Polloi and chatting with Nigel about the idea. He mentioned a girl who he knew from the Hacienda back in the early 90’s who was on the run from her family. We’d read of instances of hired white thugs, ‘bounty hunters’ looking for them. We love the landscape of Yorkshire. These ideas fused to create a Western.

Where does the name come from?

It comes from a Janis Joplin track that really captures the energy and feel of Laila, the protagonist.

The towns and hills of Yorkshire have a strong history of what I suppose might be called ‘social realism’ films. Off the top of my head there’s Kes, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, the films of Clio Barnard and now your film. What is it about this area you think that makes it such a good setting for this sort of film?

For us Yorkshire offered cinematic landscapes, scale you don’t always see in British cinema. We love Kes and Rita, Sue and Bob Too is great. We wanted to make something set over one night, that explored the landscape by dark.

Our gran’s from Oldham and we start the film there – with the brother. Then we follow the searchers as they cross into Yorkshire. The War of the Roses.

There can sometimes be a trend in ‘realist films’ to be almost too gritty to the point of being unrealistic. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but do you think humour is important to keep a nice balance, light and shade and all of that?

Life is full of humour. Even in shit situations there’s an absurdity or a comical view point. It needs that balance, and then when the violence comes it’s more surprising, and real. A lot of the comedy came from the cast — improvised lines they threw in. Adam Rayner in the milkshake bar scene was brilliant, and had great comic timing. We wanted to capture joyous moments amidst the chaos.

When we found out Anwar, who plays Junaid, had a parrot, and had pictures of him mashed with the parrot on his shoulder, we incorporated these. Moments of lightness.

A decent portion of the cast weren't trained as actors. How did you find the actors, and how do you think this affects the film?

Extensive street casting. We had a great team looking everywhere — snooker halls, gyms, pubs — literally on the street. It took eight months, but we got a great cast.

There’s no preconceptions for an audience with street cast actors. We love working with street cast and professionals, and the mix works great. Our cast brought an authenticity; but also a heightened feeling. Something I find hard to explain.

I often think I’d like to make a film. How does someone go about making one? How long has it taken to make? Is it frustrating how long the process is?

It takes far, far too long… we had the idea which we pitched to our producer, then we wrote a script, then we had to get people excited. It was good timing because we’d just done some videos that had drawn good attention – Chase and Status ‘Blind Faith’ which was a recreation of a 90's rave, and The Shoes ‘Time To Dance’ where Jake Gyllenhaal kills hipsters in Dalston. These helped with finance because we were on the radar. Then we went into months of casting, location scouting, a five week shoot and months of editing… it can be frustrating at times.

Short form has a quicker buzz, but ultimately a feature is worth the time.

I can’t imagine making a film is the easiest of tasks. Did you come across many difficulties whilst making the film?

Endless — too many to bore you with. Being passively stoned in the boot of a car for nights on end directing from a handheld monitor was trying. The club scene was hard to pull off – staging a fight in an open night club in Halifax was tough.

You made Catch Me Daddy with your brother. How does this work? Do you fight and squabble much or are you a highly professional film-making team?

We got over fighting in our teens and now we get on so it’s good. We just discuss stuff endlessly and drive my wife and my brother's partner mad.

You’ve just made a film so you must like watching them too. If you were trapped in a space shuttle orbiting the moon with only a small portable Sanyo TV with a built in VHS player for entertainment, what videos would you bring along?

Once Upon A Time In America, Sonatine, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Art Pepper: Notes from a Jazz Survivor, Li'l Quinquin.

What next for the Wolfe brothers? Have you got another film in the pipeline?

A thriller set in China about snooker.

Seeing as we’re a clothes shop I suppose I might as well throw in a clothing-based query — in a dystopian future where you’re only allowed to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would you wear?

My brother only wears one outfit anyway, a 90’s champion hoody and jeans. I’d wear an oxford shirt, chinos and desert boots.

Right, I think that’s all I've got. Have you got any wise words and life lessons you’d like to pass on?

To quote Francis Bacon, “I believe in deeply ordered chaos.”

Catch Me Daddy is playing in cinemas like the Cornerhouse right now. Photographs courtesy of Alex Hulsey.