Johnny Vegas leaves dark_net filmmakers in stitches


Tom Marshall, writer and director, and Adam Woodhall, producer, talk to the Beeston Film Festival about their black comedy, dark_net, starring Johnny Vegas. 

What are your ambitions for dark_net?

Adam – The ambition is for as many people to see and enjoy (or hate) the film as possible. It’s been well received so far so we hope it continues to find an audience. Ultimately we’d love it to lead to something bigger.

Tom – I direct TV, which is great but it’s rare I get to do something that feels really big or cinematic, so I made dark_net to play on the big screen. It wasn’t made for much, so the ambition is that it will hopefully demonstrate what might be capable on a little more money…and I’d love a couple of BAFTAs obviously.

What was the greatest challenge in making this film?

Adam – I think the biggest challenge was trying to put something on screen that looked ambitious, had real flare and would make people sit up and take notice…and do that with with little in the way of budget.  It’s the same challenge most people making shorts have and it’s a challenge I think people are taking on with some great results. Thankfully we had an amazing and hard working cast and crew who were willing to come along for the ride. Big thanks to them.

Tom – The dog! Oh that bloody dog!!! It did have it’s moments. In the end I think she turned in a great performance (is there an animal Oscars?)…but she was a bit of a diva about it. Fun game for you – watch the film and try and spot the shot where we have had to composite the dog in because she kept running away.

12355054_10153774220518454_1670361981_nSo far Dark_Net was screened in Raindance, Frightfest and Milwaukee, what would mean to you to be part of the Beeston Film Festival?

Adam – We’ve not yet had the chance to screen dark_net in the Midlands and I couldn’t think of a better place to do that than Beeston Film Festival.

Tom – I’ve made shorts that have never really seen the light of day, so it’s great that dark_net has managed to play in front of quite a few audiences and be so well received. As it’s a comedy, you really get to hear how an audience responds to the film. What gets a laugh and what doesn’t. In terms of your development as a filmmaker it’s the best lesson you can get.

It would be great for dark_net to play at Beeston as it would be our Midlands premier and I would be desperate to see how it goes down in Shane Meadows country.

How did you get Johnny Vegas on board and what was he like to work with?

Adam – We had an opportunity to put the script in Johnny’s hand and ask the question and fortunately he said yes. Johnny is a fantastic actor and a great comedian and he responded to the script with such enthusiasm and was an absolute pleasure to work with. His performance has us in stitches every time.

Tom – He’s the nicest, funniest and most down to earth ‘celebrity’ I have ever met. His turn as Alan in dark_net is my favourite performance from those I’ve directed to date. I’m currently spending a lot of my time trying to dream up new Johnny Vegas based film ideas!

What next?

Adam – Make another! The aim is to continue working with exciting up and coming filmmaking talent to develop a slate of ambitious short and feature projects through my production company, Duke Out Films ( / Twitter: @dukeoutfilms).

Tom – Developing and writing quite a few feature film ideas, some with a direct link to dark_net