Believe, bruv. Riding a massive wave of hype since its world premiere at SXSW in March, Joe Cornish's debut "Attack the Block" has been championed by the geek set and with good reason. Compact, surprisingly complex and just flat out entertaining, the film offers a great twist on the alien invasion movie, placing the action in a council estate in south London and pitting a group of young teens against the vicious invading creatures who are black as night and sport an impressive array of glow in the dark teeth. Mixing newcomers with more established actors like Nick Frost, Luke Treadaway and Jodie Whittaker, the film moves with a street authenticity mixed with genre elements working at the top their game. With the film set to be released next week, the cast and filmmakers descended upon San Diego to talk up the film.
One of the film's breakout performances belongs to John Boyega, making his acting debut. As Moses, the leader of the group of young toughs, he commands the screen with a dominating presence that isn't spoken in words, but written on this face, and he credits a certain classic HBO series as inspiration. "I watched season four of 'The Wire.' They have subtle performances that they do through their eyes," Boyega said. "You could watch season four with the audio off and still understand what's happening through their eyes."
Keeping with the gritty influences of the film, Cornish quipped, "We like to call it 'Super 8 Mile.' "
"My template is always 'An American Werewolf In London,' " Cornish also said about this approach. "It takes itself seriously, and then it gets all fucked up, and that's why it's funny." And certainly, the fingerprint of the John Landis classic can be felt on "Attack the Block" which delivers as many hearty laughs as it does genuine thrillers. However, unlike "Super 8" or the upcoming "Cowboys & Aliens," Cornish was less concerned about keeping secret the look of his creatures -- which are revealed in the first few minutes -- than about getting them right.
"I grew up in London, and I love '80s creature features. I love 'Critters'...I'd never seen a movie like that set where I live," Cornish said. "I wanted to go back to practical creature effects. I wanted them in the room with our actors, I wanted them to jump on John's back...it occurred to me that rotoscoping with live-action might have worked better than CGI with live-action."
Also attending the confab for the project was Edgar Wright, one of the producers on the film. Of course, a question couldn't go by without some asking about the long awaited "The World's End," the third installment in The Cornetto Trilogy. And while this past spring co-writer and star in the series Simon Pegg was elusive about when it could happen, Wright has marked down some time on his calendar. "Me and Simon Pegg are going to start writing next month, that's it, there's your status," Wright said. And while we're on Cornetto Trilogy friends, what about that pesky rumor that Nick Frost will turn up as Harvey Mudd in "Star Trek" sequel? "I'm going to break a world exclusive right now," Wright said quashing fans' curiosity. " have no idea."
Ok, well what about "Ant-Man," the Marvel project Wright has been long attached to? In March, he revealed that he and Cornish were going to work on nailing down a new draft and, lo and behold, they have. "Me and Joe, we just handed in a draft on Monday, in the time [since] we started writing on it, we worked on three films," he said explaining the long delay. "We just turned it in on Monday, and we've done some concept work, we're really excited about it."
So could "Ant-Man" get closer to suiting up on the big screen? Marvel is sure to attend D23 next month and we'll likely know more then.