Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' BBC's 100 Greatest American Films List Includes 'The Dark Knight,' 'Heaven's Gate,' 'Chinatown,' 'Tree Of Life,' And More BBC's 100 Greatest American Films List Includes 'The Dark Knight,' 'Heaven's Gate,' 'Chinatown,' 'Tree Of Life,' And More Ava DuVernay Says She Turned Down 'Black Panther' Because There Might've Been Too Much Compromise Ava DuVernay Says She Turned Down 'Black Panther' Because There Might've Been Too Much Compromise The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

'Sightseers' Stars Alice Lowe & Steve Oram Talk Murders, The State Of British Comedy Film, And Causing An Outrage

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 29, 2012 at 10:01AM

It might not have been a banner year for comedy movies so far, but there's one shining light arriving this week (for U.K. audiences at least -- American crowds are going to have to wait another few months), in the shape of "Sightseers," the third feature from "Down Terrace" and "Kill List" director Ben Wheatley. Blending the outstanding visuals and unsettling sound of the director's earlier films with a unique pitch-black sensibility, it also sees the arrival of two fully-formed comic talents on the world scene, in the shape of the film's stars and writers, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.
0
Sightseers

It might not have been a banner year for comedy movies so far, but there's one shining light arriving this week (for U.K. audiences at least -- American crowds are going to have to wait another few months), in the shape of "Sightseers," the third feature from "Down Terrace" and "Kill List" director Ben Wheatley. Blending the outstanding visuals and unsettling sound of the director's earlier films with a unique pitch-black sensibility, it also sees the arrival of two fully-formed comic talents on the world scene, in the shape of the film's stars and writers, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.

Both have been familiar to fans of British comedy for a while -- Lowe, with Richard Ayoade, Matthew Holness and Matt Berry, was one of the members of cult comedy "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace," along with extensive other credits, while Oram's been a favorite on the live scene for some time -- without quite being household names. But since "Sightseers" premiered at Cannes back in May to rave reviews (including ours), it looks like, happily, they're going to be major presences in cinematic comedy for some time to come.

Based on a script by the pair (with additional material from Wheatley's partner Amy Jump), the film sees Lowe play Tina, a woman from the Midlands still living at home with her mother (Eileen Davies), and mourning the death of her beloved dog. Her new boyfriend Chris (Oram) takes her away on a caravanning holiday, which nearly unravels after a horrific accident. But the pair soon discover a taste for death, which they start to unleash on all the petty annoyances they come across.

Sightseers

Having talked with Wheatley about the film at TIFF back in September, we were lucky enough to have a chat with Lowe and Oram at the BFI London Film Festival last month, the night after the film's premiere, to dig into the genesis and evolution of "Sightseers." In the film, it's revealed that Chris and Tina met at a capoeira class, but as it turns out, the first encounter between Lowe and Oram was rather more prosaic; at the Edinburgh festival, the month-long marathon of comedy that the world stand-up and sketch industry revolves around.

And it wasn't long before the two crossed paths again, with Oram explaining "We probably started working together at Ealing Live, which was a now defunct sketch and character night at Ealing Studios, about seven or eight years ago." Lowe adds, "It was people like [TV comedy actress] Katy Brand, ['Bunny and the Bull' star] Simon Farnaby, [sitcom megastar] Miranda Hart, Steve's double act partner Tom Meeten, lots of people who are now working on TV. They were trying to make it like 'Saturday Night Live,' they said we're not going to pay you, but we'll supply you with rehearsal space, and a director, which was a great thing, really. So we started working together as a group, and bonded, and found lots of creative ideas, it was a creative time."

But it sounds like the material was of a similarly dark nature to "Sightseers." "We were the weirdos," Lowe said, with a laugh. "One of our sketches, in Edinburgh, someone shouted from the audience 'This is an outrage!'" Oram elaborates: "That was me wheeling her around, she was sort of semi-dead woman, and I was a medical orderly, wheeling her around stage. Doing a sort of sexy dance. And accidentally, she fell out of the chair, and someone found it really offensive. I think we were playing to the wrong audience... That was the last time we did it."

It was around this time that the seeds for what would become Chris and Tina first emerged. "It came from us, really, from our Midlands background and shared experiences of holidays. The funny concept of the Brummie geek going on holiday and killing people, that was the first idea, and we followed it through to the bitter end," Oram said. From there, they started workshopping the characters on the live comedy circuit occasionally, and quite soon, the TV world started sniffing around. "We had quite a lot of people expressing interest," Lowe said, "saying I think there's some depth to this, you can take it further. So we developed it as a TV idea, and did a little taster, and made the decision to make a short film. We could have done a rubbish trailer, like you do, but we wanted to make something that stands alone, and I'm really glad we did that, because all the TV channels rejected it, they said it's too dark, we don't want dark at the moment."

This article is related to: Interviews, Sightseers, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe, Ben Wheatley


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates