Kenton Hall

Kenton Hall is a Canadian-born writer, actor, director and musician. A Jack of¬†all trades, and a master of most, we must say. Kenton has appeared in films such as ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ and ‘The Theory Of Everything’, but our focus today is his brainchild – the fantastic comedy for and about children – ‘A Dozen Summers’.¬†

Interview by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Q. They say you should never work with kids, yet you chose to work with a cast full of them for ‘A Dozen Summers’. First of all, are you crazy? And why did you choose to make this casting decision?
A. Well, first of all, I think that, at the heart of this warning not to work with children is the idea that it is somehow, more difficult. To which I can only reply: Yes, it is difficult. It requires an enormous amount of concentration, attention and care from everyone involved to ensure that you foster a creative environment that both caters to a young cast’s needs and gets the best possible version of the film in the can. But that’s as it should be. It’s supposed to be difficult. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. And the rewards – seeing young performers blossom, without the jaded attitude that, sadly, too many older actors seem to develop and, most of all, being reminded that it may be hard work, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun – more than make up for the difficulty. Besides, anyone else would have been too tall.¬†
Q. You gave the lead roles to your daughters, Scarlet and Hero Hall. How did you find the experience of switching between dad and director?
A. One of the best things about writing the script had been talking to them about what I was trying to accomplish with the story, so when they screen-tested and I realised they understood the roles, it was a joy to continue working with them. Again, not without difficulty, but far more joy. I do think it will be interesting to see how different their performances are, when directed by someone else, as they move on to other projects. I suspect even better.
Q. You played the role of the girls’ dad in the film too. How close to the real Kenton Hall is the character of Henry McCormack?
A. I had a long talk with Sarah Warren, who plays Jacqueline, the girls’ mum in the film, during which I basically told her that the character of Jacqueline was actually closer to me than Henry. Wanting to do the right thing, trying their best, but not always sure where to start. She gets there, eventually, and I hope I have too. Henry is who I aspire to me; much more clued up, but still annoying.
Q. Colin Baker offers his vocal chords as the narrator for ‘A Dozen Summers’, how did the collaboration with the former Doctor Who star materialise?
A. I met Colin on another set – a short film by Rhys Davies called ‘Finding Richard’. Completely by coincidence, I was in the middle of casting for ‘A Dozen Summers’¬†and¬†he was top of my list for The Narrator. As it happens, we met and struck up a conversation and I asked if he’d mind looking at a script if I sent it to his people. He agreed and, earning my eternal gratitude, signed up to do the film. Like a lot of legends, I think people forget how good he actually is, what enormous control of his voice he has and how funny he is.¬†I love his audio work for ‘Big Finish’¬†in particular, which fans of ‘Doctor Who’¬†and, basically, fans of great storytelling and performance should seek out and purchase immediately.¬†
Eight years previously, unbeknownst to him, he had also been very kind to Hero, who plays Daisy, and she’d kept a signed picture of the sixth Doctor by her bedside ever since, so it just felt right on every level.
Q. There are plenty of positive messages conveyed throughout the film. How important do you think it is for young viewers to hear and see these things?
A. I think it’s important to present positive messages in a manner that children don’t find patronising. We do that too often – “Hey kids, positive message coming up! Pay attention now! Don’t litter!” – as though they’re only children, they don’t know any better. Children are smart. They are instinctive. They take their own lives very seriously. The mistake we make is assuming that because we don’t have the same priorities as them, that somehow their concerns are of intrinsically lesser value. We need to guide children because they have less experience – that’s the true purpose of all education – to expand internal and external experience. But if we haven’t learned from our own experiences, they’ll cry hypocrite and quite rightly so. So, we tried to make a film that has positive messages about family, friendship and the colossal tapestry of human variance, but one of its most positive messages, I hope, is: “We’re listening.”¬†
Q. What would you like viewers to take from the film?
A. A desire to buy the DVD? Sorry. Didn’t mean to say that out loud. A moth just crawled out of my wallet and I got distracted. First of all, I hope it provides 90 minutes of audiences – adults and children alike – laughing together. That’s not a small thing. I’d be so humbled by that. I know my best memories – as a child and as an adult – are of sharing laughter. I also hope that the children watching feel that someone knows that they’re not just their age going on some other age. They have to live in the moment, they have to be who they are in the moment. It’s a being-of-age movie. And I hope the adults try to remember that when they talk to their children too.¬†That’s what I learned from writing it, and I’m still trying.¬†
Q. Can you tell us anything about your future projects?
A. There are a couple of scripts in the pipeline. My heart is with ‘A Dozen Summers’¬†at the moment, but there are a couple of stories scratching at the door and mewling. Both comedies of varying hues. I shan’t say anymore. This is providing that anyone lets me make another one. There might be a petition against me once this one comes out. Not every film I make will be for younger audiences, but it’s certainly something I’d like to do again when I have another idea that feels as important to me.¬†¬†
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you can offer aspiring filmmakers?
A. Never assume that you deserve success because you worked out which end of the camera to point at the actors. It’s the audience that deserves something – your best. Your best story, your best shot, your best performances. And also, some part of you in the story. Otherwise, there’s no connection and that’s neglecting the true magic of cinema. Wow, that got pretentious fast, my bad!

The delightful ‘A Dozen Summers’ is released in selected cinemas in the UK on 21st August 2015, so find it and watch it! You can read our review of this film here. Hunt down Kenton Hall on Twitter @KentonHall and whilst you’re at it, keep up with the film @ADozenSummers


Eddie Redmayne Set For Harry Potter Spin-Off

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is set to follow up his fantastic performance in ‘The Theory Of Everything’, by signing up to star in a spin-off from the ‘Harry Potter’ series, titled ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’.¬†

Author of the Harry Potter stories, J.K Rowling, will write the screenplay for the film, which she promises will be “at least” a trilogy. Redmayne is the favourite to play the role of Newt Scamander, in what could be a lucrative deal should he fulfill the role for the prospective series. Although nothing has been confirmed, and no official offer has been made, according to sources the role belongs to Redmayne barring any disaster.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Star Wars Updates

Star Wars fans must be feeling really wookie, I mean lucky, right now, after StarWars.Com released information regarding¬†TWO upcoming projects. In addition to ‘The Force Awakens’, due for release later this year, fans can now expect Star Wars instalments in 2016 and 2017.

Gareth Edwards will helm the first spinoff feature, scheduled for release on December 16th 2016. Starring ‘The Theory Of Everything’ leading lady, Felicity Jones, the project now has a name too; ‘Rogue One’. Star Wars officials labelled ‘Rogue One’ as “the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core” of the original saga.

You may still be bursting with excitement at the prospect of ‘The Force Awakens’, but compose yourself and get your diary out. Because the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII already has its own sequel in the pipeline. Scheduled to arrive in theatres May 26th 2017, Episode VIII will be written and directed by Rian Johnson, the man who brought us ‘Looper’.

A galaxy far, far, away just got a lot closer.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Star Wars Spinoff Eyes Felicity Jones & Aaron Paul

The Gareth Edwards helmed ‘Star Wars’ spinoff movie due for release December 2016, has its sights set on a couple of big names to lead the cast. Felicity Jones is certainly on a roll, after the big success of ‘The Theory Of Everything’. Not only has she been cast alongside Tom Hanks in the next instalment of the ‘Da Vinci Code’ series for ‘Inferno’, but she has now been touted for the lead female role in the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ spinoff.¬†Jones is just about confirmed for the role, whilst rumours suggest ‘Breaking Bad’ star, Aaron Paul, may be in line for a part as the lead male. Read more here.

Oscars 2015 Close-Up: The Theory Of Everything

And so concludes our 8-part featurette, the Oscars 2015 close-ups. The big night is this Sunday and personally, I am extremely excited for what is set to be an intensely tight race for numerous awards, none more so than the Best Picture category. Just about every one of the eight films nominated for the award have been touted as the ‘hot favourite’ at some point, and rightly so, with such a superb range of films this year. Last but not least for our little focus, is ‘The Theory Of Everything’, the dramatic-biopic based on the memoirs of Jane Hawking, the ex-wife of British¬†physicist Stephen Hawking. I had the pleasure of watching this film just¬†a couple of nights ago¬†and will be reviewing ‘The Theory Of Everything’ later in the week. For now, click here to read more about the film.

BAFTA Awards: The Winners

Tonight marked the 68th annual British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA). ‘The Theory Of Everything’ took home two of the big awards, winning in the Outstanding British Film category, and star Eddie Redmayne named Best Actor. Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ stole the show however, winning Best Film and Best Director amongst others. Click here to see the full list of nominations and winners.


The Academy Awards 2015: Nominations

The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The nominations for this years Academy Awards were released earlier today, with ‘Birdman’ and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ leading the way with nine nominations apiece. J.J. Abrams, Alfonso Cuaron and Chris Pine announced the nominees for the 87th Annual Academy Awards, which will take place on the 22nd February. With just 38 days to go until the big night, discussion can now truly begin as to who the winners and losers will be at this years Oscars. To read more and see the full list of nominations click here.

Golden Globes 2015

The Oscars 2015 are fast approaching, so what better way to prepare and start the guessing games than with the Golden Globe awards. The big winners were ‘The Theory of Everything’, with star Eddie Redmayne scooping the Best Lead Male award, whilst Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ won three awards including Best Drama and Best Director. The full list of nominees and winners can be found here.