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LAFF Interview: CC2K speaks to director David Raymond about his film ‘Nomis’

Written by: Fiona Underhill, CC2K Staff Writer

After eight days of screenings, panels, galas and other events all over Los Angeles, the world premiere of Nomis was chosen as the Closing Night Gala of the LA Film Festival and CC2K were there to speak to the director and some of the stars before the screening at the historic Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Stars Sir Ben Kinglsey, Alexandra Daddario and Nathan Fillion were in attendance and took part in a Q&A after the film.

Debut British writer-director David Raymond assembles an all-star cast to bring audiences a new thriller set in the police force of icy Minnesota. A weathered lieutenant (Henry Cavill) and his crew (including Stanley Tucci, Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion and Mpho Koaho), along with two local vigilantes (Sir Ben Kingsley and Eliana Jones) are caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man (Brendan Fletcher) linked to years of female abductions and murders.

Actor – Mpho Koaho

Can you tell us a bit about the film and your character?

We’re hunting a serial killer and we think we found [him] but we really didn’t. They bring me in [where] I work in the cyber-division of the police department. They need help cracking open some computers and seeing what’s in them, with my expertise. So I help when I can, but then become far more involved than I ever expected to be.

What was it like to work with legends such as Sir Ben Kingsley?

I didn’t actually have a scene with Ben, but he watched us filming one day and came over and put his hand on my shoulder. I turned around and looked up and I think I squealed like a 6-year-old boy that maybe hit his knee on the door. David and everybody had a good laugh at my expense. I told my mother every day. I would never have expected to be around him on set and he was so wonderful and complimentary of the work we did, all while being this amazingly cool, stoic, friendly icon. I learned so much from him, just in how he carries himself and I was able to watch him work so I was taking notes. It is truly an honor.

Actor – Eliana Jones

Can you tell us a bit about the film and your role in it?

I play Lara [who] works very closely with Sir Ben Kingsley. We have a very interesting relationship where we’re catching these predators online, and at some point it goes awry and you see our whole relationship unravel. You see how close we really are and it’s very interesting to see us work together. It’s a weird dynamic.

And what was it like to work with such a legend as Sir Ben?

Oh, it’s unreal. I keep telling everyone it’s like a dream. Every time I walked in I was so intimidated because it was Sir Ben Kingsley; I wasn’t even worthy. When I walked in, he was just such a ray of sunshine to work with. It was very exciting.

Writer-Director David Raymond

Can you tell us about the inspiration for the script?

We’re living in a time…where the amazing thing about social media is the connectivity around the world. You can talk to anybody, really anywhere on the planet these days, which is amazing and it’s brought a lot of people together. But I think there is an inherent risk in that, when you then take into account things like Instagram and how people choose to portray themselves. It opens the door to people portraying themselves in a way that isn’t genuine, and this is something that could cause harm to others. When you take that…what the script really explores, in particular Sir Ben’s character, [is] the psychology of offenders and how you treat offenders, so that when you lock them up, ten years later, they don’t go and do the same thing. When you pair those two things as a foundation for the film, that our characters are living and breathing in, it makes it relevant and topical without dwelling on it, so that when the story eventually takes off, it’s in something real that we can relate to today.

And what was the decision behind the casting, particularly Henry [Cavill]?

To be honest a lot of it was: “who is top of your list?” You never think you’re going to get it! Sir Ben was the first one to sign on. I actually wrote Sir Ben’s part for him. When you write you always have someone in mind. Never in a million years did I think he would say yes. And then when Henry’s name up…I’m an enormous Superman fan, I think he’s brilliant in that role, he’s a brilliant actor. He really is one of these guys you’re going to see around for another thirty-odd years. When his name came up I was initially like “yeah, right, it’s never gonna happen, it’s a waste of time.” He read the script and wanted to meet and we got on great. He’s a very intelligent [actor], for someone like me, on my first film – he’s someone who is aware of the film as a whole, not just his own character and is very collaborative and intelligent in his ideas and notes. For me, it’s a dream come true. That’s the goal – whether it’s my first film, or my twentieth film – you want people around you who are trying to make the best film possible.