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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview With Actor Dougray Scott for LONDON TOWN (2016) @ 69th Cannes Film Festival


Actor Dougray Scott (TAKEN 3, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2) attended the 69th Cannes Film Festival to promote the market premiere of his latest film LONDON TOWN (2016), which Radiant Films International/Cargo Entertainment is handling for international sales.

LONDON TOWN takes place in1970s London when British punk rock dominated the music scene and The Clash was at the height of their success. A 14-year-old boy discovers the music of the iconic band and experiences first love over the course of one life-changing summer.

The rock-n-roll feature film stars Daniel Huttlestone, Dougray Scott, Natascha McElhone, Nell Williams, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Joe Strummer. LONDON TOWN is directed by Derrick Borte from a script written by Matthew Brown (THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY), and features music from The Clash. The film is produced by Sofia Sondervan (THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY) of Dutch Tilt Film, Christine Vachon (CAROL) of Killer Films and Tom Butterfield (WELCOME TO ME) of Culmination Productions.


I interviewed Dougray Scott at the Majestic Beach in Cannes. Here is what he had to say:

Can you tell us about your film LONDON TOWN, which is having it's market premiere here in Cannes?

DOUGRAY: LONDON TOWN is set in the late 70's about 14 year-old boy Shay Baker (played by Daniel Huttlestone) who lives with his single father Nick Baker (Dougray Scott). Shay's dad used to be a rock musician with dreams to become a rock star but gave it all up to take care of his boy after his wife Sandrine (Natascha McElhone) left to live in a hippie commune. Nick is bringing up his boy on his own trying to make ends meet. He has a music shop where he sells and repairs pianos and he also drives a taxi. Shay is discovering the music scene and gets into The Clash but Nick, being a hippie, doesn't come from that era so they come to blows about Shay's choice in music. One day Nick has an accident ending up in hospital so Shay is left to take over the reins. Not wanting the social services to take him away, Shay tries to find ways to help his dad. He starts to drive Nick's taxi dressed as a woman. He meets Joe Strummer (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in the taxi, who befriends him, and they become friends. Shay changes the whole theme of Nick's rock shop selling modern day guitars and instruments to modernize that world and Joe ends up playing a concert in the shop. LONDON TOWN is a film about a boy coming of age, a journey of discovery, his love and obsession with The Clash and the relationship between him and his father. It's also about a father's desire to look after his son and how painful it is when those positions have to be reversed when Shay has to look after him and the tragedy that comes from that. It's a really sweet and simple story.

How was it working with the other cast?

DOUGRAY: Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Joe Strummer brilliantly. Everyone was just terrific.

How did you begin your career as an actor?

DOUGRAY: I went to drama college. Where I came from it was very different because people said, “You can't be an actor. You can't do that.” But I really wanted to be an actor. I did a foundation course then drama college. When I left there I got a job in theater, was unemployed for a lot, then theater again, then unemployed again. I started doing a little bit of TV then the movies. That's how it happened. I have a love of acting and a love of writing too. I discovered Arthur Miller when I was 14 when I read 'Death of a Salesman' and I just fell in love with it because my father was a salesman. Then I got to play Arthur Miller in the film MY WEEK WITH MARILYN with Michelle Williams. It was weird to play Arthur Miller when it was he that inspired me to become an actor.

So you went from acting school to the big time really?

DOUGRAY: It's not as easy as that. I struggled for quite a few years. The only thing I ever wanted to do was have the ability to act on stage. I love stage work. I haven't done it for years but I'd love to go back and do a play. I just kept on being passionate and committed to what I was doing without trying to think ahead or behind me. Living in the here and now is a great philosophy for life because whatever you're doing a career finishes the day you die so all you can do is think about what you are doing at this moment in time. You just never know what's going to happen. All you can do is connect entirely to what it is you're passionate about. The one thing I'll say about me, regardless of the objective point of view, is that I'm still incredibly passionate about acting and I feel very fortunate.

Do you write as well?

DOUGRAY: No. But I pay attention to why writers are great. I understand why great movies are TV are good and it's because of the writing. When you see on the page the construction of characters, scenes, story arcs, and the surprises as well; great writers always leave nuggets of gold in the script, which you see not necessarily when you're reading it but when you're acting it.

Is there a film in your career you feel most proud of?

DOUGRAY: ENIGMA with Kate Winslet. It was the same subject as IMITATION GAME but an adaptation of the novel by Robert Harris. I also loved RIPLEY'S GAME with Malkovich and also loved LAST PASSENGER about a father and son.

You're in Cannes to promote LONDON TOWN. How do you feel being here?

DOUGRAY: I love Cannes! As soon as you get off the plane there's the smell of Cannes. It's not just the seaside but there's a particular South of France smell, which I love. It's great to be here.


Scene from LONDON TOWN (2016)

Actor Dougray Scott in Cannes for LONDON TOWN (2016)


Interview by Vanessa McMahon @ 69th Cannes Film Festival

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