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Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl

The Scottish musician talks to Wendy Mitchell about his feature directorial debut.

Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch makes his feature directorial debut with God Help The Girl. It’s been a long time coming, as he says he’s had filmmaking ambitions for a decade.

“My urge was at first to write one; directing was an awkward inevitability I suppose,” he says via email.

The project started life as songs that Murdoch wrote from 2003-2009, recorded in 2008 and 2009 with a number of different female vocalists. “Actually, I started writing dialogue soon after the songs started coming along, so it was a happy yin/yang thing, from music to speech and back again,” he remembers.

He found inspiration in musicals such as Fame and Grease and musical sequences in films such as Godard’s A Woman Is A Woman and Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude.

Emily Browning stars as Eve, a girl who uses songwriting as a crutch to combat her demons and connects with two like-minded musicians (Murray and Olly Alexander).

Murdoch shot the film during a cold, rainy summer in his hometown of Glasgow and he says “I enjoyed the shoot as you would enjoy a fiercesome carnival ride. It was very curvy.”

While he continues his successful music career with Belle & Sebastian, Murdoch does have more film ambitions and says next he’d like to work on “something involving sacred music for choirs, natural philosophy, and a hipster girl who falls in love with a computer.”

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