Noel Clarke talks about his latest project, the female orientated 18.104.22.168 and explains why girls can kick ass too.
Adulthood director Noel Clarke wrote the screenplay for his latest project, an unconventional heist thriller about four girls who inadvertently become involved in a robbery, after meeting a film executive who accused him of not being able to “write girls.”
“I was so angry that I went home and started writing this. I wanted to show that, number one, I could write girls, and number two, that women didn’t always have to be subordinate characters, that they could kick ass.”
St Trinian’s actress Tamsin Egerton, who was offered a part in the film by Clarke after being “too young” for Adulthood, admits that it is “so refreshing to be offered a part where my character has a real journey, because you don’t get many films where there are strong female characters.”
US actress Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew), Ophelia Lovibond and Shanika Warren-Markland star alongside Egerton in the film, which takes place in both London and New York.
Clarke, who co-directed the film with Mark Davis, says that while there are elements of hisprevious gritty dramas, it is “definitely slicker”.
“I wanted to make something that wasn’t just a British film, but that was a movie with international appeal,” he adds.
Although the budget is around the $2m mark, the film’s producer Damon Bryant, whose previous credits include Flashbacks Of A Fool, says it looks more like a $10m movie, thanks to the fact Pinewood came on board as partners. “I’d like to say it was down to good producing, but the truth is people just want to work with Noel.”
Universal Pictures has pre bought UK rights to 22.214.171.124, with plans for a June release, as well as Australia, Scandinavia, Spain and Italy. Icon Entertainment International is handling international sales and was at the Berlin film festival recently with a 10-minute teaser. “Cannes will be the first market the film will be screened at” says Bryant,“but we thought it made sense to come here and start exciting people.”
Clarke, who started his film career as an actor, says that he moved into writing “out of necessity.” “I kept going up for parts like thug number two and I thought, the opportunities are not there, so it’s up to me to create them. And, that I could write something better,” he admits. Still, he is not ready to give up on acting yet, and will be seen on screen this year in both Neil Marhsall’s Centurion and Ben Miller’s Huge.
In the meantime, it looks like Clarke still has something to prove to the film executive who said he couldn’t write girls. His next writing and directing project is due to be Fast Girls, a Rocky style sports film following a group of London female athletes hoping to compete in the 2012 Olympics, with Adulthood producer Damian Jones.