WITH its trench-coated hero, mysterious femme fatale and twisty plot, independent British thriller Emulsion seems to be making a nod to the classic film noirs of the past.
However, it also boasts a likely star of the future in Sam Heughan, soon to be seen as one of the leads in multi-million dollar US television series Outlander, which is being tipped to be the international success for Scotland that Game of Thrones has been for Northern Ireland.
Both Dumfriesshire-born Heughan, who plays a man obsessed with discovering the truth about his wife’s disappearance, and director Suki Singh will attend the film’s Scottish premiere at Eden Court theatre in Inverness, where they will answer questions from the audience after the screening.
First, though, we have some questions of our own for the Scottish actor and first time director.
Sam Heughan (Ronny)
Your character in Emulsion, Ronny, seems a rather damaged and ambiguous figure. What attracted you to the role?
When I first read the script by Suki, I was impressed and intrigued by the characters. It had a ambiguous and dark, brooding feel to it. The character of Ronny is damaged and trapped. His yearning for/reliving past relationships really moved me. I also watched Suki’s previous work and loved his adverts, in particular Blow Up (for clothing company Diesel). It felt stylish and slightly twisted. Perfect for our modern noir.
White Lantern, the producing company were enthusiastic and motivated and I jumped at the chance to work in Bournemouth.
You’re doing a Q & at Eden Court. Is this something you are particularly looking forward to?
I’m delighted to be able to attend and excited for those attending to meet Suki. He wrote, produced and directed the movie with style and sensitivity. He’s a huge talent. It’s a fun film with a twist at the end, I hope the audience enjoy it.
Of course, the Highlands play a big part in Outlander. Have you been doing a lot of research into the area and its history for your role as Jamie?
Outlander is based on Diana Gabaldon’s series of books set in 1700’s Scotland. It’s a really fascinating period with the Jacobite rebellion and the lead up to Culloden, which signalled the end of the clan culture and Highland way of life. The producers have insisted on authenticity and it’s as accurate as possible. The costumes, props, etc, have all been researched and we are passionate to bring a Scottish way of life to screen.
There has been much talk of Jamie’s taste in clothing. Are you comfortable in a kilt now you seem to be the standard-bearer for all us kilt-wearing Scots?
I spend much of the series in a kilt. It’s been a joy to discover the various ways you can use the feileidh mhor (great kilt). It can be camouflage, a sleeping bag etc and worn in various ways which makes it a multi purpose piece of equipment. It adds a lot to the character and the way he moves, much like the very particular costume in Emulsion.
Suki Singh, writer and director
There seems to be a deliberate nod to the classic film noirs of the ‘40s and ‘50s in Emulsion. What are the influences that have fed into the film?
The influences have been poring in during the writing process. Each element is a clue to the serve the story, so the audience can take each element as a part of the puzzle that serves the twists and turn at the end of the film.
The classic noir feel and the clothes are all part of the mystery as a man, Ronny Maze, turns up in ’50’s clothes and driving an retro car in modern times, claiming his wife is missing; all adding to the intrigue before the main story even unfolds. David Lynch was the main influence on tone, the dark underbelly of the world that is Emulsion.
A recent audience member described it as Casablanca meets Lynch.
Making an independent film cannot have been easy. What have been the biggest challenges and frustrations of the production?
The main challenge with making any independent film is finance, so post production becomes a real labour of love. I always wanted talented people to work on the film, so you have to wait for them to free in between their paid work, so it can take time.
Emulsion looks really great and my producers used what little we have really well. Also, once the film is complete, the next thing is marketing and finding the money for that!
What can you tell us about your next film project?
I’ve just directed a interactive action film to be released online called Olive Green, a first of it’s kind as it has 60 alternative interactive games in the film that the viewer can play and change the course of the story. So a new way in film making, but hard work.
In 2014, I’ll be trying raise finance for a supernatural thriller called Reflex, based around photography and ghosts, and I’ll be making a experimental black and white film in my home town, which I’m writing at the moment.
• Emulsion is at Eden Court cinema, Inverness, from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th January.
Star Sam Heughan and director Suki Singh will attend Friday's screening for a post-film Q & A.