PLOT...: Shooting Fish” draws together three very different actors:
American Dan Futterman is the fast-talking Dylan, Irish Stuart Townsend
is techno head Jez and Georgie is played by the very English Kate Beckinsale.
“I’m a girl from Chiswick and Stuart’s a Dublin boy and then we’ve got this
New York Jewish American and we could have just hated each other and I don’t
know maybe they do hate me but I don’t think so—we’ve got on really well,”
Beckinsale explains. Overlaying a romantic triangle on the basic premise was
a later development. The original inspiration for director Stefan Schwartz
and his co-writer Richard Holmes came from stories about the notorious Kray brothers.
“Rich had a friend who knew someone whose brother’s sister was a driver for the Krays
and had some neat scam stories,” says Schwartz.
“Shooting Fish” was made on the inevitably tight budget where imagination counts
for more than the power of cash. Shot all over London on dozens of different
locations, the main set is the interior of a gasometer where Dylan and Jez
live rent free away from prying eyes. “I don’t want it to be straight reality,
I don’t want it to be gritty realism. This is about two unemployed people in
London—I don’t want it to be grey housing blocks and deeply depressing.
I want it to be sunny and bright and colourful and energetic,” Schwartz explains.
The other challenge is to keep up the energy with the endless series of scams
that the trio attempt. At one point they sell the same batch of insulation
to every house in a row of terraces. The real bonus in “Shooting Fish”
turns out to be Kate Beckinsale who is better known for her appearances in
period films such as “Much Ado About Nothing” and the television version of “Emma”.
Judging by the success of “The Full Monty” and “The Wedding Singer” to name just
two recent comedies, we have a healthy appetite for films that make us laugh.
“Shooting Fish” doesn’t have their broad appeal but it has a charm of its own
and it is certainly different from the typical contemporary British product.
Stefan Schwartz’s first feature “Soft Top, Hard Shoulder” won awards including
best Scottish film of the year. With “Shooting Fish” he has produced a film big
on heart and as light as a feather.