March, 2009. That’s the first time I started talking with William Monahan about doing an interview for his directorial debut London Boulevard. At the time, he was in prep in London, and we talked about why he wanted to adapt Ken Bruen’s novel and what the experience was like for him. But for many reasons, the interview fell apart, and we decided to continue talking at a later point. Of course later became a few months, and then we started and stopped a few more times. Until last week. That’s because about a week ago, at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, I finally sat down with the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Departed to talk about his directorial debut, which stars Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Anna Friel, Jamie Bower, David Thewlis, Ray Winstone, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, and Ben Chaplin. The film is about a man just released from prison (Farrell) who falls in love with a reclusive young movie star (Knightley) and finds himself in a duel with a vicious gangster (Winstone).
During our extended interview, which lasted close to an hour, we covered everything from the genesis of the project to what it was like in the editing room. Of course we also covered things like his writing process, why it is coming out in the UK before America (it gets released November 26 in the UK), the test screening process, why the British gangster genre is so popular, his other projects like The Gamblers, Becket, what’s up with Tripoli, what got him involved in Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, and so much more.
While I hate to compare interviews against one another, I can honestly say this is one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any filmmaker. Hit the jump to check it out: