‘Rachael’ dir. Rankin

‘Rachael’ is a humorous, cinematic snapshot observing the early morning routine of a post-war British family.

Country: UK
Director: Rankin
Writer: Irvine Welsh
Producer(s): David Allain and Jess Gormley
DOP: Tat Radcliffe
Key Cast: Holliday Granger, Maxine Peake, Shaun Dooley, Suki Alice Waterhouse

C8: What initially drew you towards this project? 

R: I was in LA on a job. Riddled with jet lag and bored watching TV late one night and suddenly it occurred to me that it would be really tough to do a very short film that was successful and had drama that was under three minutes. When things like this jump into my head I generally just jump in. In this instance I thought who is great at creating a scene really fast that I know and may have something. Irvine was my first thought. So I emailed him and got the Rachael script back the next morning

C8: How did you work with the actors to achieve the family dynamic?

R: Honestly I didn’t really have to. I’ve found that if you cast the right actors from the start they’ll do the job for you. If the script is good and the characters are accurate – which is all you’re going to get with Irvine then you just set the scene and let the professionals do the work. The actors we used were our first choices and are at the top of their game.

C8: What were the biggest challenges during production?

R: It was an actual location, but I think that helped. Weirdly it was just the bathroom. In our location it was just too small and not like a period loo – so we shot that separate in the studio in a fantastic set build.

C8: The visual style of ‘Rachael’ is very simple but extremely engaging. Is this a product of your work as a photographer?

R: Not really, More like me watching millions of films and knowing to trust the team that you work with.

C8: How did making a narrative short film compare to the work you had done in previous years - advertising, fashion films and music promos?

R: The discipline’s are so so different. I enjoy all aspects of film making but drama is what
I love narrative. I’ve now shot three shorts, one TV pilot (which obviously didn’t get made) and a feature film. I learn so much from working on these and I always feel that my time will come as a director to just do drama. But it’s not quite yet. I still need to learn more. I shot my first feature too early and now I want to craft my skills before I try it again.

C8: Are there any filmmakers or films that inspired your work on ‘Rachael’?

R: Not really. I’ve probably been influenced by lots but there was no one influence on this.

C8: What is the essence of a good collaboration?

R: Listening to everybody on the team.

C8: If you could give aspiring filmmakers any piece of advice what would it be?

R: Listen to your gut, not to old farts like me!