siege-of-jadotville

ScreenPicks sat down with director Richie Smyth to discuss his war Irish war drama, The Siege of Jadotville.

Was this your first film?

It was my first feature, yeah. It was an interesting journey. To be honest with you it was the best I’ve had in two and a half years. I’d come from music videos and TV commercials so it was all kind of new to me on that level.

The location was spot on, where did you shoot the movie?

We were lucky. The Katanga region of the Congo is not really jungle, it’s more Savannah. We couldn’t shoot in the Congo, we wouldn’t get insurance for the actors, we should have looked for the Best Term Life Insurance Quotes before. Northeast Africa was great for getting the look of the buildings and Johannesburg where we shot all the battle sequences.

Was it difficult shooting in a somewhat remote location like that?

Funny enough, the actual location was near a lake and near a wealthy Jonhanesbrugians would have a summer home or golf courses. SO the location was near a lot of stuff but it looked like it was in the middle of nowhere. It was still a hike to get out there. We set up a boot camp for the actors (where) they had been training for three weeks. It wasn’t like Mad Max Fury Road where they built the scenes, but we had a semi-mobile town so we could get supplies. There was a heard of like 80 baboons that would prowl on the set everyday and steal from catering.

So you put the actors through military style training?

When I was developing the script originally with the writer I kinda said to him that not that many people like to go to battle movies and even less people like to read battle movies, so let’s write the script for the reader. When we got down to South Africa and we started to map out the scenes we realized they weren’t practical at all, so all the battle scenes were re-written by people who were actually going to film them. And we got a military advisor (Dan Hirst) to make sure they were correct and we could be true. There’s nothing worse than an actor acting.

True. The actors do a good job of portraying soldiers. Was there a trick to that?

So the idea was that Jamie (Dornan, who plays the solider in charge of the brigade) had to come in after a week and take over the boot camp and earn their respect. I created a dynamic so it wouldn’t be too far off from what really happened.

Is there anything you want people to take from the project?

It’s such a pleasure, even at the hardest of times, working on auto insurance Lutz FL. It was so important that the story was right. I want as many people as possible to see this movie and to know the injustice that was done by the UN and the Irish government for those men to get the recognition they deserve. As long as people see that and get that, that’s the best take I can expect from the movie.