Barry Norman: Tim Roth's The War Zone starring Ray Winstone and showing out of competition, deals vividly and movingly with incest. The war zone here, is the family itself.
BN: Tim, why am I not surprised that you should have chosen such a difficult subject for your first film as a director?
TR: You know, I thought 'well why not?'.
BN: You like to do things the hard way, don't you?
TR: Yeah, but I thought well I have to find out if I can do this. And I read the book and fell in love with it--it actually broke my heart--and I've got three kids and I thought well this is actually . . . Do a film about what people do to children. I thought that was important to do. Ok, so now you've got that going. And I actually thought it was quite cinematic--I wanted to shoot it cinematically. You know, I'm not making a documentary--I want to make a film. So now I'm there--it's really deep in time--how am I going to get these kids to do this?
BN: 'Cause they hadn't acted before? The two kids?
TR: Got them off the street. Completely.
BN: What's the names? Lara Belmont.
TR: And Freddie Cunliffe. They are extraordinary. And it was hell! But at one point I think Ray . . .
BN: Were you kind to them?
TR: I was mean and kind. As has been my experience, alright? You know, I've been there. But I remember Ray turned to me at one point--looking at them and looking at me--and going 'Well it's back to school, isn't it?'. Because they were so . . . they were not impressed.
BN: No, they're not, are they.
TR: I mean, you know, we get all precious about it all because we're film makers. They're not interested really--and we're not that cool 'cause we're old!
BN: What a terrible indictment!
TR: But it's true!
BN: But Ray, Ray Winstone, is a good choice. I mean alright, he may be a teddy bear, but he can look anything but a teddy bear.
TR: He's a man. I wanted a man. I'm sick of very white teeth and lots of gymnasium practice. I'm bored, you know, send in the next one. I wanted a real man that I could believe was my brother, my father, you know, my next door neighbor--a real person. And he was my last choice because I thought if Ray walks through the door you know, you're gonna think 'Oh my God, he's screwing his kids! You're in deep trouble! Oh my God, it's Ray--it's Scum!' But of course the opposite is true and when I met him, finally I couldn't deny him. I kept seeing him being wonderful in all these different things. And he came and said 'I wanna be a good guy for a change.'
BN: So you've got the bug now for directing?
TR: Yeah. I love it. I absolutely love it.
BN: But not to the excluse of acting presumably?
TR: No. It's quite good because I've got two passions which run parallel and help each other out. So, er, not exclusively, no. Acting is a short, sharp shock and then I have a two year break to do some directing. I mean you have to stop--ok, be serious about it--so I've put the kid's through school.
BN: How are you enjoying Cannes?
TR: I absolutely love it. It's the cream on the top. I've been here as an actor, a presenter and now a director and it's quite lovely.
BN: Yeah. Next time one hopes in competition.
TR: Next time I'll be on the Jury! No! That's tiring!