I recently had the chance to interview Gareth Unwin, one of the producers of The King’s Speech.
Unwin has been in the industry for over 15 years with experience as an AD and PM and is currenlty overseeing feature film development at Bedlam Productions. He has won a BAFTA nomination, Spirit and Dinard awards with his first film Exam.
He is currently in Poland overseeing the thrilling animated film The Flying Machine to mark the bicentennial of Chopin, After Machine is completed he will return to the UK and begin production on The Lady Who Went Too Far, which sees him re-unite with writer David Seidler on a fascinating tale of female heroism in the 18th century.
How did you first get started int he industry?
After graduating I became a runner at Kudos Productions based in London. Following working on a comedy drama for them as a floor runner, I was taken on by the 1st ad as a 3rd ad. From there i worked my way up the ranks to end up being a 1st ad for nearly 13 years. The step across to producing came when I had opportunity to produce Stuart Hazeldine’s “Exam”.
In what ways has the industry changed since you first started?
I think the industry has become more refined. As I was coming up through the ranks there was a lot being made that would struggle to find finance in the current market place.
How did Bedlam Productions get its start?
Simon Egan and I set up Bedlam to allow us to develop and nurture our own projects. We had worked as “guns for hire” for a multitude of other companies and felt the time was right to step up on our own.
The King’s Speech has been getting a very warm reception from critics and fans alike. The film has already garnered a number of nominations for Colin Firth. Describe what that feeling has been like for you as a producer?
It gives you an incredible amount of pride. To think the film came to us as a two hander stage play, yet Simon and i both saw something bigger in the story. The plaudits are appreciated and hopefully will give the film a long and full life.
In The King’s Speech you really have an A-list cast and a talented director in Tom Hooper. What was it like to work with such great actors and a great director?
Across the board we were blessed with an amazing cast and crew. It meant that we could go that little bit further creatively with the script, story and performance, it was such a delight sharing the process with these people. But the amazing talent pool doesn’t end there. It was a great pleasure working alongside my fellow producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, they are two of the brightest minds in the industry.
With the Oscar campaign in full effect, what has it been like to manage that with Bedlam being based in the UK?
The Weinstein Company is doing an amazing campaign; they are incredibly supportive of the film and have given us the opportunity to profile the film effectively. In the UK, Momentum Pictures are equally as supportive as they move us through our BAFTA campaign.
With Exam and The King’s Speech being two totally different genres, do you have a process you use for picking and developing your projects?
I think irrespective of the genre, what has to win out is quality. We love telling stories at bedlam, be that film, TV or whatever. What has to stand out with everything we develop is that we believe that the end result will be of benchmark quality.
What are some of the upcoming projects you have in the pipeline?
In terms of cinema, we have David Seidlers next script in development. Drawing on “The Star of the Morning” a biography by Kirsten Ellis, the film follows amazing adventures on her travels through the Middle East and beyond where she becomes embroiled in a three way love affair with two French spies. The TV slate is incredibly strong at the moment, and with the recent addition of Simon Breen to the team, 2011 is an exciting year ahead.
How do you feel a nomination and win at the Oscars would affect your ability to get projects off the ground?
Any recognition, whether that is BAFTA, Golden Globes or the Academy helps reinforce that we are doing good work that should be encouraged to continue.
Which actors or directors would you love to work with?
Wow, that is a tricky one, there are so many you don’t have the space to cover this.
So far what has been your favorite film or TV show you have been involved in?
“The Kings Speech” so far . . . Who’s to say that the next one wont supplant that at the top of my list??
For more information head on over to Bedlam Productions Official Website and be sure to see The King’s Speech In theaters!