The debut feature from award-winning theatre director Rufus Norris is a powerful drama featuring an outstanding ensemble cast.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
- Director Rufus Norris
- Producer Dixie Linder, Tally Garner, Nick Marston, Bill Kenwright
- Screenwriter Mark O’Rowe
- With Eloise Laurence, Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy
- UK 2012
- 90 mins
- UK distribution STUDIOCANAL
Skunk (Eloise Laurence) is an 11-year-old with diabetes, a bothersome condition that impinges on her otherwise seemingly blissful life. Her devoted single father Archie (Tim Roth) worries about her, and her minder Kasia (Zana Marjanovic) is frequently distracted by issues with her teacher boyfriend Mike (Cillian Murphy), though all recognise that she is a special kid with wit and smarts beyond her years. As the summer begins, Skunk witnesses a violent incident involving her neighbours in the isolated North London cul de sac where she lives. The event ushers in a period in her life where childhood innocence is gradually dissolving, and she is forced to confront the realities of the harsh world around her. The debut feature from award-winning theatre director Rufus Norris, Broken is a powerful drama featuring an outstanding ensemble cast. Among the familiar faces in that cast, newcomer Laurence delivers a wonderfully natural and eye-catching performance that marks her as a star in the making.
At various points in my career, various avenues have opened up. After the very first [theatre] show I did, someone came to see it and said, ‘Why don’t you come and do some short films with me?’ So it was never that I desperately wanted to be a film director, it just seemed to be the right time finally. I respond very much to fear as a motivating force! A fear of failure, I guess. And a lot of my decisions as a theatre director have been to try things that I’ve never done before. Stuff for which there is no template. I was incredibly engaged with [the book], particularly with the idea of following this story in the shoes of this very spirited young girl. I was just very interested in her, really. My children aren’t so young now, but at that point when I read the book, four or five years ago, my eldest was the same age as Skunk. I think the story, or rather one aspect of it, is largely about parenting, and the impossibility of parenting well – how you do your best and you always get it wrong. So I was drawn to that. I think it’s dark, it’s funny, and in the end it’s uplifting, and those three things are always a good combo. I respond very much to strong emotional stories, and this is very strong and emotional. It doesn’t pull its punches, so it’s quite hard. [...] I think Mark O’Rowe was quite wary of me at first. Because screenwriters in theatre – and Mark also works in theatre – are respected greatly there and given a lot of control over what actually gets said on stage. And if you’re a director of new plays, your job is to deliver the play as the writer intends it, more or less. But in film, it’s completely different, and writers get sacked left, right and centre. So I think Mark was wary of yet another director coming in with big, heavy notes when he actually felt quite strong ownership of the piece. Because I’m a director, I tend to think about solutions to problems rather than actually dig around to find the core of what the problem actually is, and so I said to him, ‘The bottom line is, you can say, at any time, ‘That’s a load of shit’. It’s quite useful for me if you say why you think it’s a load of shit, but you can say that. You’re the writer. I’m not. But I am going to be interventionist.’ And I think he thought, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all that before – the first time I actually say it’s a load of shit I bet we’ll fall out.’ But there was a great moment when we were literally sitting on a bench by a canal in Dublin, where we spent three days working together. He tried it out, and he said, ‘I think that idea’s a load of shit.’ He explained why, and I said, ‘Fine, forget it. Let’s move on.’ And I think he then thought, ‘OK, this can be a dialogue’. I hope the writer wouldn’t disagree when I say that I think what we’ve done is to deepen the third dimension of certain characters. And we’ve certainly brought down the body count! But, yes, the writer of the book recognises his story, for sure!
The award-winning British theatre director trained as an actor at RADA before coming to prominence in 2001 with his production of Afore Night Came at the Young Vic, for which he won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 2004 He won his second Evening Standard Award and the Critics Circle Award for his production of Festen at the Almeida Theatre. Since then, he has directed a host of critically acclaimed shows, among them an adaptation of DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little at the Young Vic, and a West End revival of Cabaret, which won 2 Oliviers. Rufus’ 2008 Broadway production of Les Liaisons dangereuses, starring Laura Linney and Ben Daniels, won five Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival. His production of London Road in 2011 at the National Theatre, where he is an Associate Director, recently won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, while in the same year he co-created Dr Dee with Damon Albarn for the Manchester International Festival. In 2009, Rufus made his screen debut with the short film King Bastard, written by his wife Tanya Ronder and produced by BBC Films. Broken is his debut feature.
2009 King Bastard [TV s]