After the Interview with Paul Ferris posted on this site in which we put questions to him regarding the upcoming release of the Wee man movie we approached the films writer / director Ray Burdis to see if he too would paticipate in a 10 question interview.
Mr Burdis was gracious enough to respond and answered our questions candidly and frankly and even donated a few on set photos from the movie, all exclusively for the members here at GlasgowGangland.com.
1. You started your acting career as a youngster and went on to build an impressive body of work, was it always your ambition to get into writing and producing or was it just natural progression for you?
As an actor work is always hand to mouth…waiting for the phone to ring … I got married at the age of 21 and realised that I had to have something more stable so I formed a production company Fugitive Films which after a few years became one of the largest Pop Promo companies in the UK. Alas there came a time when the bottom dropped out of the promo industry… budgets dried up TV companies realised that they were paying to promote Rock bands etc,so I moved forward in to Film and Television.
2. You produced the Krays in 1990, plus have worked on other crime themed projects; do you have an interest in true crime and did you find your previous true crime work helped you when it came to writing the script for theWeeman?
I grew up in North London – Islington. Now an affable area but when I was growing up it was hells kitchen… I loved it. We grew up looking up to the older gangland faces. Many of my friends were Gangsters and still are to this day. I could have easily went down that path but luckily for me I suppose I chose acting and joined Anna Scher drama club, got a part in a film at the age of 11…The rest is history.
3. You retired to France to make wine but came back to the UK in 2008 and started a company called Britfick productions, what brought you out of retirement?
I got a call as I was lounging by the pool sipping upon a chilled Chablis … What a life! …seriously it was a very polite quiet spoken guy with a Glasgow accent he said he was given my by “Some friends of ours” That was spooky as my number is only given out on the pain of death! It turned out to be Paul Ferris he said he had a best selling book out called “The Ferris Conspiracy” and that there was talk of it being made into a movie. He knew of my past growing up in a similar environment and asked would I take a look at it with the view of getting involved in some capacity.
I read the book and was captivated!
4. When you were approached by Wilf Pine to write the script for the Weeman, did you know then who Paul Ferris was and had you ever met him before the project began?
Before reading the book I had no idea who Paul Ferris was but after reading it I felt I knew him…. I had to write that script!
5. When writing the script how did you approach the sensitive subject of gangland murders knowing the scenes could be seen by family and friends of the victims?
Unfortunately when writing biography’s of this nature there will always be sensitive areas in this case the murders of Joe Hanlon and Bobby Glover. I thought long and hard about it, I had to include them in the film as they were a factual part of the history of the piece and I felt not to involve them was worse. The only way I could lessen the impact for the families was to keep their involvement as concise and a accurate as I possibly could. Some press have been a bit hysterical over this and I think have brought unnecessary hurt to the families with out ever reading the script or seeing the film. I would not want to hurt or offend anyone I have tried to treat the whole episode with dignity and respect. I truly hope it will reopen the case and that the police track down Bobby and Joes killers.
6. Obviously it must have been difficult fitting Paul's books into afew hours for the big screen, have you used artistic licence, if so could yo uexplain artistic licence from a writer/producers point of view?
Of course I have to use artistic licence in all of my films sothere is some character invention and some scenes created to keep tension and pace. Paul agreed to let me create my own world in order to take the story to the big screen.
7. We know the Glasgow City council and Strathclyde Police refused to allow permission for the film to be filmed in Glasgow, have you ever came across this before and what’s your opinion on that decision?
I think they are short sighted and stupid! To deprive Glasgow of millions of pounds being put into the economy and bringing work to the area. THIS FILM SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOT IN SCOTLAND! The police response was in my opinion bullshit! I think all they were and are worried about is what the film might expose about them! Well watch this space!
8. The Movie has been shown at the Cannes Film festival and has had a BAFTA screening, how did you feel the movie was received?
The film was a great success in Cannes and was received really well by the world’s distributors.
9. There is an opinion that this movie should never have been made,they claim it glorifies crime, what are you feelings on this? Do you think tha treformed criminals should be allowed to write book and make movies based on their experiences?
Imagine it not being taught about the horrors of the Second World War… Let’s all stick our heads in the sand and pretend it never happened! Most of these people have served their time and like Paul have never re -offended. What do you want to do for goodness sake? Hang them from the nearest bridge God forbid they earn an honest living… Mind you… Paedophiles excluded they should hang them!
10. Finally Ray, can you tell us an exact release date for the movie and can you tell us where the premier will be held?
I think we can expect a January release.
Thanks again Ray GlasgowGangland and its members appreciate your time on this and look forward to the film’s release.
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