Turner Prize-nominated artist Sam Taylor-Wood on her debut feature film about John Lennon.
As a Turner Prize-nominated artist, Sam Taylor-Wood has been responsible for much-talked about video installations, including the one of David Beckham sleeping. But the 42-year-old has long harboured an ambition to direct a feature film with encouragement from her mentor, the late Anthony Minghella. She finally achieves that goal with Nowhere Boy, a portrait of the teenaged John Lennon played by promising young newcomer Aaron Johnson.
It has been a fruitful collaboration so far with Wood and Johnson each picking up BIFA nominations ahead of the film's Christmas release. The couple also announced their engagement after a whirlwind romance on the Liverpool set. According to Wood, she also got a warm reception from the locals who still treasure the memory of the erstwhile Beatle almost three decades after his tragic death.
The city is just as much a character in the film along with powerhouse turns from Anne-Marie Duff (playing Lennon's errant mother) and Kristin Scott Thomas (as the aunt who raised him). With a psychologically-probing and sometimes controversial script by Matt Greenhalgh (who also penned Ian Curtis biopic Control) their influence along with the advent of rock 'n' roll is revealed to have shaped the artist Lennon would become.
Wood chats to BBC Film Network about making the transition from video artist to film director, working in a man's world and casting a potential star of the future.
Interview and text: Stella Papamichael | Editing: James Rocarols
Nowhere Boy is released on 26th December 2009