Shane Meadows

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands

Interviewed by David Michael

Did you make a conscious decision this time to reach a bigger, more mainstream audience and use bigger names?

It wasn't solely because of the names. When you've made two films - "TwentyFourSeven" and "A Room For Romeo Brass" - and no one's really seen them, it becomes more and more difficult for you to keep making films. It's simple economic terms - I want to keep on making films, but I don't want to make a Hollywood film and sacrifice everything. So with this one I was really trying to find a way of getting a hook for people. There's the western angle, the cast and the music - it's all slightly bigger and more commercially viable in some respects. But it still has the realism of my characters and my use of music, so I haven't given too much up.

Are you a big western fan?

I've always been a big fan of westerns, spaghetti westerns mainly. Probably the only time me and my dad ever sat down together was to sort of sit and watch these Sergio Leone movies. So the film's a kind of a homage to that as well.

How did you get Vanessa Feltz to do a cameo? You're clearly sending her up.

I met her when I did an interview on The Big Breakfast. I find her really nice. Like anyone's media persona, when you bump into them yourself, you can only judge as you find. I explained I wasn't going to do any tricks on her and she knows my work. She was absolutely over the moon to be in a film.

Is this your last film on the Midlands?

Yes. I never set out to make a trilogy, but ultimately I was half sat there thinking - should I try and move away now, or should I take a risk and stay with it? I was obviously thinking about the fact I'd done something and not had the success in terms of having the amount of people going to the films that I'd want. I just decided rather than give up on Nottingham, I'd have one more go. Now, with this film, in terms of doing something and paying homage to my upbringing, I've done that and I need to move forward.