Kaleidoscope: A Character Study

Writer-director Rupert Jones began his career with a series of shorts and television programmes, including the comedy sketch show Beehive. He makes his feature directorial debut with Kaleidoscope, an engaging psychological character study about a lonely ex-con named Carl (Toby Jones) who has a troubled relationship with his suffocating mother Aileen (Anne Reid).

ASFF: How did Kaleidoscope start?
was writing things that felt very domestic and very drama-ish, and I wanted to write something a bit more genre. I started watching a lot of [Alfred] Hitchcock and [Roman] Polanski, and I wanted to write something that started with a dead body. You ask yourself who is the dead body, where are they? At the same time, I was trying to make something that was achievable. I had other [bigger] scripts, but it’s hard to jump to that scale as your first film. So I was trying to write something very contained. The idea originally was try something that I could do on very little money. We built Carl’s flat, where the film is set, and it immediately felt larger in scale. But still it’s a very contained piece.

ASFF: Were there any specific Hitchcock or Polanski films you were referencing?
Well, I gave Polanski’s The Tenant to Toby to watch. I love that film. I suppose I like the eccentricity of it and the darkness. The thing I realise with Hitchcock, he was a very popular, busy director, but his films were…some of them were deranged! They’re so strange, some of his films.

ASFF: How did you find working with your brother, Toby?
It was broadly what I expected. I’d like to have had more rehearsal time, which allows the actor to eat into the role a bit more and you can let go of it. I think I was casting in all the parts people who you trust, and of course I trust Toby. I learnt a lot about acting from this.

ASFF: What are his special attributes for this role?
I think it was an extremely hard role to play, because the character is quite hard to get at. I think it’s a character who, with the wrong actor, could test your sympathies. And from what I hear people come out of the film heavily sympathising with him, and it’s possible I think not to.

ASFF: Your father was also an actor. So was filmmaking always an obvious career choice for you?
I think I found out in the latter stages of art school. I wanted to be a painter for quite a long time. Ironically I didn’t want to be on my own in a studio all the time and I’ve ended up spending a lot of my time on my own in an edit suite or a library! But I feel like I’m where I belong.

James Mottram

Kaleidoscope opens on 10 November. For more details, visit: www.pearlanddean.com

1. Still from Kaleidoscope.