Howard J.Ford Never Let Go Interview
Cast: Lisa Eichhorn, Angela Dixon
Director: Howard J.Ford
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 93 minutes
Synopsis: Award-winning actress Angela Dixon (Dead End) stars in a thrilling international action-thriller about a single mother desperately searching for her missing child in a beautiful, but unfamiliar land, following an apparent abduction. Trusting no one, she takes the law into her own hands, weaving her way through the murky backstreets and barren landscapes, now implicated in the murder of a seemingly innocent man, her connections back in the US begin to reveal that there is much more at stake than first meets the eye.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Howard J. Ford (The Dead, The Dead 2: India), Never Let Go boasts an impressive supporting cast including BAFTA award winning and twice Emmy nominated Lisa Eichhorn (About Time, The Talented Mr. Ripley), Velibor Topic (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Nigel Whitmey (London Has Fallen, Saving Private Ryan) and Rami Nasr (upcoming Murder on the Orient Express, TV's 'The Night Manager").
Interview with Howard J.Ford
Question: How would you describe Never Let Go?
Howard J.Ford: I hope it's a gripping and emotional, female driven thriller that will take you to places you absolutely didn't expect to see! It's also a hard hitting drama with a fair bit of action and a few twists and turns to boot...
Question: Never Let Go has been compared to Taken; was Taken an influence for Never Let Go?
Howard J.Ford: I've certainly been hearing and seeing a lot of the 'Female-Taken' type comments online which is fabulous to see and Taken is a brilliant film but Never Let Go is totally different and not just because it's a female in the lead. Having said that, for me, the female-driven side, I feel is long overdue and instantly offers some huge differences. For a start, a man has not carried the child within them and then painfully given birth to them and cut the cord etc. That bond and the motherly instincts that come with it, surely offer a depth to explore that you cannot possibly reach with a male in the lead, no matter how good they are. There are so many other differences, but they do have in common that a child has been kidnapped and a lot of hurdles and decisions stand between parent and child.
Question: Can you talk us through the casting process for Never Let Go?
Howard J.Ford: I actually wrote the part with Angela Dixon in mind, but I also called her to say I was doing so but that I would probably not be able to give her the part because she was, at that time, not known enough. She was honestly the only actress I knew of the age I wanted to cast who had not only the acting ability, but the physical ability and emotional depth I felt the character needed. I also wanted my audience to be watching a real woman, a character they don't know what she is going to do next. Not a celebrity with baggage we might be familiar with. It was a risky move but I felt audiences would respond to this, and Angela's performance in Never Let Go has recently been called 'Oscar Worthy' amongst many other amazing accolades so I'm pretty relieved that audiences seem to be supporting the decision. Of course she is supported by many other fantastic actors in the film, like Lisa Eichhorn who is BAFTA winning and twice Emmy nominated Hollywood veteran and a great supporting cast from top end movies and TV.
Question: What was it like working with Angela Dixon?
Howard J.Ford: Angela was amazing and it's worth watching the film for what she goes through alone! And she really did have to go through a lot. In addition to having to portray some of the most gut wrenching things anyone can go through emotionally, we were also shooting in some tough terrains in Morocco and she has to run around, bare foot, across corrugated iron roves and all sorts. I honestly don't think many, if any other actresses would have stayed the distance. I'm incredibly grateful she didn't quit and went along with my crazy ideas and ambitions for the film until the end.
Question: What was the best part about filming Never Let Go?
Howard J.Ford: It was such an ambitious project (Shooting in 3 countries) with a multinational cast in locations incredibly hard just to arrive at, let alone successfully take a shot in, all with an extremely tight budget and real risks for the whole cast and crew - just the moments when we would get safely back to the accommodation and look at what we had shot and I's see and know a piece of this incredibly complex puzzle had been captured. That's the stuff that keeps you going. I had a very personal reason for making this film so I would have done almost anything to get it done!
Question: Were there any difficulties or injuries on set for Never Let Go?
Howard J.Ford: I'm afraid thee wore both. Luckily more difficulties than injuries. I probably shouldn't admit this but we originally had a body double for Angela, a fantastically capable young woman who was going to do a lot of the fighting instead of Angela having to do all. Sadly on arrival to the location her hand had been broken when the taxi van door had been slid shut onto it so she spent the whole time in a sling! Angela also injured her foot whilst running and there were a few cuts from glass and bruises etc, but I'm pleased to say no one was killed or arrested. We did have people threaten to stone us and our cameras as they thought we were up to no good with our drone shots and we had to make hasty exits. We also had permit issues in some areas, so had some threats of arrest too which was inconvenient and tightened the use of our time. I was even pulled off the plane on exit from Morocco but I just managed to talk my way back on again!
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Howard J.Ford: Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier, but the very reason I made Never Let Go was that I lost my own child. My just turned three year old son Felix, and it was all my fault. I was replying to a text message whilst in a busy bustling resort in Malta and by the time I looked up, he was gone. I searched everywhere, calling out his name, this way and that. I checked all the exits waiting to intercept his would-be kidnappers. I was convinced he was taken and I was ready to do anything and everything. I was shaking with fear, adrenalin and god know what. But then, as I was making my way to another part of the resort, a glint of light caught my eye. Standing over the main pool, there was his little body, drifting at the bottom. I was in like lightning and I pulled him out and over my head and shook him like a lunatic until eventually he coughed, spluttered and he vomited on me. I got him back... But only just. I don't know if you felt something when reading this. But having experienced it, I couldn't write anything else. That's how Never Let Go was born.
Question: Why do you enjoy filming thrillers?
Howard J.Ford: It's partly because they are always evolving and revealing hidden things and also as a director I like to create suspense where I can - using the camera to guide the audiences eye to take them on the journey of the plot. I also like watching thrillers so I want to make the kind of films that I like to watch! I also love journeys. I love real life journeys, I love seeing amazing places, and if you watch my films you will come on that journey too.
Question: What's next, for you?
Howard J.Ford: I'm attached to a female climbing thriller called The Ledge that I am meant to be directing soon in the Italian mountains. I have also written a supernatural thriller called Indelible, that touches on past life regression and I have been offered a film shooting in America and seeing as I now have my O1 Visa, I'm technically allowed to direct there so I might have to do that British cliché director thing of going to the States to do my thing there. For now, I just want to thank you and everyone who watches Never Let Go and supports a film with strong female characters and if that goes well, we'll be able to do more of them!
Interview by Brooke Hunter