Rupert Jones – Kaleidoscope Interview

A man, his mother, and a body.

The sinister events of indie thriller Kaleidoscope will be chilling audience in cinemas right now . The film starring Toby Jones and Anne Reid looks at a young isolated man who goes on a date that goes horribly wrong. Engrossing and engaging, Kaleidoscope is an impressive thriller.

We spoke with director Rupert Jones about his work.

Where did the idea come from?

I am never sure where the idea comes from. There  were two ideas too ambitious for a first film. An idea had been knocking around about a man who wakes up and finds a dead body in the bathroom, not knowing where it came from. I think the moment that the mother comes in as a crazy PI Detective is when the movie started to take shape.

What’s it like directing your brother Toby Jones? 

It happened in one of those moments where the film and the script took a leap, especially when we decided to make the mother internalised. It was hard to find sympathy with the character on the page. I need someone close who could bring that vulnerability and sort of take ownership. Toby did that, transformed it into a whole different character. He was very keen; showing the tragedy and the harrowing elements of Carl.

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The mother has these Hitchcockian elements and is very similar to Psycho in that respects, was this the intention?

It’s very flattering when people say that they see Hitchcock in the film. It’s not directly based on his work. The writing and the project was just something that worked and I aimed to engineer a piece of suspense, seeing how that worked. I watch some Hitchcock films but there was nothing specific I would pull on. I just watched them in general.

It’s a very terrifying thriller.

To be really honest, I always thought I’d be making comedies and I don’t really know where it came from. I just had this situation with the body and the mother. It just seemed like a good idea and I didn’t really think about the idea and I didn’t really think too much about what does it all it mean and situation level and I still don’t.

It’s like a process you are trying to let ideas emerge and, at the same time, I have to make decisions and when you make something  and discovering it for yourself. It always feels sudden.

Anne Reid is great as Carl’s Mother Aileen, how did she come on board?

It just seemed to make sense. Of all the actors, she was very funny and had great comic timing. I sort of approached her and was intrigued by the script. She was also enticed by doing something with Toby.    She was a real joy and such a great actress. I’m trying to work up an anecdote but she really is amazing. She played with our sympathies and made it feel that Carl was being a bit cruel without understanding why. She was just very good.

There’s a great visual style, how was this developed on a low budget? 

I think we were on a low budget. At a certain point, producer Matthew Wilkinson said to me; “Do you want to build the flat as a set?” And I really love building sets. I think we wanted it to be claustrophobic and a bit bigger than a flat would be . We re-purposed another set from another film so there was more paper underneath which gave it this great used atmosphere. We made the decision to shoot with deep blacks and brown. There are these kind of disability aids screwed to the wall, so there was this sense that he just moved there and it hasn’t been decorated. There are these elderly elements. He can’t afford to change it. There’s also different temperatures and they are cold, frigid, and wet.

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The estate is really imposing and really solidifies his loneliness. 

Yes! And those stairs were like a sign from god. I really liked the estate from the outside and the stairs. Those shots were from the determination of the grip and DOP.

I do feel like we’re at a strange time: There are these enormous films, always aspiring for a franchise. There’s an awful lot of writers and directors out there. I have faith in a lot of audiences, if they give films a chance. Big films seem to be about the spectacular now and that experience. But there are people still going to independents and I try to do the same. At festivals, I get people to recommend me five to ten films that I have no idea about.

All of a sudden you are opening up in a Romanian nunnery  or something like that and it is such a thrilling way of watching cinema.

Though, we should talk about making it more accessible so everyone can enjoy films.

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