It is not every day you have a reason to go to Claridges, especially not to meet famous film stars such as Emma Thompson and Celia Imrie. I had the pleasure of talking to these gracious ladies and Director Joel Hopkins about his new film The Love Punch.
On first look The Love Punch appears to fall prey to the standardised structure of a cliché Hollywood Rom Com. A divorced couple overcome a new challenge together and re- ignite that once lost flame. However in true Joel Hopkins style The Love Punch has undoubtedly broken those barriers and turned what could have been a predictable romance story into what essentially is a Home Counties heist movie, harking back to the good old days of Pink Panther. ‘I love the idea’ laughs Emma ‘these people who live in surrey suddenly decide to steal a diamond’.
The idea for the film came about over a cup of coffee between Emma and Joel, with Hopkins expressing his desire to work with her again, especially after the success of ‘Last Chance Harvey’. They decided that they wanted to create a story with a more playful tone and it was then a case of ‘well who would you like to work with?’ Emma expressed her desire to work with Pierce Brosnan and that was a done deal. It is not the most obvious couple in the world, but they have fantastic chemistry, a great energy and pull it off like a classic screen couple.
Sadly Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Spall were not able to make the press conference however Emma and Celia were more than happy to explain what it is like to work with them. Emma divulged that ‘Pierce has glamour and the most extraordinary grace and then he’ll sit there very normally playing a crossword’. Whilst Celia explained that Timothy was very in the moment, often improvising lines ‘we didn’t read much into our back story as a couple, it just happened by magic’.
Hopkins is known for writing his characters based on the actors and actresses he had in mind to play them. Emma perfectly encapsulates the character of Kate and Hopkins has utilised Emma’s nuances to fit Kate’s character beautifully. However Kate is somewhat lacking a back story which fails to allow the audience to understand her character in full.
Although not a conventional action movie The Love Punch does feature a lot of action scenes with many of the actors performing their own stunts. Emma was ecstatic that she did all the stunt driving in her scenes around France which included descending a massive staircase in a Citroen C1, ‘my most enjoyable scenes were driving ex James bond around and doing something that’s illegal’. I can imagine her career taking a turn to the action movie genre and Emma was certainly excited by the prospect.
Film is a collaborative process and as a writer Emma couldn’t help but get involved with redrafting the script. ‘In one draft they had just got divorced’ Hopkins explained, ‘Emma suggested moving it to 8 years apart and it just fell together’. In conventional romantic comedies it is often the lack of attention to detail that renders both the story line and the characters to be implausible; however this amendment allowed for a more realistic relationship to have formed, one where they were not still bitter and had both developed as individuals. Adding a caper-esq. style element to the narrative truly bought the film to life and as Emma expressed ‘you don’t see fast talking films anymore. This sort of writing is a treat’.
All in all this film is great fun and definitely defied my expectations, but what more can you expect from a stellar cast and a writer who likes to have fun with his stories.
The Love Punch is in cinemas now