"I think violence comes out of fear. I remember growing up around the presence of it and being quite afraid of it. When I was a kid I thought it was important that as a man you held yourself as a fighter. There were men that had reputations and I suppose as a kid you start to try and emulate that. I wasn’t a fighter but I would carry myself with a certain physicality that meant that people would just leave me alone. As you get a bit older you realise that it is just a mask. Reputations don’t mean anything. To hurt another human being doesn’t have any meaning. It is just completely destructive. I suppose that I am just looking for those redemptive things, that at the root of it there is some reason for the anger and for the violence. In that sense I am not a man who has been violent through his life, but I do have these thoughts that manifest. I wanted to learn about our fascination with it and try and understand what it is. I think somehow you try and make sense of that. With this film I was trying to find out what was at the root of all that and what drives people to these extremities.
In Tyrannosaur, Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a man who doesn’t want to be violent. His higher self is telling him that he doesn’t want to be. He knows it isn’t working anymore. It is eating him alive and he doesn’t know how to express what is in this void. I think that is where it comes from. It is an inability to articulate and it manifests itself in fear. Anger and aggression is imbedded in fear. At times it was an exploration of that for every character. They all fear something. I guess I have been fascinated with that in the past. I don’t know if I am so much anymore and I think it is because I did it with Tyrannosaur and I have seen how it can take you under. I have seen that if you don’t start to heal it can really take your life from you. It can kill you before your dead. On one level, I was trying to find some sense in it and freedom for these people. His character was loosely based on my father. He could be pretty destructive at times. I think it’s more that it goes back to this inability to articulate. I think my dad had a personality disorder and an autistic disorder. I think that is what he had. I think it imprisoned him and he couldn’t articulate what it was and so the fear snowed him under. He became more insular and insecure through it and that is what Joseph is. He is a man that cannot express his emotions at all. Inside there is a good man and a good soul. Really his intentions are good and he wants to love and let somebody in, but unfortunately when he does let somebody in there are consequences."
"I think violence comes out of fear. I remember growing up around the presence of it and being quite afraid of it"
Paddy Considine has been described as the best-kept secret in British cinema, and since the late nineties he has explored violence, fear and social extremes in his role as an actor. Last year marked his directorial debut in the feature filmTyrannosaur (adapted from his short film Dog Altogether that he directed in 2007). Considine wrote the film in one week, explaining “I think it had been manifesting in me for a long time, I didn’t tamper with it and I just let it be”. The film went on to win over twenty awards, including four BIFAs, three at the Sundance film festival and has been nominated for a BAFTA.
It is a film of extremes, and it follows the life of Joseph (Peter Mullan), a man haunted by violence and self-destructive rage, who is given a chance of redemption as he meets Hannah (Olivia Coleman), a Christian charity shop worker. Considine’s intentions remain honest throughout the feature; they are never to shock but to stay connected with reality – no matter how brutal. He is also working on his next directorial project, an adaptation of The Years of the Locust by Jon Hotten, which will explore the life of a corrupt boxing promoter, set in America during the 1990s.
Tyrannosaur has been released on DVD by Studio Canal and is out now.
Text by Isabella Burley