VOD Spotlight On Tim Roth (BROKEN)June 10, 2013

VOD Spotlight On Tim Roth (BROKEN)

BROKEN (Film Movement)

Summer has just begun, leaving 11-year-old Skunk’s (newcomer Eloise Laurence) days filled with dreams and curious wanderings. The one obligation placed on her by her devoted, single father (Tim Roth) -- she must always remember to regularly check her diabetes. The bond between Skunk and her father is loving and full of trust. It makes Skunk feel invincible.

However, when Skunk witnesses one neighbor savagely beating Rick, a psychologically-troubled boy from the neighborhood, her innocence begins to vanish. Despite the best attempts by her father to shield her, Skunk is unwittingly drawn into her neighbors’ unfolding melodrama of violence, sex, and illness. Filled with fear and doubt, Skunk’s happy childhood threatens to fall away leaving a broken, complex future unless she can be saved by the intense love of her father. BROKEN (Film Movement), is on Ultra VOD & Theatrically and iTunes/VOD on July 19th. Read our review



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On Demand Weekly ODW: BROKEN is a complex story about a middle class British neighborhood in a small cul-de-sac. What drew you to the role of Archie?
Tim Roth (TR):
A friend of mine produced it and I was wondering what she was working on. She sent me a script to look at and I thought it was wonderful. I thought the character (Archie) was warm, loving and a very good parent. It’d be interesting to play someone like that, have something disastrous happen to him and how he deals with it. 

ODW; Were you familiar with the book by Daniel Clay BROKEN is adapted from?
No. I had no idea. It completely missed me. The same as well with the director, Rufus Norris, because I’ve been living in America for so long. Fascinating the world he moves in. 

ODW: When you’re working on a role in a film adapted from a book, do you ever pick up the book in advance, or do you just base the role on the adapted script?
No, try not to. We did an adaptation on Rosencratz and Guild’s a long time ago. The temptation was always to go back to the play and see how Tom Stoppard had changed it. We found ourselves asking him, ‘can you put that back in?” and he’d say, we’re making the film not making the play. Which is a pretty good point. The same applies to books. 

ODW: Your character’s profession is a Solicitor. Could you explain to Americans what that is?
A Solicitor? He’s a lawyer. 

ODW: What type of lawyer is Archie? A criminal defense attorney?
Nooo… We thought of him more of mundane. Low end lawsuits. Fraud. Someone gets injured at work. Good at it. Bit of a cheap suit.

ODW: Speaking of suits, you’re wearing an overcoat throughout the movie. Is that a choice you made?
: I picked the ugliest thing I could find. Often when working on something, I like to have one costume. To keep the visual of the character as simple as possible for the audience. It was really an unflattering suit and tie and deeply unflattering coat. I quite liked it. I found it to be very appealing (laughs). 

It’s exactly in his price range. Functional. If he has to be called down to the police station, it is his uniform. He’s in it at home. He’s that kind of working man. 

ODW: It seems he always just arriving or just leaving the house for work. 
It’s all for the better of the children. It’s all for them. He’s constantly busy.

ODW: The film intersperses scenes of your character Archie and his 11 year-old daughter Skunk with clips of them right after she is born. Do you think the image of her as an infant represents humanity before we’re damaged in one way or another?
Possibly yeah, Also, you get the strength of the bond between them (Archie and Eloise)....
It’s a portent. It’s a strong bond to break.
And it’s never broken. The bond between them never breaks. 

ODW: Have you ever worked with a young actress as talented as Eloise Laurence?
Skunk (Eloise Laurence) / BROKEN (Film Movement)


TR: Yes (he replies quickly). The kids that were in THE WAR ZONE were non-actors that became actors.

She (Eloise Laurence) is extraordinary.

An absolute find.


She was one of the last people, if not the last person he (director Rufus Norris) saw. A friend of his is an actress in his plays and he remembered she has a daughter and wondered if she (Eloise) would be any good. He sent me some video of her and everyone was blown away. 

She had never acted before. She is a singer. Writes her own songs. They’re in the film. The theme song is hers. Damon Albon from Blur did the music. When we were in Cannes, Damon came over and we had this private thing on the beach. Damon and his mates playing the music and her singing her songs. It was really lovely.


Skunk (Eloise Laurence), Tim Roth / BROKEN (Film Movement)

ODW: When asked to speak about you in a previous interview, director Rufus Norris said you don’t “suffer fools”. What do you think he meant by that?
: Is that what he said about me? As much as I don’t take everything seriously, when we’re working, we’re working. Get it done.

What I like about Rufus, the conversations we had, it’s clear there is a really great intellect at work. You have to be a part of that. You have to join that ride. You can’t go in there with a very superficial understanding of what you’re doing. I found the process of working with him enlightening and very fun. He’s very clever. I watched him like a hawk. He directs opera. Theater. This is his first film. I don’t know where he got that from. He certainly isn’t a fool.

It’s a very low budget film with a limited time to film it. I was in for 5 weeks. When you’re doing those films, you have to get ready. You have to be really prepared. Can’t lose time.

ODW: Films in theaters are dominated by stories meant to purely entertain. What do you think the future is for dramatic films that challenge viewers like BROKEN? What’s their future?
: I think there future is safe. I think more and more the future of challenging material lies in television. To put it in the cinema is difficult to do. They (studios) like to have along with their huge budget movies, they like to have a handful of dramas of a more challenging nature, so they can look like they’re doing an artist’s job and not a corporation’s job. That does kind of help secure the future of arthouse films.

I think they’ll always be around, it will be a question of trying to get your foot in the door. It’s very hard if you’re going into a cineplex when HARRY POTTER 25 is on 6 screens.

ODW: BROKEN opened on Ultra VOD (pre theatrical) earlier this week & will be available in theaters and VOD on July 19th. What do you think of the trend of films opening digitally in homes before theaters?
I have to say, the art snob in me says one thing. The film is made for a communal experience in a big room vs a small TV. That’s what you love about cinema. The more practical side of me says I’m all for it. You reach a lot of people.

All things new in this kind of world are frowned upon initially.

If I’m in a hotel room and I want to watch a movie that isn’t on the TV the hotel provides, I want to watch something interesting and provoking, it’s great on my computer. I don’t have any qualms laying down a few dollars to watch something I haven’t seen before or an old movie. I’m all for it. I’m all for using new technology to further our nefarious plans.

ODW: What have you watched recently?
7 PSYCHOPATHS. It was really kind funny and sick (we both laugh). I wanted to watch some Sam Rockwell indies and you can do that. You can line them up. I quite like that.

ODW: Is this happening in the UK?
I think you’re going to find that huge over there. And then you’ll have what’s happening with “Arrested Development” and “House of Cards”. All of these things will be their own content.

ODW: As an actor / filmmakers, what is your take on Netflix getting into original production?
Thrilled! Absolutely thrilled. It used to be the networks had this hold over the market, the public. Now, it’s shifted. Which means they’ll up their game. Netflix will up their game. Amazon will up their game. Then you have things like Vimeo. Which is going to kick off. Vice, which is fascinating. The more people doing challenging work, the better. It couldn’t happen fast enough.

You could have a film festival online. Doesn’t have to be in a building. It can have an egalitarian feel to it. Put the power into the hands of the filmmaker.

ODW: Lastly, you’re well known for your role in PULP FICTION. I have to ask about your scene with Jules (Samuel L. Jackson). What was in the briefcase?
I know what was in the briefcase. We’re not supposed to say anything about it. Only the people who were filming know. Quentin told us. He swore us to secrecy. He was much more intrigued about what people thought was in the briefcase, more than what he decided was in there. 






- Britt Bensen

Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is currently at Intel Media. Previously, Britt worked for Miramax Films and Sundance Channel. He also on the Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival.


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