Young British director SHANE MEADOWS became a hot property with TwentyFourSeven. Now he's back in Edinburgh with his latest movie,

A Room For Romeo Brass. Words: Miles Fielder

The bs are back in to

'THAT WAS A NICE YEAR,’ RECALLS SHANE MEADOWS of his first visit to the Edinburgh Film Festival in I996 for

his feature debut. Small Time. the low-budget tale of

Nottinghamshire wide boys. Now he returns for the world Dremiere of his third film. A Room For Romeo Brass. ‘l'm really excited because I‘ve been trying to get back to Edinburgh for so long. but the films have never been ready at the right time.’ he says. referring to Tn'entyFourSeven. which went instead to the Venice Film Festival. ‘Any changes that have happened to me have come from Edinburgh. really. And this year I'm bringing a brand new bunch of actors with me.‘

The three leads in Romeo Brass Andrew Shim. Ben Marshall and Paddy Considine are young actors with little or no experience. “Nice performances aren‘t they'." comments Meadows modestly. ‘Paddy is absolutely completely as new as you can get. He was a guy that I knew at college who had an exceptional talent for taking people off. but he never thought of doing anything with it. I just seem to get a lot more energy working with people like that they give l8()%.‘

Considine is in his twenties. but Shim and Marshall are much younger. ‘l‘ve never worked with anyone under sixteen before.‘ says Meadows. ‘They had chaperones. I was quite scared to be honest and it was testing to me as a director. They say never work with kids. but I think their performances are so mature. They need to be seen on the same level as everyone else. which is quite rare. And I'm really proud of that: not for me. for them.‘

Romeo Brass is a semi-autobiographical film. with Shim and Marshall approximating Meadows and his co- writer and childhood friend. Paul Fraser. It‘s a film Meadows felt compelled to make. ‘I wanted to get back to Small Time in terms of making a film that could be set within a street.‘ explains the director. 'I wanted to work with a much smaller story idea and it came from when l

16 THE “ST 26 Aug—9 Sep 1999

was growing up. Kids can be really cruel and very brutal within a friendship. but at the same time very honest. The most important thing I wanted to show was that you can think you're becoming a man. but you‘re actually so far away. You don‘t really know the potential in people as a kid - you take people on face value. I used to know some lads in our town who really were fucking maniacs. A couple of them brutalised me. It‘s a rude awakening it pulls you out of your childhood quick-style.‘

Meadows cut his teeth with micro-budgeted movies shot in and around Nottingham. Small Time came later and. so far. only one of these shorts the hilarious Where 's The Money. Ronnie." has been seen by the public. But Meadows is still charning them out. ‘I counted them up the other day and there are 54.‘ he says. So when can we see the other 53‘? ‘I don’t know. I'm not ashamed to show them to anybody. but I think maybe down the line . . . with something like that you‘ve got to be established. Some of them are real nails. There‘s this character called Chinky Perky. He had this mad pink hat on it was just really banzai. l have to watch those things to remember how crazy I was.‘

Meadows is currently working on a western. About a bunch of

'Kids can be

really cruel and very brutal within a friendship, but

lads from Derby in the Wild West. at the same Still crazy after all these years. time very honest.’

A Room For Romeo Brass, Cameo 1, 623 8030, 27 Aug, 8pm; 28 Aug. 3pm, £7 (£4.50). General release in Spring 2000.

Shane Meadows