David Hayman plays a mob boss father-in-law in Paul Andrew Williams’ ‘revenge thriller like no other,’ Bull.
SYNOPSIS: Bull is ferocious, audacious, and blood-soaked. It’s the latest from BAFTA-winning writer/director Paul Andrew Williams stars Neil Maskell as a vicious mob enforcer seeking revenge on the gang that double-crossed him. Ten years after he was last seen, Bull (Maskell) returns home to methodically track down those who betrayed him and find his beloved son. With the ominous warning: “I’m coming for all of them,” Bull stalks his former gang, leading up to a savage showdown between his wife and her mob boss father (David Hayman).
Check out my interview with David!
What makes Bull a revenge thriller like no other?
David: Apart from the fact that it is wonderfully written and directed; it is beautifully acted by an extraordinary ensemble of actors; it’s an extraordinary visual, visceral ride; I guess it’s the twists in the tale. One of the things that makes it is the metaphysical aspect of it, which I think just lifts it onto another level and makes you really think, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’
How would you describe your character, Norm, in this movie?
David: Well, he’s the head of a family who exists outside the norms of society, they are on the margins, they create their own laws and moral values that are very alien to mainstream life. They’re a law unto themselves. He wishes to save his grandson because my daughter has turned into a junkie, a serious drug addict, and he’s in danger. My son-in-law is desperately trying to take him back, so I try to fight it all the way. And it’s about family. It’s about loyalty. It’s about love, really. At the end of the day, for such a violent movie, they’re all driven by the same thing. They’re driven by love for a family member.
Did you and Neil have to do anything special to create that tension?
David: No. We just turned up the we did it. We are equally matched in a sense that we are sort of dinosaurs; we can both be equally intense or we can both be equally believable in that way. So we just automatically clicked from day one. I think I was cast three days before we started shooting, because someone had dropped out or whatever, so when I went into the wardrobe room, he saw me turn around and he said, ‘Oh, I’m so glad it’s you.’ We gave each other a hug and from then on, we just loved every minute. We were actually able to lift ourselves out of the intensity. You have to be able to have a laugh. You have to be able to lighten the load if that’s what you’re dealing with everyday… And Neil is a joy to work with. He’s just an extraordinary presence. He stalks this movie, but it doesn’t stop it empowers his way through this movie like an avenging angel.
What was it like working with writer and director Paul Andrew Williams?
David: He is very, very exciting to work with. He gives you great freedom. The first thing I said to him was, ‘what action do you want?’ He said, ‘your own.’ Which is good because he’s got a Scottish accent, there’s Liverpool, there’s London, there’s Manchester, New Castle; so you’re getting all the regional flavors of the United Kingdom in this one movie, which gives it a real richness and a color. It’s terrific freedom in front of the camera for us and he kept the sunlight and sunset as well. And he knows what he wants. He knows what he wants and that’s a joy. He’s very, very exciting. He’s one to watch for sure.
You mentioned asking him what accent he wants. Do you regularly use other accents for roles?
David: Yeah, because I’m a Scot, my natural tongue is Scottish. Most of the parts I play are non Scots, so yes, I’m used to doing accents all the time. It’s lovely to be able to use my own tongue. I think actors are always freer in their own tongue.
Did getting to use your own accent kind of help in your preparation process?
David: It doesn’t really help in my preparation for the role because any preparation I do is kind of psychological. The accent is just one less responsibility, one less thing to think about, and one more way of liberating the performance. But it’s a great challenge and I have a movie coming up called My Neighbor, Adolf where I play a Polish Jew who has managed to survive the gas chambers and is now a recluse. I just finished Fisherman’s Friends, too, but I’m doing a Cornish accent, and Raven’s Hollow, where I play an American, so it’s lovely that I get a great choice of accents to play. All I have is my voice, my imagination, my body.
Is it difficult to slip into different accents?
David: Sometimes it’s difficult. Yeah. You get some accents that are more difficult than others, some you really, really have to work on, but then you get actors who’ve just got a gift for mimicry and essentially, can pick up accents at the drop of a hat and that’s such a wonderful gift to have.
What’s your favorite accent to perform with?
David: Apart from my own, I do love doing an American accent just because you grew up with movies and that’s the kind of lingua franca of movies, really. Like with My Neighbor, Adolf, it wasn’t just playing a Polish Jew, I had to get into Jewish culture and I speak some Yiddish, so I have to explore that a little bit and work with Yiddish and there’s a little bit of German in there too. And those are keys to get into someone’s mindset and someone’s personality.
Do you have any standout memories from filming this movie?
David: Standing in front of the burning caravan, which seemed to go on forever, if you remember that sequence. It was very, very cold, and we had a very, very small budget, so you can’t be looked after the way that you normally can on bigger shoots where there’s a bit more money and you’ve got at least somewhere warm to retire to in the middle of a freezing night. You’re not cramped into one little vehicle or something for some warmth. Yeah, the burning of the caravan
Is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you would like to add about the movie Bull?
David: No, just go and see it. I think you’ll have a terrific time. You’ll come out thinking, ‘wow, what the hell was that?’ It’s like an hour and 27 minutes and it just flashes by. It’s a cinematic treat.