“I don’t think I’ll ever get over how lucky I am” – The Jonathan Sothcott Interview
With his latest horror movie The Exorcism of Karen Walker flying off the supermarket shelves, we caught up with straight to DVD supremo Jonathan Sothcott to see what plans he has for film fans in 2019.
Q. How’s the release of your new horror movie going?
Pretty well I think. Horror is so hard because the market is ridiculously flooded and unless you have a massive brand like Stephen King or a big theatrical push like the Blumhouse films get you are fighting an uphill battle from day one! But it’s a good little movie, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and it is the first film I’ve done that was released in America before the UK.
Q. Do you like Manchester?
Yes it is one of my favourite cities! Some years ago I co-wrote a book about Danny Dyer with my friend James Mullinger. James lives in Canada so Dyer and I did a little book signing tour and one of them was at The Trafford Centre. We went up on a Saturday and got absolutely hammered and then sat there like two hungover zombies signing books on the Sunday morning. I’m not entirely sure how I managed to write my name. Oh well, its not my signature they were there for! Not my finest hour. But it’s a beautiful City and I really enjoy spending time there.
Q. What other films are you working on this year?
A LOT! We have a couple of sequels – The Krays 2: Marked For Death and We Still Die The Old Way, a gangland home invasion film called Reckoning Day, underworld biopic Pretty Boy, casino heist movie Swipe and urban drugs thriller Trappers. I am also working on a couple of bigger American movies and we have some TV projects in development. Hereford is a busy company – we do, of course, focus on the UK crime and gangster movies and I’m very pleased to say celebrated author and walking villain encyclopaedia Steve Wraith has just joined us as True Crime Consultant. Steve really is a massive addition to the team, ensuring us a layer of authenticity other films lack.
Q. What is your favourite movie?
I think its is still Jaws, which I first saw on Betamax video when I was about 4 years old. To me everything about it is perfect – writing, direction, atmosphere, performances, music. It captivates me all over again every time I watch it. I love it so much I even love all three of the sequels. I also love the James Bond films, the Dark Knight trilogy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Rocky films and the Hammer horror movies.
Q. What would be your dream film to make?
I think I’d like to make one epic British gangster film like Snatch or Layer Cake but with all the genre faces that audiences love. Something that really delivers. I think the closest recently has been St Georges’ Day but that’s what, 6 years old now? Its definitely time for another film like that – an event movie for the genre fans. And maybe, just maybe, I’m working on it.
Q. What was the last book you read?
A fairly plodding science fiction/horror book called Dracula Unbound by Brian Aldiss. I appreciate he’s something of a legend in that genre but I have really struggled with it – too much scientific mumbo jumbo and it felt very rushed. A different spin on vampires though for sure – as pre-historic sub humans that can’t think laterally because the (un)dead don’t have human brains. I read a lot of horror fiction – partly because I’m always looking for material for the films and I guess it is my escapism. Though there are plenty of vampires in the film industry!
Q. If you could work with one actor who would it be?
Stallone. He was the biggest star of my youth and I love the way he reinvented the Hollywood machine to suit himself. He’s a brilliant film-maker as well as an actor and it would be an honour to work with him. I met him at the premiere of The Expendables with Craig Fairbrass who of course did Cliffhanger with him. He just exudes star power. The only thing is I wish he’d stop telling the story about how he held out to play Rocky – it encourages the fantasies of every deluded actor that they can play parts they are completely unsuitable for! Haha. I am cited Stallone all too frequently on this basis and only by people who don’t have a fraction of his talent. But I forgive him because he’s awesome.
Q. What is the best film that you’ve made?
Well a lot of people think We Still Kill The Old Way but for me it is Vendetta. Stephen Reynolds is not only the best director I have worked with but the one I had the best creative relationship with. We just clicked. It was a joy to make that film and even more so to see how successful it was. I think it really delivers on every level. It is certainly the best performance Danny Dyer has ever given. I can’t wait to make another film with Steve – we’ve been talking about it for long enough so we really need to get on and do it.
Q. And the worst?
There’s quite a few contenders. I mean the worst one is probably 7 Lives, though I didn’t actually produce it – Billy Murray and I arranged some financing on it and got Executive Producer credits. It was a half finished Danny Dyer film that someone sort of Frankensteined together but it was just a mess. I sat at the distributors screening in Charlotte Street and after about 10 minutes I was the only person in there. Awful, awful film!
Q. What is the secret of your success?
My partner Janine. When I met her, she totally focussed and inspired me. And made me a much better person. And she’s the most amazing person I have ever met – intelligent, funny, kind, strong, beautiful (SO beautiful)… she’s my best friend, my trusted counsel, my whole world. I have the right balance between work and home and I’d much rather be at home with Janine and the kids than out partying like in the old days. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how lucky I am to have found her.
Q. What do you do for fun?
We travel a lot. In the last year we’ve been to America, Monaco, France, Portugal and Greece. I like going to nice restaurants – one of my best friends is a food writer so that helps! I don’t really drink at home so we like going out for a nice meal and a few bottles of wine. I still go out with the boys but as I’ve grown up my circle of friends has gotten smaller. Billy Murray and Martin Kemp are still my two closest friends, they have been in my life for such a long time and even if I don’t see either of them for a few months we just pick up the conversation where it left off last time. I watch a lot of movies, I read a lot books and I just like being at home with Janine and the kids.