Interview: Steven Knight on making Tom Hardy normal in ‘Locke’

Writer and director Steven Knight's "Locke" is set entirely in a car. Credit: Getty Images
Writer and director Steven Knight’s “Locke” is set entirely in a car.
Credit: Getty Images

Prolific British writer and director Steven Knight (the author of “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Eastern Promises”) wanted to do something unconventional when he came up with idea of “Locke,” a film about an ordinary man (Tom Hardy) driving across England while dealing with personal and professional crises via speakerphone. What’s unique is that the entire story is told from within the car, seemingly in real time. It was an idea so unique, Knight found, that some car companies didn’t want any part of it.

Where did the idea to do such a contained setting for a film come from?

I’d just finished making a conventional film, and a couple of things had happened. One was that I’d noticed how beautiful and hypnotic urban environments at night shot from inside moving vehicles are. You get this moving light show, which I found quite beautiful. At the same time I was trying to take filmmaking back to the very basics of what the job is, which is to get a load of people into a room, turn off the lights an have them engage with a screen. How many other ways are there of doing that? To make life more difficult for myself, I wanted to make the main character the most ordinary person in the world — he’s married, he’s got two kids, he works in construction, with concrete. There is nothing about him that would make the papers. This is a very ordinary tragedy, and I just wondered if audiences would go with it.

And how did you go about getting Tom Hardy involved?

He was quite keen to play a straight role because he’s always larger-than-life monsters or villains or whatever. This is probably his first straight role as an actor. It was Tom who brought the Welsh accent into it because he’s got a friend who’s Welsh, and he said, “He’s a very ordinary, straight person so I’ll do that voice.” The character was always going to be concrete, he was always going to be ordinary, and then Tom invested that with the thing that he brings to every role.

So how did you like the BMW?

It was fine, but originally we were going for a Land Rover, and they didn’t want to do it. Because it’s such a weird concept and weird idea, I think people just thought we were mad. And so we went to BMW. A lot of people have asked, “So did you get some sort of great deal from BMW?” But we didn’t. They just said, “You can have two vehicles for 10 days, and then give them back to us at the end.” That was it. Retrospectively, I wish I had made more of it.

The car comes off very well in the film.

I know! It never breaks down or anything. [Laughs]

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.