Allen and Albert Hughes have been heralded as the most influential
African-American filmmakers working in Hollywood today. Review Graveyard caught up with the twin brothers (Albert
is the cinematographer, Allen directs the actors) from
Detroit as their latest movie, From
is released on Rental DVD and Video from 20th Century Fox...
ReviewGraveyard: What made you want to do a Jack The Ripper movie?
Hughes: We had the same fascination that everyone has with
the Ripper because we have never really discovered the identity
of the murderer. A lot of the films in the past were told
from an upper class British perspective and a lot of the facts
that were known were not put into the story. We wanted to
make a movie that people would remember and with Johnny Depp
who is a good actor. We also had an opportunity to include
information that had been around of years but had been overlooked
in other Ripper films.
Your Whitechapel is utterly convincing yet you created it
in Prague. Why?
There was a consideration about shooting in England but it
was not serious because that would have been very expensive.
Too much had changed in the area of London where the murders
happened. We went out to the Czech Republic and the architecture
was very much like England of the Ripper's time.
had six day weeks and it was cold at night in Prague and we
only had three and a half hours of daylight. So it was pretty
tough and in the end we got it done. That was the toughest
part that six week stretch.
Were you tempted to make From Hell an even more bloody
film than it is?
Our plan from the outset was to take a note from Hitchcock
that less is more. Hopefully people feel the horror from better
film making than more direct horror. In the end we were happy
with what we did.
Johnny Depp is inspired casting. Was he always the first choice?
Not originally. We had talked with a few other actors and
somebody told us that Johnny was interested. So a meeting
was set up and we saw he was totally interested. He had all
these Ripper books from childhood. But he was booked on another
gig, Don Quixote. But that film fell apart and after
that it was plain sailing. Johnny felt like a brother, we
have a lot of respect for the guy.
There also seems great chemistry between Johnny and Robbie
Robbie is a guy who will get on with anyone. When we cut there
was so much funny stuff going on between Robbie and Johnny.
They were the perfect comedy team off camera.
Ian Holm brings great subtlety to his role, doesn't he?
We had seen the Madness Of King George and originally
Nigel Hawthorne was to play Gull. But Ian had to come in when
Nigel was not available. A week in we knew that Ian packed
a punch. He brought things that we never thought the role
Did you always think this was a film that could interest guys
from your background?
AH: It's not that hard for somebody to make a reality wise
street film whether you are black or white. We grew up in
the ghetto but were no different from white kids who grew
up in better neighbourhoods. The main thing is that a lot
of these films have been told from an older, British view.
With us it was quite easy to do it if we did our research.
It's said you have ghetto blasters playing when you make a
That's true. It started on our first movie so that we don't
get bored between takes. It creates a relaxed, party atmosphere.
We played a lot of soul oldies and hip hop.
We don't now. I wish we did. We are not into developing two
or three things at the same time. We would like to do another
period piece in Europe.
thanks to Louise Gray at DSA
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