Bohemian Londoners Coming of Age: A Conversation with Sebastian De Souza and Preston Thompson for Kids In Love
Set against the backdrop of an underground, bohemian London, Kids In Love offers a new take on the traditional coming of age story. Drifting through his gap year with its internships and travel plans, Jack (Will Poulter) has always suspected there was more to life than this. A chance encounter with the beautiful and ethereal Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky) and her friends, including free spirited Viola (Cara Delevingne), swerves his life radically off course. She is like no one he’s ever met before, and he quickly becomes caught up in a whirlwind of all-day parties and wild nights in London’s hidden dives with her charismatic friends. Giving up everything to follow Evelyn and her hedonistic lifestyle, it takes Jack a while to realise what he’s leaving behind, that love isn’t a game you want to lose and that these people might not be the kindred spirits he first thought. The film features scenes from the iconic Notting Hill Carnival as well as hip Soho nightclub, The Box.
The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali spoke to Sebastian De Souza and Preston Thompson ahead of the release of Kids In Love on Friday. They tell us about getting into the mindset of their characters, casting Cara Delevingne and what the inspiration was for the film…
Where did the inspiration for Kids in Love come from?
Sebastian: I’ll let Preston answer that question because he was the one that brought the idea to the fore.
Preston: About four years ago, I saw the image drifting through some blogs of ‘we we’re just Kids in Love’ and I thought how great would it be to do a love story and I talked to Seb about it and we both had references of growing up, spending a lot of time in the same area.
We talked about how the best way related to us was and we found it, what we we’re going through at that time was this thing of, “holy shit what am I going to do next” and the pressures we felt at the time, what’s our next step.. We thought wouldn’t it be good, that hopefully a realistic falling in love story against the backdrop of all this insecurity about what the future holds and it sort of went from there really.
The chemistry between the principal cast is infectious, it made me smile, can you talk about the casting of that group?
Preston: Yeah it was a fairly conventional casting process, but we were very lucky to be involved in and I think beyond casting the film what was really really refreshing and lovely for us was when we got filming it, we certainly all felt like old friends, some of us where friends, some of us weren’t and the chemistry you see on screen is fairly genuine and developed over a period of weeks and months leading up to that.
Sebastian: In some cases, years, some of us knew each other from a long time before, and we had the opportunity to make a film with seven of the principal cast being between the ages of 19 and 22. A lot of us, I know for instance, myself, Gala, Cara, we were doing our first proper roles, leading roles in the movie and so we were just, excitement about all getting the chance to do this. So we were all having a great time running around doing our thing.
Yeah it definitely does come through on screen, I was smiling and those scenes just made me smile. I was never one for the club scene, with my own age, I was never one for the club scene but all those sequences when the group was together just made me smile and it just took you along the ride.
Speaking about the cast, you cast Cara Delevingne before she blew up into the actress she is today, what was it about her that her perfect to embody Viola?
Preston: The truth of it was, our casting director Olivia Scott-Webb whose fantastic, Cara was on a list with other actresses and she came in and she was just the best, she was incredibly natural on camera.
Every scene with her sisters, we wanted a free flowing gracefulness that didn’t feel put on, and I think everyone who saw her tape and Chris the producer who made the eventual the decision was blown away by her tape.
It wasn’t really a thought of (can’t make out next few words) there were just no requirements in terms of casting, it was just cast the best person for the job, and she was the best person for that part, she totally embodied that sort of graceful carelessness.
Yeah she does and she’s wonderful, I enjoy her in everything that I’ve seen her in and I’m really looking forward to seeing her Suicide Squad.
Preston: Yeah we are too. Really excited about that movie.
Speaking about your own characters, Sebastian you play Milo and Preston you play Cassisus, what did you draw on to get into the mindset of these characters?
Sebastian: I think that, we hoped and dreamed that when we were writing these characters that we might get the opportunity to play them, then we had conversations with Olivia the casting director, the producers and most importantly Chris the director of the movie, it seemed like a kind of logical next step in the sense that we did draw quite a lot on perhaps people we knew, people we found interesting and so you know far from being autobiographical, at least for me I can’t speak for Preston, the characters where very interesting to play. To play characters that we had thought for maybe six months previously and thought about at length and I think it was a kind of very interesting opportunity because one doesn’t get the opportunity to do that, one just get’s given a script and a character to play.
Preston: I always knew Seb has been recognised as being fantastic actor, I on the other hand have not worked, So I was slightly more sceptical that I would actually be allowed to be in it, and the part that I was playing it came from a love of those sort of 90s, two films in particular; Diner and Swingers, I love the relationships between the principles in those films and I was lucky enough to do the read-through’s until we had cast someone proper and eventually when filming, we hadn’t cast anyone proper.
Well you do a wonderful job. There’s kind of a rivalry between Milo and Jack, not to give too much away, but it doesn’t play out the way in which you would expect. Was that a conscious decision?
Preston: How did you expect it to play out?
Well the cliché would be that Milo and Jack would end up coming to blows, but it doesn’t go that way.
Sebastian: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, because I think in earlier drafts we had them coming to blows, but I think that it’s struck us down the line and it was a much more interesting dynamic if these two characters actually ended up kind of encircling each other but not ever really having to have that conversation. I really don’t think that they necessarily, I think certainly from Milo’s point of view, I don’t think it’s a question of hating Jack, I think it’s a question of understanding each other and in that there’s a lot to be said about what it’s about and understanding these two different worlds and where these people come from.
Preston: I think it’s something much truthful in a way, I think we boiled it down away from cliché to actually dealing with these people and I hope it comes across as actually sort of reality of that complicated situation, Milo gets a whiff of it and he get’s a bit protective, but he doesn’t actually… not like him walking in on… so he’s slightly in the dark about it. When the characters meet they almost nod to each other in that way, that they both by the end sort of totally understand each other.
Cool yeah. I’m sure in the back his mind he did actually know (laughs)
Preston: Yeah. Maybe.
Sebastian: He did actually know.
Yeah he’s quite on the ball. Speaking of your director Chris Foggin, what made him the perfect choice to helm the film?
Sebastian: We got tasked with watching lots of short films, we though it would be perfect for it to done by a young director, who had shone in terms of short films they had made, and we watched a huge amount of short films, Chris had done one with Judi ench and James Corden and making short films is incredibly hard to have satisfying beginning, middle and end and actually convey story and both of Chris’s films where both surprising and just such clear beginning, middle and end and they were just brilliant, brilliant films and we watched and couldn’t believe they where only ten minutes, you know what I mean, you got all of that in ten minutes, and we met him and he was so enthusiastic and such a clear vision for what he wanted to achieve with it, that it became really easy. We met a few directors, but soon as we sat down with Chris he just seemed like the perfect fit for it.
Wonderful, he’s got a glittering career ahead of him he really does.
Sebastian: For sure.
As do you both. Who inspires you in the industry?
Sebastian: Lots of people, just give him three names…
Preston: I don’t know if I can give you just three names
Sebastian: I don’t think I’ll ever get there but certainly someone who has the ability to tell a story, and the ability to write dialogue and I also love the quirkiness of Wes Anderson. I also love films like Wedding Crashers that are just the perfect, funny, perfectly rounded story. So there are loads and loads of people that inspire me and that list continues to grow on a daily basis.
Preston: One of the films that really inspired me is a Jonathan Demme film, Something Wild starring Jeff Daniels, that had such great energy to it and something like that is, Swingers is my favourite Doug Liman film those come to mind. And obviously the mecha is The Graduate; but wee can’t say that too loudly.
You both have glittering careers ahead of you, what do you have next, what is up next for both of you?
Preston: Somehow I got myself into writing a novel, which I’m about finished, that’s something we might be able to turn into a movie, but that’s what I’m doing at the moment.
Can you tell us anything about that?
Preston: I’m writing a few things at different stages, and in that process of “fingers crossed” it will all come together, hopefully make it a film at some point so I’m afraid I can’t give you a concrete answer on that, other than it’s something that I hope comes to fruition, I think things are going to come to fruition very soon but until that happens, we’ll let you know, you’ll be the first to know.
KIDS IN LOVE HITS CINEMAS ON FRIDAY AUGUST 26