Director Daniel Wolfe and photographer Alex Hulsey on the vast landscape of Yorkshire becoming its own character
On the run from her strict family, rulebreaker Laila dodges a gang of thugs to live that caravan life on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors with her boyfriend Aaron in Catch Me Daddy. Her new life is cut short, however, when her parents sick the thugs to fetch her and return her home. Catch Me Daddy is a thrill-a-minute, and its setting lends itself perfectly to the seat-clinging drama. Director Daniel Wolfe and his on-set photographer Alex Hulsey tell us about Alex’s evocative shots of the street-cast stars – so stunning the pair decided to turn them into a promo book to sell the film in Cannes.
How did you first meet?
Daniel Wolfe: I was working on a James Morrison music video in LA, and the location manager was useless, we just couldn’t get anything done. What was your position again, Alex? Was it a runner, or a PA?
Alex Hulsey: I was an intern, I was working for free, it was my first summer in LA.
Daniel Wolfe: I’d gone out before to write a screenplay, and met Alex then, and so they asked Alex to drive me around. I didn’t realise that driving’s important in LA, so I didn’t drive. There were places we wanted to get into, that the location manager said we couldn’t use – like this amazing diner – and Alex got us in. I was impressed. We kept in touch, and we kept working together.
What inspired the book?
Daniel Wolfe: By the time Catch Me Daddy happened I’d realised Alex was a really good photographer. Everywhere I’d gone the year or two before, Alex had come – for example, we shot in Romania, in a gypsy community there – and he’d taken good photos. So we decided to have him as the on-set photographer for the entire duration, rather than just a few days. So we had a lot of material.
Alex Hulsey: We wanted to get out more of the world that we shot that didn’t have to do with the narrative scenes. We wanted to share more of the stuff you didn’t see in the film, to show what we found up there, the people, the moments. We thought it would be cool to put together a really nice book, something classy to hand out at Cannes, to get across the vibe of what the film’s about.
Daniel Wolfe: When we first showed the powers that be, there was some concern that these weren’t the classic press stills – and there was even some talk of staging some more exciting shots, we were told we would have to go back and reshoot them. And we argued it.
Alex Hulsey: We tried it, we put them back in costume and it just felt staged. It looked like a band photo.
How important is landscape to the film – it’s like a character in itself…
Alex Hulsey: We shot some landscape images but I didn’t feel like I could capture them in the way I wanted to – they were so vast. And we had so many amazing people in front of us, that felt like the way to go. Every extra was handpicked. That said a lot more about the film, through their faces.
Daniel Wolfe: That’s why the book’s the way it is, but in terms of landscape for the film – my brother and I wanted to use the landscape like Sergio Leone had used Spain for the Spaghetti westerns. And we wanted to capture the power of the ancient landscapes.
What was the Cannes experience like?
Daniel Wolfe: It was surreal for me, massively, amazing but surreal.
Alex Hulsey: I didn’t really know how to take it in. Every morning we were laughing, it was sunny and everyone who matters in film was there, we were handing out our book and we were going to see what everyone thought of the film in a couple of days… It was exciting and humbling.
Daniel Wolfe: The morning of the screening, one of Alex’s photos – the one of Anwar holding a baby outside the New Look – ended up as the front cover of Technikart magazine, and that was just everywhere. Anwar was out there, and he was walking around with a copy. It was weird, but great. Just amazing.
Catch Me Daddy is out in cinemas today