IFC Films releases The Angels' Share at Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on April 12th, 2013.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you find the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them emotionally and intellectually?
Paul Laverty: It's a question that I've been wrestling with. I just finished a screenplay the other day. It's always a delicate balance because you could very easily go off-story and give too much information or not enough information. If it's took whacky, it becomes incredible. At the same time, you want to go deep enough so that you find the contradictions and make it truthful. So, I think it's always a question of instinct and judgement in the moment. What you always have to do is to remain faithful to the premise and faithful to the characters. If you start changing things to try and suit what an audience might like, I think that's the road to hell, really. The whole thing would just fall apart. You've got to feel that the characters are real people, and then the questions come afterwards.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think that it's fair and accurate to classify The Angels' Share as a comedy?
PL: I think that the word "genre" is a very dangerous word because there's something crude about it. It's as if the human experience is only in one tone. I think what's interesting about life is that I could be telling you jokes and then go back to my partner and have a tragedy. Then I'd have another relationship with my child and then at work where I might have great workmates and some total bastards. All around in one day, you can live extremes. It's good that a film, in a sense, isn't just stuck in one tone. Like, for example, Sweet Sixteen and My Name is Joe, people will remember those as tragedies, but there's a lot of comedy in the middle of them. In the middle of The Angels' Share, although it's called a comedy, there are actually big, existential questions for these kids. I like it when it's not stuck in just one genre. Often, it's a shorthand for very lazy criticism. I think that's a crisis of criticism. People like to put things in boxes and make it convenient. Although this story has a little comedy, in another way it's about a young lad who's going through a crisis in his life. He's about to have a child. When you have a child, you look to the future and projects yourself naturally into it. What's amazing is that you talk to young people like that about that now, many people will tell you that they feel they will never have meaningful work in their lives. What the kid in The Angels' Share wants what's in the universal declaration of human rights. He wants meaningful work, to able to look after his child, to get a home, and to project into the future.