14 NOV 2022

Hugo Blick: “The Western is the purest form of cinema”

Writer and director Hugo Blick talks about its latest project, "The English," a Western produced by Drama Republic and Eight Rooks, in association with All3Media International.

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Hugo Blick

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During the last edition of Mipcom Cannes, All3Media International hosted a special red carpet screening of the Western "The English," which was attended by leads Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer, and also by its writer and director, Hugo Blick. "The English" is produced by Drama Republic and Eight Rooks for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer in the UK and Prime Video in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in association with All3Media International, which is also the distributor for the six-part series.

Premiered on November 11, the show takes the core themes of identity and revenge to tell a uniquely compelling parable on race, love, and power. An aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), and Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer) came together in 1890 mid-America to cross a violent landscape built on dreams and blood. Both of them have a clear sense of their destiny, but neither is aware that it is rooted in a shared past. They must face increasingly terrifying obstacles that will test them to their cores, physically and psychologically. But as each obstacle is overcome, it draws them closer to their ultimate destination: the new town of Hoxem, Wyoming. It is here, after an investigation by the local sheriff and a young widow into a series of bizarre and macabre unsolved murders, that the full extent of their intertwined history will be truly understood, and they will come face to face with the future they must live.

“The Western is the purest form of cinema. It is usually one man in a big space, very elemental. The bigger the space, the more psychosocially pressurizing the story is. This guy is against everything, all of the odds are against him and he is going to have to go through the story and win out. The difference with our story is that it is the same theme regarding size, scale and that pressure, but it has a woman and a Native-American in the lead. In a Western, both positions are very rare and almost unique,”  Hugo Blick told Señal News.

In addition to the captivating story, photography is one of the highlights of "The English," a job that was not taken lightly and that, according to its creator, took months to prepare. “A Western is all about lighting. Because of the pandemic, we really had time to investigate about the history of the genre, and we were very certain and aware of what we wanted to achieve when we were able to go out into the locations. We had lots of preparation time and clarity about what we were trying to say. I hope that certainty and confidence have come across in the finished product,”  Blick said.

Blick also referred to the cast, which apart from Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer includes Stephen Rea, Valerie Pachner, Rafe Spall, Tom Hughes, Toby Jones, and Ciarán Hinds. “It was very important for me to engage in the genre. This is not a piece of a documentary or social realism; it is a piece of genre exploration. All I wanted or hoped to achieve is to put a humanistic, heroic, epic character on the screen played by Chaske Spencer, a Native-American, in that role. I think we completely nailed that cinematic charisma with Chaske,”  he assured.

All3Media International has already secured several presales for the title in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In detail, deals have been agreed with Canal+ in France; Disney+ in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg; Prime Video in the Nordics; HBO Max in Latin America the CEE region, Spain and Portugal; Deutsche Telekom / Magenta TV in Germany; Cosmote in Greece; Pumpkin Film in China; and Naver Webtoon in South Korea.

By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo

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