Candice is a short film about what happens when we get talking to strangers in
the modern urban jungle and how we build new relationships in a world where
we have never been more connected electronically, but have never been more
isolated socially. The film follows Candice, a lonely thirty something, around East London over the course of one fateful night as she learns that first impressions aren’t always everything.
Candice, written by Alexei Slater is everything that I find fascinating about twenty-first century London. Its story of a late thirties singleton Candice played by Olivia Poulet, walking home, whilst being followed by a rather daunting figure of Greg, played by Nicholas Pinnock. Both actors were first choice and both play their respective roles perfectly. Olivia has this wonderful comic timing that really brings a breath of fresh air to her character. Like all of us, she wants the best out of life, she is successful and flawed at the same time. A dreamer who is watching her life fly off in one direction and her personal life sink in the other direction. As a successful woman in her late thirties, with forty approaching, where is she heading in this world? What does she want, what is her legacy, how does she feel now the man in her life has left her?
These are all interesting questions that we all face at a certain point in our lives. I never wanted to draw to heavily on the man that has left her, more on the repercussions of someone who thought she had found balance and suddenly that balance is pulled abruptly from underneath her. I drew a lot of inspiration from a friend of mine Nikki, who is in her late thirties and a successful lawyer. Now she is starting to wonder what is next, does she want children for example? She met a man, they broke up and it left her wondering if it is too late to start a family? I find these questions in both women and men very interesting. It’s part of the natural cycle of our life that comes in stages, but nowadays the goal posts have shifted, the stages are longer and later. But by how much?
And then we have Greg; calm, quiet, dependable. What I like about Nicholas Pinnock is that he’s such an imposing figure, tall strong and full of charisma. I wanted to really play some of that down. Have a character that appears to have all these attributes but is actually quite layered. He’ll pull out a glass of milk from the fridge instead of a bottle of beer. He’s a man who enjoys his own company, has that energy and can be fiery if need-be but is mild mannered. Maybe life has taught him a few lessons and this is a result of a person mauled over time, shaped by events in his past. He’s a man who knows who he is and he content with that, happy and enjoying the ride. So we have these two dynamic characters puling from either ends, what happens when they talk, open up, and share their experiences. This is the film I was so keen to explore with Alexei, Olivia and Nicholas and really proud of the result.
A part of the script I loved most was looking at flipping our perception of the sexes. This can be seen best in the cafe. Candice has a very clichéd masculine approach to eating and behaving, whilst Greg is quite feminine in his retort to Candice. However this is also a film about gentrification. Two characters that are not from the area, both successful and live in East London, it’s playing upon out clichés and then flipping them on their head. That’s what I love about these types of stories; you can lure the audience into a false sense of security and then flip that feel. For me, the ideal scenario is ‘Angela’ the mannequin. I wanted a ‘third’ character someone who never talks but can interlink these two characters. Similar to the mannequin who has such a crucial part to play in the Time Machine when George Wells is watching history change through her fashion, Angela is someone I can imagine has been on this road for a while, changing outfits changing styles, changing her design itself. Maybe countless people talk to her too? She’s a little like a pet, will listen but never answer back. The perfect listener who will never answer back, debate, discuss, challenge.
Finally, I see East London as the fourth character. Its charm, its gentrification, its dark road flanked by old school council houses one side and posh new builds the other. My family comes from the East and I grew up a little further East. It’s a place I find fascinating, especially since the Olympics where regeneration has massively changed the area. But, like everywhere some things change and some don’t and that’s one key aspect here for me too. It’s set in the East but really it’s any modern city in the world these days. Never fully asleep, shaped by history and ultimately home to a lot of people. It may be an adopted home, but it`s still a home.