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Louis Lagayette & Edward Akrout on new film Trendy – words Charlotte Jablonski
French director Louis Lagayette and actor Edward Akrout are deep in conversation. As they sit in the member’s club of Hotel Cafe Royal in Piccadilly Circus, they switch between their mother tongue and English, each with affected accents.
Louis sounds slightly Mancunian, which he says he picked up from his friend and director of photography on his latest film, and Edward has a trained Queen’s English from his time at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
The pair are debuting Trendy in the official selection at the Raindance Film Festival. The independent film is a social thriller written and directed by Lagayette that stars Akrout, Lachlan Nieboer, Alan Ford and Haluk Bilginer. I joined the gentlemen to discuss cinema and their thoughts on indie filmmaking.
Lagayette is 25, ambitious and fresh-faced. After being raised in Paris, he moved to the UK to study film at Queen Mary University. This is his first feature following a series of music videos and shorts. Akrout is 10 years his senior, and the fellow Parisian has a proficient body of work in television, theatre and film. Lagayette is quick to sound off about Akrout’s acting abilities, specifically his gift for improvising on set. “One of the best parts of the film is when Ed went completely off book. He brought the scene to life.”
Edward Akrout earned himself a writing credit for this improvisation in the film. He adds, “It takes a selfless and trusting director to give you that opportunity.”
Regarding their first meeting, Lagayette recalls the casting process. “Edward was the last person to be cast in the film, which is surprising as he has a leading role. But initially, our producer was meant to play his part, and it wasn’t until the week before filming when we got everyone in the room that we learned it just didn’t work. We needed someone else.”
So Akrout took the audition room by charge and was confirmed immediately. Akrout laughs that it was “most likely due to the fact that production had already started!”
“No! You blew us away.” Lagayette confirms. It’s evident that there’s a sort of brotherly love between them.
It took Lagayette roughly two years to write the script and another three to gather the funding. The project was shot over six weeks beginning in May 2016 and involved over sixty sets in various interior and exterior locations across London.
The psychological drama follows Richard (Lachlan Nieboer), a school teacher who moves to present-day London to escape a recent allegation against a former student. The plot seizes audience with a gripping turn of events that’s anything but expected. Drug-filled basement raves and dog fights make the audience hold onto their seats as tension and violence rise, matched with a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack of techno and house music. With the film set in the East-End, it seemed only right to announce the world premiere at Raindance before hitting the international festival circuit.
When asked how they feel about the production now that it’s finished. “I haven’t seen it yet!” Akrout exclaims, while Lagayette smiles and says, “I can’t wait to see your reaction in the cinema.” With sold out screenings, I’ll have to wait for the wide release like most eager fans.
Louis Lagayette & Edward Akrout on new independent film Trendy – words Charlotte Jablonski