London Film Festival 2015

The premiere of ‘Sunset Song’ took place during this years’ BFI London Film Festival and was there to talk to the director and several amazing actors. Present among the actors of ‘Sunset Song’ were Agyness Deyn, Kevin Guthrie and Peter Mullan. The director of this movie is Terence Davies, who also closed the BFI London Film Festival in 2011 with his movie ‘The Deep Blue Sea’.

‘Sunset Song’, the feature adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic 1932 novel, takes us back to the early 20th century to idyllic north-east Scotland where a young woman named Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn) lives with her farming family. She is a beautiful and intelligent young woman with plans which include excelling at her schooling and as a result pursuing a job and career in teaching. But family life has a big impact on her and her religious father (Peter Mullan) has a big influence on not only the decisions that Chris makes, but also on the decisions that the rest of the family makes. He uses his wife as a comfort zone when he needs it, but also for blowing of steam when he is angry, which means beating her up. So, Chris experiences mixed feelings between the resentment for some of the people in her village but on the other hand her love for the magnificent landscape. Despite all the difficult things that are going on, Chris grows into womanhood just as the First World War begins to ruin a generation. Chris and her brother Will (Jack Greenlees) both dream of freedom and escape, which bring along some complications. The appearance of the good-looking, young Ewan Tavendale (Kevin Guthrie) brings joy into her life, until the Great War disturbs that happiness.

Terence Davies tells us that this movie is about the journey of Chris Guthrie from being a schoolgirl, to a mother, to a widow and in the end becoming the voice of Scotland herself. She becomes a symbol for Scotland. Terence saw the series on television in 1971 and since then he has been wanting to do. In the end, it took him 18 years to get it to the screen. He loved the book ever since he was 18. Terence says that when they first started casting, Agyness did an extraordinary audition and he immediately said to the producers that they have found ‘Chris Guthrie’.

London Film Festival 2015

‘I think Sunset Song is one of the greatest novels even written in Scotland. What a novel, what a novel!’

– Terence Davies

Kevin says that ‘Sunset Song’ is a stunning novel in the first place. It is a famous script that needs to be taken care of and someone like Terence absolutely took care of it. That is the reason why Kevin signed up to play the role of Ewan Tavendale very quickly. The depth and quality of the material at times made it very challenging to be a part of this movie. Kevin and his colleagues understood the responsibility and ability to tell the story and as a result, especially Agyness and him created a really strong bond. He says that Terence was able to harness that love and respect for each other as individuals and create that bond as characters.

London Film Festival 2015

‘Uncle Terence created such a wonderful vibe on set’ – Kevin Guthrie

Peter Mullan says that the character he was playing is a rather twisted farmer who has allowed his religion to effect his entire being, which makes him not a nice human being and especially not a nice father. Peter feels sorry for him, because he is so tortured. Peter thinks it is easy to play guys like that, because in that way, he can inhabit a different moral. According to Peter, those kind of guys have complete authority in their own world.

London Film Festival 2015

‘As an actor, it is quite easy to play someone who lives in that kind of selfish world’- Peter Mullan

Agyness told us that she read the script and just fell in love with Chris whole heartedly and was dying to play her. She was so honoured when Terence offered her the role. The character of Chris is so strong and brave which was so inspiring for her as a woman. She said that creating a character brings along some difficulties including the fear and the excitement about being part of a production like this one. She strived to make the character as human as possible. Agyness was/is a massively nerdy fan of Terence so when she found out that he was doing this project she would have given her left arm to play the role. She hoped that she could live up to the expectation of the imagination of Terence. Because she loves acting so much, she did not face many difficulties while being a part of this movie. She also mentioned that the difficulty is what makes her love acting even more. The most beautiful thing for her to achieve is to hopefully move the audience with her performance as a strong and powerful woman.

London Film Festival 2015

‘It is this beautiful dance that you do where the character kind of teaches you about yourself’ – Agyness Deyn

Check out our interviews with the director and cast of ‘Sunset Song’ here:

– Terence Davies:

– Kevin Guthrie: 

– Peter Mullan:

– Agyness Deyn:

‘Sunset Song’ will be in the cinema’s on the 4th of December 2015.

Check out all our interviews during the BFI London Film Festival on our YouTube Channel

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