Pirates (2021) made its international debut at this year’s SXSW film festival. AIPT was lucky enough to secure an interview with director Reggie Yates and the film’s stars Jordan Peters, Elliot Edusah, and Reda Elazouar. The director and cast were more than happy to give insight into the film and the experience that went into making it. Pirates is a film about three friends who trek from North to South London and everywhere in between as they try and make their way to the biggest New Year’s party in town. Armed with schemes and stuffed into a tiny Peugeot 205, the friends face changes as they prepare for a new century.
Pirates seems like a very personal film and there is a relatability that translates not just to people experiencing adulthood on the brink of the year 2000, but to any young person coming into their own. Reggie Yates shared that he wanted “to tell a story about his London.” Yates takes the audience around London to the places the characters would go, driving around in the Peugeot gives a sense of the world that Cappo, Kidda, and Two Tone live in.
Yates also stated that the characters are drawn from people he has known in life and the actors found a connection to them. Elazouar, who plays Kidda, says, “I’m sure we all know someone like Cappo, Two Tonne or Kidda. Also, drawing from real life experiences and people was crucial to making our characters believable and relatable.” The cast discussed how Yates was open to their ideas and interpretation of the characters.
Edusah felt an instant connection to his character of Cappo. “The script was hilarious from the first read so I couldn’t wait to bring the words to life and flesh out the character. I fell in love with Cappo from the first read. Yeah, I feel like all the characters are rooted in truth, we all used parts of ourselves and our own experiences to bring it to life, especially in moments where Reggie gave us the freedom to improvise and try new things.” Peters confessed that he is not like Two Tone, but sees a version of himself in the character.
Yates and the crew stressed the importance of finding a connection with each other that enabled them to collaborate and build trust. Edusah said,“The environment Reggie created helped us all really get to know each other on a deeper level and be able to be sensitive and vulnerable around each other. We spent a weekend away before we started filming where we bonded . . .I think that really broke the ice and helped us boys get to know each other on a more personal level allowing us to take more risks.”
Peters mentioned the strain of the isolation from Covid and found the weekend away particularly valuable for not only connection with the cast, but to his character. Peters had previously worked with Elazouar on another project. Elazouar said, “We just all clicked at the final audition. I had met Elliot before on another project and there was just this instinctual trust I had with Jordan where I was able to bounce off them so easily. We were all unified under one common goal and that was to make the best film we can.“
SXSW takes place from March 11-March 20. Tickets can be purchased here.
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