One of my favourite filmmakers is British director Paul Greengrass… in fact he’s one of the nicest people in the business. I have been fortunate to meet him on a few occasions and he has always been nothing less than affable, ‘cheerful and deeply untortured’ as Danny Leigh described him in his Financial Times interview.
The most recent occasion was just over a week ago. He was sitting in the BFI having a quiet coffee, before taking part in a special event about his work with broadcaster Mark Kermode. I interrupted the serenity with a sig request on my sketch. He was nothing less than affable, cheerful, even deeply untortured and accommodating.
An Alma Mater of Queen’s College, Cambridge, Paul joined the ITV current affairs programme WORLD IN ACTION in the 1980’s. He co-authored the book SPYCATCHER, with Peter Wright, former assistant director of M15, which the British government tried to ban due to its sensitive content, ensuring its profit and notoriety. Paul’s background in TV journalism marks his signature visual style, what he calls ‘the unknowing camera’ – often hand-held, never keeping pace with events happening half a second ahead. He makes action thrillers with brains and startling realism, inspired by real-world events such as UNITED 93, his 2006 film about the fate of United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.
Paul was honoured with an Oscar nomination and won the BAFTA for his direction. He was also nominated for a Writers Guild Award for the original screenplay. Paul’s latest film, 22 JULY, based on Norway’s largest terrorist attack is set to be Netflix biggest global theatrical release.