We recently featured Rosco 5’s unsettlingly funny short Open Wide and if you’ve seen that you’ll know the exact kind of humour you’re in store for with any of their wonderfully off kilter shorts (even though the others may not share Open Wide’s surprise ‘happy ending’). Mondeo certainly displays their adsurdist comedy fingerprints and I suggest you watch it before reading our interview as there are spoilers ahead. Definitely best to go in not knowing what’s happening for this one. DN spoke with Mondeo’s Director Behnam Taheri about the Rosco 5 brand of comedy and the benefits of a minimal cast/crew setup.
How did you initially conceive the idea for Mondeo?
In terms of the actual concept, it was along the lines of ‘What if you bumped into your imaginary friend and they grew up to be hot’… That sort of blast-from-the-past scenario but with a silly twist… it’s been on our list of ideas for a while.
Without spoiling anything, there’s a really integral line that changes the whole film and it’s delivered in such a brilliant throwaway fashion, is that something you pointed Kiell to or something he brought?
The script was very much written with this exact cast in mind so, it’s probably a big combination of him and us. Kiell, Sunil and Graham were and are all top notch.
How quick was the turnaround from script to screen?
The script was really quick, we wrote it up the day before the shoot, but the concept had been in a list of ours for months. The shoot itself was just a speedy two hour session. The edit took a little longer because we’re dumb idiots who messed up the sound recording and had to work a lot around our bad sound. We shot it in September and it was finished in November. So, six weeks all in all and then a couple of months sitting on it.
We spoke to you about your last short Open Wide, was there anything you learnt from that film that you brought to Mondeo?
From Open Wide we realised that someone somewhere will find any idea funny. With this film, even more so than Open Wide, there are lots of people who just ‘don’t get it’. But we do. Maybe we’re just crap… but at least we’re also deluded.
We realised that someone somewhere will find any idea funny.
Similarly, have you developed a specific way to writing comedy? How do you approach that?
We try just write anything that we find funny. If anything we keep the script as loose and unpolished as possible, so the actors have to change it and we can sit back and take credit for the talents of others. We always try to shoot in a way that gives us lots of options in the edit but this does mean a lot of the time things are less aesthetically polished… something we should probably work on.
Do you enjoy working with a minimal cast and resources? What are the benefits and challenges of working that way?
Yeah baby, we always aim to have the bare minimum people on set. We shot this with Tony Lucas who is perhaps the most laid back DoP money can’t buy. So, it was just us, him, the cast and top notch Phoebe Bourke who’s technically producing but basically third wheeled on the directing, in a nice way. Drawback is that on this we tried to do it without a sound person and screwed ourselves, recorded windy audio with all three mics on one track so that very much dictated our edit. The benefits are that it’s faster and simpler, the challenges are that you double up on jobs.
Have you got any new projects in the works?
Yeah, lots of stuff, more sketches and shorts, also we’re writing a bunch of longer form stuff and we have an option to a very cool feature script written by Lee Hall.
Mondeo is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.