Interview with MARCH 2024 Winner: Guy Nicholls

When is it the best time of the year for a good murder mystery? I don’t know the answer to that question; for me personally – anytime! Having said that, March has been an excellent month for that, as our Film of the Month winner provided us with an exciting, thrilling and layered whodunit – ‘Treble Me This‘. It was a busy month for me, so with some delay, I had a chat with our winning director, Guy Nichols.

JL: Congratulations for the wonderful achievement! We love a good murder mystery here at TMFF, and Treble Me This definitely delivers on this front!

GN: Thank you, and thank you so much for the recognition and awards, it is greatly appreciated. We are glad you enjoyed ‘Treble’ and we have had an excellent experience with TMFF!

JL: Quite a layered story, one that also won our Best Screenplay award! What drove you to write this film?

GN: I’ve wanted to do a murder mystery for a while, once we knew we were able to work at the wonderful Abbots Grange, a very ‘Cluedo style’ guest house, it had to happen. I like to write a few twists and turns in my material, after creating five award winning crime dramas with a few unexpected reveals, it felt right. I had the initial concept of three crime scenes overlapping, with all the connections not being as straight forward as it seems watching it for the first time. I want to let the audience also play a part in working the film out, having to puzzle it together through non linear story telling, while sticking with the classic murder mystery three act story structure. I also wanted our Detective to be wrong, the murder is usually solved by the end, I wanted to go against that. It was also a great opportunity to play with a few characters on different levels, relationships and genres.

JL: Beyond the twists and turns, we really enjoyed the sharp social commentary here. How difficult is it to seamlessly insert such layers to the story, while making sure it doesn’t feel forced?

GN: The main thing for me was that everything has it’s consequence and characters actions ripple through other stories, good or bad, all being in very different chapters in their lives and very different people. We had a large ensemble cast with many characters which is always a joy having multiple perspectives, emotions and views on the world, it was fun using recurring objects and materials, seeing how each character would act or care for it. It’s all in the script and performance, making it as smooth and real as possible, while hitting those important beats as naturally as you can.

JL: Any sources of inspiration for your film – books, films, directors?

GN: Not necessarily on the murder mystery genre, but mystery and crime are always an excellent combination, plot twists done right are some of my favorite stories. I have been hugely influenced in genre, character, dialogue and non linear structures by the likes of Guy Richie and Quentin Tarantino. Paul Thomas Anderson is way up there, in every aspect of his film making. Also Scorsese and Aronofsky need a shout out. I think ‘Johnathan Creek’ also played a part in this, being a British mystery, usually surrounding a guest house and featuring the beautiful ‘Danse Macabre’ for the theme, we definitely drew inspiration from.

JL: And since we’re on this topic – any favourite murder mystery films you’ve seen recently?

GN: Not of recent, but some of my favorites that come to mind are ‘Seven’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Shutter Island’

JL: Christian also grabbed our Best Actor award, was it your first time working with him, and how was your experience?

GN: Christian and I met through White Deer Film Festival a few years ago, we both watched each others projects we were working on at the time and enjoyed what we had both seen, we have worked together ever since. Every now and then you meet someone who really ‘gets it’ and understands your pen, he likes to look into the characters as much as I do writing them, adding a lot of his own ideas all the way through the process. We spend plenty of time before shooting on zoom calls ect, talking about the scripts and characters. We made ‘Two Wrongs Make One Right’ in 2022, where he played the lead role, winning several awards for his performance. I always had him in mind for the Detective in ‘Treble Me This’, which in ways makes it easier to write a character for someone you know and have worked with before, an absolute joy on and off camera.

JL: Are you working on anything else at the moment?

GN: Yes, I am currently writing my first feature film script and looking into different aspects of funding opportunities. It will be an adaption of our first award winning short film, ‘An Eye for an Artisan’, pre production is well under way.

JL: Thanks again for your time, hope to see more of your work in the near future!

GN: Cheers TMFF, it’s been an absolute pleasure being a part of your festival. Thank you for the awards and time given to ‘Treble Me This’.



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