It’s safe to say that there’s never been a film like Steven Knight’s “Locke.”
Taking place over the course of a single eventful night in the life of Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy, rocking a Welsh accent), a man on the verge of losing it all (his job, his wife, his sanity), “Locke” is entirely set within the confines of a souped up BMW driving on the M6 motorway in England.
Shot in just a mere week, after one week of rehearsals, Knight had Hardy act out the 90-page script in its entirety for every take, with cameras stationed both inside and outside the vehicle that was being pulled along on the back of a low-loader, where Knight was stationed. Those who call in to speak with Locke over the course of the film (including Olivia Coleman as Locke’s mistress, and “Sherlock” star Andrew Scott as his work subordinate) did so in real-time from a conference room nearby.
As Knight and Hardy revealed to Indiewire this week in New York, the short shooting schedule wasn’t a fun challenge they set for themselves — the crunch was out of necessity. The two had been wanting to work with each other for four or so years before Knight pitched “Locke” to Hardy. But by the time the opportunity arose for the two friends to collaborate, Hardy’s schedule was jam-packed (the “Dark Knight Rises” star currently has three films in post-production phase, including George Miller’s eagerly anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road”). Hardy could only spare two weeks.
“Everybody said, ‘No you can’t make that [movie] — it’s too simple,” Knight recalled. “But because we had
time constraints, it was easily arguable to just shoot
it. So we put three cameras in the car, and just set off and did it,
almost naively, chronologically from beginning to end every
night, almost as if it was a theater piece.”
Despite the tight shooting schedule and challenging nature of the shoot, Knight called the film “charmed from the beginning.” “In terms of budget, in terms of everything it worked. It was a burst of excitement and energy, and I think that translates onto the screen.”
Still, Hardy did have some reservations about the process. “It was quite an elaborate leap,” Hardy said. “It began as a 30-page script that turned to 90-pages. That wasn’t the concern. [The concern] was, can we shoot it to a level at which we could all be happy, to a high standard with makes it a worthy endeavor?”
By all accounts, “Locke” proved to be one for both Hardy and Knight. Shortly following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the film was acquired by hot distribution company A24, home to hip, edgy fare like “Spring Breakers” and “Under the Skin,” who released it into theaters today.