Based on a true story, Fisherman's Friends is a romantic-comedy that follows the heartwarming journey of ten Cornish fishermen from Port Isaac who're signed by Universal Records and attain nationwide success with a debut top ten hit album singing Sea Shanties. Directed by Chris Foggin (Kids in Love) and written by Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, and Nick Moorcroft. Chris Foggin gave us an interview on his work directing the feature film, Fisherman's Friends - now available to watch via On Demand and Digital.
Photos courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Film
How were you approached to direct the movie, ‘Fisherman’s Friends’?
I had read the script a few years prior and immediately fell in love with it. Thankfully I had already worked with James Spring the producer in the past and had told him of my passion for the project. When I finally got the call to direct the film, I was so happy and grateful.
How did you find the casting process?
The casting process was a lot of fun. I had previously worked with Daniel Mays and James Purefoy when I was an assistant director, so to work with them again was wonderful. We were fortunate that we had a lovely script, so thankfully we managed to get actors that we all admired and thought would be a great fit for the film.
You’ve previously worked with Cinematographer Simon Tindall on your short film, Friend Request Pending, how was it working with him again for ‘Fishermans’ Friends’?
Simon is such a fantastic person. I have worked with him so many times and we have now developed a great shorthand. I find him incredibly supportive, highly talented and a great person to have on set. I hope we can work together on my next project.
There were plenty of laughs on-screen — was this the script in action, or was there an element of improv on behalf of the actors?
We always had the writers on set during the making of the film, which was great. There would be times where improv was definitely encouraged but we tended to stick with what was on the page. This combination really worked for what we were trying to achieve.
Can you share your experience in shooting on-location in Port Isaac, Cornwall? How did you handle shooting the at-sea scenes? What were your favorite scenes to direct?
Filming in Port Isaac was one of my favorite filming experiences I have ever had. The people in the village were so lovely and friendly and without them, it wouldn't have been possible. The weather was glorious and as a location, we were so lucky to be working there. I had definitely dreaded the scenes at sea, and the night before, I had a sleepless night. Ha. I was so glad when it was all finished, and I am still amazed that Simon didn’t get seasick because all day, he had to look through the lens of the camera. My most enjoyable day was when we filmed, 'Little Liz I Love You' in the church. I love that scene, and that day was my filming highlight.
Which films/directors have had the most impact on your filmmaking, on Fisherman’s Friends, and why?
The main films that inspired me during Fisherman’s Friends were Waking Ned, Full Monty, and Local Hero. They are all incredible films, so I definitely used those as references. I generally always look at feel-good films that I have enjoyed over the years to help get me started. It’s my genre, and as a filmmaker, these are the stories I want to tell.
Best advice for budding filmmakers?
My advice would be to persevere and just keep knocking. Aim to make things that inspire you and surround yourself with people that you like and trust. Tell the stories that you want to tell. Be patient, and always enjoy yourself.