Nothing Man: An Interview with Filmmaker Stephen Gallacher

Nothing Man
“Nothing Man” is a new thriller by Stephen Gallacher, a Blackpool-bred filmmaker.

“Nothing Man” is a new thriller by Stephen Gallacher, a Blackpool-bred filmmaker. Stephen started his career working as part of the crew on a number of high-profile TV series and films, including “Downton Abbey” and “Rogue One”. In between working a day job as an assistant director, Gallacher managed to shoot his own film – the revenge thriller “Nothing Man”, which is released on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures this month. He recently discussed the film via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM):  Where is home, Stephen?

Stephen Gallacher (SG): I was born and raised in Blackpool, I spent a lot of time in York from eighteen to twenty-five but I now have to say London is home, I’ve been here seven years and it’s where my career took off.

MM: And when did your career kick off?

SG: Realistically when I was at university and started working on peoples projects including working with Brady Hood who now directs “Top Boy,” but I guess my main break into the industry was thanks to Chris Croucher on Downton Abby where I got a job as a runner, that was when I was twenty four. Chris then wrote “Unexpected Item” which I directed recently and starred Olivia Colman so I’m very grateful to him. Also, Bart Ruspoli who took me under his wing years ago and also exec’d “Nothing Man.” Really it’s been just over ten years since I’d say I’ve been working in the industry.  

MM: What was it about movies that had you jumping to be a part of them?

SG: My dad mainly, he introduced me to “Star Wars” and “ET” and “Indiana Jones” and everything else, it was the mystery, the stories, the people. Jim Carrey and Robin Williams made me want to be an actor, and Spielberg and Lucas made me want to direct. I loved seeing the spectacle, and I loved ‘setting up’ my toys when I was a kid, creating movie scenes. Just knowing the only thing stopping you creating something was your own imagination, that’s what I loved about movies.  

MM: And was it always about directing for you or did you wear other hats earlier in your career?

SG: I still wear many hats, my day job is assistant directing, I occasionally dip the toe into acting and I love writing, so I like to mix it up, directing is where my heart is, being on set, playing with your toys that’s where the magic happens and that’s where you have the most fun.

MM: “Nothing Man” is both serious and fun – for lack of a better of word. Is it hard to weave a very sombre, serious real-world tale into an action thriller?

SG: Of course it is; we really wanted to capture something that could be grounded in reality but also keep it very over the top too. In a similar vein to Rambo and films like that, that take a very serious issue but then take it to the extreme.

MM: Did any other films serve as inspiration?

SG: “Dead Man’s Shoes” and “Memento” are huge influences on this film, its where we started from and what made us want to make a film like this.

MM: Was the cast onboard early?

SG: We had a couple of cast on board quite early, we knew we wanted some people but we also held open auditions too. We managed to find some incredible people and Dan was our favourite and completely owned Noam. All that cast have remained firm friends and they were so great to work with.

MM: Your lead is quite a complex, not-at-all perfect person. How hard was it to not right him as an out-and-out good guy?

SG: It’s not too hard, and that’s why we enjoyed it, we wanted an anti-hero, that was a big part of this, no one is perfect so having him be morally ambiguous and knowing he’s done bad things was quite fun. It’s about redemption after all.

MM: Do you think the film will translate well to the U.S?

SG: I think so, lots of people love a revenge story especially one with redemption, it’s a universal story so I think it’ll play very well over there.  

MM: What’s next for you?

SG: I have quite a few projects in development, and I have my recent short film Unexpected Item out on amazon so now its writing and getting the next projects funded. We have a low-fi Sci-Fi film that is really fun and interesting and a drama in the works so I’m excited to get them made.