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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Hyena stars turn out for premiere

Published 18/06/2014 | 22:57

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Stephen Graham is one of the stars of Hyena

The stars of London-set crime thriller Hyena turned out for its premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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The second feature by British director Gerard Johnson follows the downward spiral of a corrupt detective played by Peter Ferdinando.

The cousins attended the red carpet event at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre, where they said Hyena audiences would see a different side to west London.

Ferdinando said: "Even though it's about quite a horrid world of crime and corruption, the film is quite beautiful to look at. London is utilised beautifully, especially west London, where the film is set.

"You don't see many films shot in west London, you see the Richard Curtis movies - Notting Hill - but not like this. You'll find crime in every pocket of London."

He described the film, due for UK release in October, as "brutal but truthful - it will make people think".

Johnson said: "I think London is such a vibrant city that's underused in most films. W hereas my first film (Tony, released in 2009) focused on east London, this focuses on west London, which is predominantly used for romantic comedies. I wanted to show there is a different side to west London."

Hyena revolves around Michael Logan (Ferdinando), a corrupt drug squad detective whose world begins collapsing as he struggles with an influx of brutal Albanian gangsters on to the London crime scene.

It also stars Stephen Graham, who has previously had roles in Guy Ritchie's Snatch, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York and This Is England directed by Shane Meadows.

More recently he has played Al Capone in the acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Graham said he signed up to Hyena after seeing Johnson's debut film Tony, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) five years ago.

He said: " An amazing casting director called Des Hamilton called me up and told me about the script and the part Gerard wanted me to play.

"Des sent me Tony, which blew me away. Straight away, without reading the script actually, I said 'yes sign me up, I want to do it'.

"He's an amazing director, he thinks out of the box. It's the kind of talent we've been waiting for. Since Shane we needed someone to come along who understands this kind of world. It's been a pleasure to work with him.

"We have this great tradition in Britain where we make these real films. If you don't like it, you don't like it, but it'll make you think."

EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara said: "It's a violent film but a beautifully stylish film, with a wonderful sense of pace, of location, of colour. It's beautifully shot, with wonderful performances by everybody.

"I think it's a fabulous film that affirms the value of cinema that we try to stand for."

Hyena will join eight other British films in competing for the £20,000 Michael Powell Award at the festival which runs to June 29.

More than 44,000 people attended screenings at last year's event.

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