An Interview with Robert Llewellyn

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Robert Llewellyn is taking a break on the set of his new film Ashen and the Quest for the Game Child. Instead of his usual mechanoid appearance in Red Dwarf, WUWO is greeted by a smiling humanoid, sporting a lovely bow tie and fetching corduroy trousers.

In a film self touted as ‘Indiana Jones meets Monty Python, bargain hunt and a side salad of road movie’, writer Stuart Ashen and director Riyad Barmania also help us get to grips with this YouTube extravaganza.


Tell me a little about the project?

Robert Llewellyn: It’s challenging the old format of how you make something and that really fills me with hope and vigour for the future.

You’ve brought in crowd funding through Indiegogo, how has that gone?

Stuart Ashen: That’s gone really well. It’s something you have to really prepare beforehand, carefully setting out the perks and what’s going to happen at what level, and how you’re going to tell people about it. You have to have a strong plan and be pushing something people really want to see.

The film will be completely free to watch. How do you feel about piracy?

Stuart: It’s a difficult one, you hear so much conflicting information about it, I mean there are people saying that the more a film is pirated the more it actually sells.
Robert: There are two approaches to piracy – from my generation and from people my age who run massive movie industries. There’s all this ‘it’s criminal’ and it’s stealing’ or ‘this is our content’, you know? Well, Stuart has just made something that has completely bypassed that.

If someone downloads it off YouTube and puts it on a DVD and sells it at a market place then good luck, but what the hell! You can watch it at home anyway.

Are there any restrictions that you’ve seen in this kind of approach to a production?

Riyad Barmania: The creative approach is still the same. When I say I’m making a feature film for online they’re still like “Oh, it’s an online feature film” but I’m hoping that when we show them what we make then they’ll go, “Well that was pretty good.”

Robert, a lot of people who have had the success that you have think they don’t need the internet anymore, but you blog and tweet quite a lot?

Robert: Too much apparently..

You mention on your blog that you travelled 50 miles up the M5 with a screaming Australian in labour. What was that like?

Robert: It took quite along time and it was cold. To put it in some vague context it was my wife giving birth to my son.

So you don’t just pick up Australians?

Robert: No I had met her before. It was very cold and very dark and she can make a lot of noise. It was 3am and my Land Rover was so noisy that the screams and bellows of an extremely healthy Australian were drowned out by the noise of my gearbox.

Would you like to do an episode of Scrapheap Challenge homage to driving your wife up the M5?

Robert: Yes, driving women in labour, I think is a great contest. I think we should drive women in labour to the hospital in varying types of transport. They’re at their most colourful stage at that point.

Stuart: Yes, but logistically difficult.

Robert: It would be hard to time it wouldn’t it? The production management would be a nightmare. “It’s three in the morning get in the car!”

Finally a quick Red Dwarf question: if Lister came out of stasis and was presented with a hologram Margret Thatcher to keep him sane in the depths of space, would Kryten long for Rimmer? 

Robert: Kryten is quite a humanitarian so he would long for Rimmer. Rimmer is much easier to control. Maggie would be terrifying on board Red Dwarf.

Interview by Matthew Cook