We caught up with the man described by The Raygun magazine as the “DVD king” and by Europe Today as “the Poundland Guy Ritchie” (!) on how his The Krays – Dead Man Walking sequel is coming together.
“We’re getting there!” Sothcott laughs down the phone when I ask him when we can expect to see the eagerly anticipated next chapter in his Krays franchise. “I have hired a great writer called Chris Jolley who has written a ton of micro budget genre films and who was clearly ready to make the step up. Smart guy. I like him. I’m interviewing directors at the minute and putting the cast together. It will follow the same model as the first one – a high profile guest star (and I mean a proper actor like Rita Simons, not a reality person) and an ensemble of familiar faces. We’ll shoot early Spring.”
How are the Hereford Films cast, I ask: “I do it all myself,” Sothcott explains, “usually in consultation with the director but Hereford is a commercial, producer-lead business – its my neck on the line – we’re here to make successful films, plaudits are secondary. I am constantly keeping an eye on actors, watching showreels, talking to agents. I get asked all the time how to get into these films and the answer is simple – if you’re right for the part, chances are you’ll get an audition. If you’re not, all the social media in the world won’t do you any good. Casting is a very tough thing as there’s so much talent out there but I have cast at least two dozen of my own films and I trust my own judgement. I get asked a lot why we use the same familiar faces from TV again and again and the answer is that it’s a commercial judgement – they are good actors, their names and faces have value and get our DVDs on the shelves. But there’s always a substantial amount of new actors (well, new to me anyway) in our films too. In The Krays I gave Charlie Woodward his first film role and what a great decision that was – fantastic actor, he’s going places. Another example – years ago there was a girl who was an extra in a film of mine called Dead Cert: her name is Chloe Farnworth and she now has a blossoming film career here and in LA. A director friend recommended her and I cast her as one of the leads in our horror movie Pentagram. I know actors worry about not being on our radar but trust me they are on mine.”
So in the age of Netflix and Amazon is DVD still a thing? “Oh yes, it really is, particularly for genre films,” says Sothcott, “people are just a bit fussier. You can’t mis-sell audiences with misleading covers and titles – they are too smart and switched on for that and film-makers need to wake up and realise that. The success of The Krays – Dead Man Walking on DVD isn’t a fluke. The quality British gangster films always do well – The Hatton Gardens and the Footsoldiers. The people who buy those films are not dumb and they know which ones are proper.”
And what does he have in store for the future? “I want Hereford Films to become a brand synonymous with quality British genre films. We have ambitious plans to expand our operation and branch out into television too but we all love the British crime stuff and commercially it’s the gift that keeps on giving. So we’re going nowhere except forward.”