This week I watch Last Chance Harvey on DVD and really enjoyed it and wondered who wrote the script that attracted the acting talents of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Turns out it was Joel Hopkins who also directed the film.
Though I know little of his life story, what I do know shows the difficulties of this business. Hopkins was born in London in 1970 and attended NYU where his student film Jorge won NYU’s Wasserman Award which provided him with funds to make his first feature film in 2001, Jump Tomorrow. In 2002 he was named the Most Promising Newcomer by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
So just a few years ago Hopkins was an award winning filmmaker from NYU with a feature film that was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Many filmmakers would sell their souls to be in that position. So why did it take Hopkins another seven years before he released another film?
“Quite often the second one is sometimes harder than the first…For whatever reason, I’d been attached to films that haven’t happened, as a director. I’ve had scripts I’ve written that have almost happened, but you make your first feature and you just assume the next one will be easier, but it’s kind of not, unless you have an absolute blow-out success and someone will write a check for pretty much whatever you want to do. And it’s not the case. You kind of have to start from scratch really.”
ComingSoon.net interview with Edward Douglas
Last Chance Harvey is not a great film, but it is well written and has some wonderful moments in it and it gives two fine actors a chance to do something you don’t see enough of these days—a chance to act. I hope it’s not another seven years before Hopkins makes another film.