13. The Station Agent with Kat Brown Transcript

[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Music]

SAM:   0:20 Hello, I'm Sam Clements and welcome to the 90 Minutes or Less Film Fest. This is a podcast that celebrates films with a 90 minute or less runtime and is entirely curated by guests on this podcast. Today we're joined by Kat Brown, freelance arts and lifestyle journalist for publications such as The Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, and Pilot. She is also a podcast presenter and producer, and an Archers mega fan. Hello Kat.

KAT:  0:45 Hello.

SAM:  0:46 Thank you for joining us on the pod.

KAT:  0:48 I'm absolutely delighted short films are my joy.

SAM:   0:51 It's fun, right? It's like I think it's essential today. There's so much, many things to watch.

KAT:  0:55 There's so many things to watch. And also it just feels like editors have either got slacker or we are now doomed to be in the cinema for minimum two and a half hours every time we go in and with that, and adverts and trailers and credits just no, no no!.

SAM:   1:10 There's definitely a consensus which is, no, all films should be two hours and 20 minutes long, definitely a certain type of film.

KAT:  1:15 I feel like we've got carried away with the fact that all films must now be The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And they really just don't.

SAM:   1:22 Apart from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

KAT:  1:24 Keep it sacred.

SAM:   1:25 So you are an Archers mega fan.

KAT:  1:27 I am. We are tragically sitting here in my sitting room with my cat, Ambridge, named after the village in The Archers and in a very sort of meta thing, I'm wearing a sweatshirt, which has a knitted emblem of Ambridge on it gifted to me by the lovely Helen O'Hara of the Empire podcast. And I've just been to the Archers conference this weekend to write a piece for The Telegraph. So it's all very fanboy-ish and tragic, but I loved every minute. It's great.

SAM:   1:51 That's incredible. I am in awe. I guess The Archers is relevant to this pod in a way in that their narratives are always 90 minutes or less.

KAT:  1:58 That was seamless Sam, well done.

SAM:   2:01 Has ever been like a mega Archers episode, which is, they've done a feature length version?

KAT:  2:05 They have. They did one a couple of years ago, which was sort of like 12 Angry Men but dedicated to the village of Ambridge. There was a storyline in which one of the characters Helen Titchener, stabbed her gaslighting, coercive, controlling, basically abusive husband, Rob, and she was being tried for attempted murder. But actually the wider thing of the storyline was so lovely because fans found it so upsetting to listen to, and they really wanted to do something that ultimately £160,000 was raised in donations for the charity Refuge, which was absolutely fantastic. And also entirely indicative of both how kind Archers fans can be, and also how incredibly involved. A lot of fans don't like it if you call any of the people in it actors, it's a docu-drama, it's definitely not a Radio 4 drama.

SAM:   2:57 So we talked about cinema a little bit at the top. I know you're a huge film, and you've written like so many amazing film reviews, and you've done, I've bumped into you at film junkets in the past. So you do a bit of film for work, but film is also a pleasurable activity in your personal time?

KAT:  3:09 Hugely, I mean, my first journalism job was actually when Empire had a trainee scheme a million years ago. So one of my very first jobs was being sent out to cover the Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit junket, which was terrifying and absolutely delightful. And I subsequently write about film for The Telegraph and various other places. But I mean, it's beyond a cliche to say that film is such a big part of my life, but it I mean, it is. The first time I remember injuring myself was when I was five and walked straight into a lamppost because I was pretending to be Cyd Charisse from Singin’ In The Rain.

SAM:   3:44 Well, we have invited you to the 90 Minutes or Less Film Fest to curate a film. When we first asked you to be part of this festival and choose a film, what went through your head? How did you think about what to choose?

KAT:  3:56 It's one of those things as soon as people ask you about things that are so much the fabric of your being, it's like that I, oh, God, I don't know, I'm gonna have to go in some kind of  trance-like state to try and remember. So I think I did the really tragic thing of googling 'what films are under 90 minutes' and went through a list, which took me down a wormhole because I didn't just want it to be any film that was 90 minutes or less, I wanted it to be something that meant a lot to me, that doesn't really get any coverage now and that people might have missed. So, for example, one of my favourite films Grease 2 actually gets an awful lot of coverage, largely due to the fact that the entire song list is available to sing at Lucky Voice karaoke bars, whereas The Station Agent, I think we've all kind of forgotten about, but then you look at the cast list and you watch it again and it's like, going back in time. It's like going back in time to 2003 when it was released, or realistically, the early 2000s when it was filmed. It's such a time capsule, and it's got such exceptional moments in it, and it's a really, really lovely watch, so I thought that'd be perfect. I would like that to be my contribution to your wonderful film festival.

[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Jingle]

SAM:   5:12 Miramax Home Entertainment presents the critically acclaimed The Station Agent, winner of numerous awards, including the Audience Award for Best Drama at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Finn McBride (Peter Dinklage) a loner with a passion for trains inherits an abandoned train depot in the middle of nowhere, place that suits him just fine. I don't think that's right, because all he wants is to be left alone. But that is not to be. Soon after moving in he meets Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) a distracted artist and Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a friendly Cuban

KAT:  5:51 [Laughs]

SAM:   5:53 with an insatiable hunger for conversation who parks his hot dog truck right next door.  With absolutely nothing in common they find their isolated lives coming together in friendship none of them could foresee. I think there's a couple of typos on the back.

KAT:  6:11 This sounds like the worst film ever.

SAM:   6:14 Kat why did you choose this?!

KAT:  6:15 I know! That is almost like a parody of a terrible and deeply specific American indie film 'with a passion for trains'! I mean, what good ever came from’ a passion for trains’? Now I say that having had a great passion for the Maillard in my youth.

SAM:   6:30 A friendly Cuban.

KAT:  6:32 A friendly Cuban! Literally nearly died at that point. Gosh, a friendly Cuban just, you know, like a cigar just rolled on your knee. Wonderful.

SAM:   6:41 I think for fans of synopsis we should point out we're reading from the back of the rental copy of The Station Agent which I've had in my possession probably for about 14 or so years since the film first came out, because I remember seeing this film when it first came out and I loved it. And I loved it so much I bought the rental copy.

KAT:  6:58 I'm glad you bought it, otherwise, you know, the people from Blockbuster will track you down eventually.

SAM:   7:02 First of all, we should point out that if the synopsis wasn't enough, we will have a spoiler filled chat about the film. So if you haven't seen the film yet, I would highly recommend pausing this and going to your nearest streaming service. So Kat we sort of mentioned it at the top of the show, but did you see this in the cinema when it first came out?

KAT:  7:18 Yes. I saw it in my local cinema in Durham when I was at university. And I think actually I went along on a matinee with a friend, with a friend who I would later date, so it was like a perfect friend-you-might-later-date film because we were both sort of like, we're both quite cool, both at university, both going to an arthouse cinema in the daytime, oh my god, oh my god there's a there's an actor in it who's also a dwarf my god this is very, oh god Patricia Clarkson's in it fantastic ticking all the boxes. But I was super surprised because unlike the other arthouse matinee that I remember seeing which was The Saddest Music In The World, which is one of the most batshit films in the history of ever, please just go to Google afterwards. This was wonderful. It was really, really wonderful. It was a film that I felt better for having seen because it wasn't, for example, another Harry Potter film or another superhero film, I was addicted to the X-Men films as well. But it was just, it was a great piece of filmmaking and I left the cinema feeling like the sun had come out. And I got it on DVD. And again, another reason that I wanted to have this was because for the years when I was at university, and then when I started at Empire, I had like a very bijou DVD collection that was very carefully curated. Every one of those films had a story and those and my book collection would sort of travel with me from home to home. And The Station Agent came to came with me to about 11 houses in the end. I think I subsequently got rid of pretty much all my DVDs a couple of years ago. But it's it's just magical, as we will now talk about in a spoiler-filled discussion.

SAM:   8:57 What I like about this film is it feels like a time capsule from 2003, 2004 where it felt like a lot of Sundance films were sort of coming through. And it's probably a little bit aligned to my own life where I was at uni at that point. And I was definitely like, I want to see all the cool indie films, but I just felt like they were more, they were like more easily accessible at that point than they were previously I think due to things like DVDs and all of that sort of stuff. But I think it was around the same sort of time as things like Juno and Thumbsucker and that sort of indie scene where everybody in those films is now super famous, like The Station Agent. It's one of Peter Dinklage's first roles. And now I mean, he's a household name. Also Patricia Clarkson, consistently brilliant in this time. Bobby Cannavale, I mean, he's, he's, he's, he's kind of always played the same character. And he's always in supporting roles. But again, I think he's just got bigger and bigger and bigger as time has gone on.

KAT:  9:49 Well, I'd always thought about The Station Agent in terms of the cast, exactly. And as I was watching it, I was like, Oh, I better check who wrote and directed it, see if they've done anything else since this nice indie film. Tom McCarthy? Yes, he has done some other things since! He co-wrote Up for heaven's sake. And yeah, oh, yeah he won some Academy Awards for a film called Spotlight that he directed and co-wrote! So he's doing quite nicely. But watching it again, I had completely forgotten what a bingo card of recognisable faces this is. There is barely anybody in it who hasn't either gone on to do amazing things, or who I didn't recognize from other things. There's three cast members of Sex and the City in there. John Slattery, who obviously we better know as Roger from Madmen, Bobby Cannavale of course, and, and Lynn Cohen, the sort of shop owner. So that was just wonderful, just three of them on their own. And Michelle Williams, of course, in quite a sort of a small but perfectly formed role, I believe, is the term.

SAM:   10:46 She's got the 'and' credit on the back of the box.

KAT:  10:48 Well, she was Jen from Dawson's Creek, that was a big time for her. But thinking, thinking about it in terms of university. Exactly. I think it is such a time capsule. I mean, we might come on to the issue of wardrobe later, that's incredibly specific to a very particular time. Also, some of the shots I just recognize from the early 2000s. Those sort of quite wide sort of picture postcard things. Couple of dudes hanging out on a step, but a very carefully set levels. One's looking over there, one's looking down. There's some, you know, furrowed brows and like rueful laughter, is amazing. Really takes you straight back.

SAM:   11:26 Great that you mentioned Tom McCarthy there. He also went on to direct The Cobbler which was not as well received. But then he won an Academy Award for Spotlight and everybody forgot about it. But this is his directorial debut, which is remarkable because I think this film is, it is small, but it is perfectly formed and he wrote it. He won a BAFTA for his first film for writing the screenplay.

KAT:  11:43 That's disgusting really isn't it.

SAM:   11:45 Makes me feel sick. He's someone who's an actor. He's been a, you know, like a very consistently jobbing actor for a lot of his career and then he goes and directs an indie film. And we've all heard that story where it ends quite badly and you never hear from that person again. But he's living the dream. He had his film at Sundance, he won the awards, and now he's an Oscar winning director.

KAT:  12:04 I think what is really satisfying about going back to this film is the fact that yes, lots of people in it have become incredibly successful. But my god, they worked for it. This is a film made with I mean, we look back retrospectively and go, Oh goodness me, all of you have been in it. I mean, even Richard Kind, like, your man from Scrubs, I will always think of him as your man from Scrubs, turns up as the lawyer at the beginning. It's, these are all people who have worked incredibly hard to get where they are. I mean, after this, it was after this film came out was still a good eight or so years before Game of Thrones for Peter Dinklage, for example. And he worked incredibly hard to just to, to do something that is incredibly reasonable, i.e. not get constantly cast as a flipping leprechaun, or, or, you know, a joke in some way and to actually have roles where his physical appearance is, you know, by the by. I mean, obviously, it's referenced significantly in The Station Agent and done really well, actually. But so much of this is about his own performance. To the extent that obviously, when Game of Thrones is casting, they were just like, we just want Peter Dinklage for Tyrion Lannister, and Finn and Tyrion have got a lot in common in terms of, I mean, obviously, not as funny or as wise, but still just that sort of dark, dry sense of humour, and also that sense of stillness, although Tyrion less obsessed with public transport.

FILM CLIP from The Station Agent  13:32  
Joe: Let me ask you question Finn. Do you people have clubs?
Finn: What do you mean?
Joe: Like a Train of the Month Club?
Finn: Yeah there are clubs.
Joe: What do you guys do?
Finn: They get together and they look at old photographs and sometimes they watch a movie.

SAM:   13:51 Like this is such a breakthrough performance for Peter Dinklage. He's quite a reserved character and he's very insular. But he has to sort of convey quite a lot of emotions just through  his face, and through his performance. And I think he's such a good find, like, I cannot imagine this film without Peter Dinklage.

KAT:  14:07 He is absolutely fantastic. And like thinking of this being Tom McCarthy's directorial debut, he does an incredible job of getting absolutely everybody where they should be to get the very best out of them. I mean, Dinklage obviously has an incredibly expressive face and can say more with one unraised eyebrow than I can by just you know, as I am now jangling my hands around going 'god he's amazing'. His posture, his clothing, again, permanently spotless white shirt, even though that's that seems to be the only clothing that he actually has. It's just, it's almost like he's an everyman. And I suppose in a sense, he is that everyman character of just the sort of 'I just, I want to be alone with my trains'. And then everybody sort of comes in interferes with him. But he's, he just brings that across so beautifully. And in a way that portrays inner depths even though on the surface of it this could just be yet another American indie 'oh god, guy with hidden depths' that we never see, but we see those with Dinklage and it's incredible.

SAM:   15:10 Absolutely. I think he's really well written, but really well played. And, and it's so much reaction to him, because you're right, he just he moves to the sticks. He wants to live in the abandoned train station agent's house, and he just wants to really, really wants to be alone. And the joy of the writing is that he's alongside these two brilliant characters. I think, Joe, which is a bit of a footnote on the back of the DVD, but I think Joe is amazing. He's the exact opposite. And he's like this I puppy dog, who just wants attention. And they're such a good yin and yang, don't you think?

KAT:  15:42 And actually, I've been the other TV program I've been hugely enjoying this very much on my mind is Derry Girls, which is about a sort of really unusual selection of relatives who also become incredibly firm friends. And with Joe, Joe is very much the equivalent of Michelle, who would, in all normal circumstances have nothing to do with her incredibly nerdy family and be off with like the popular mean girls. Joe should by rights be a popular mean guy, and we see that with some of his friends, or some of his acquaintances who sort of turn up there. And yet, he and Olivia are completely drawn to Finn and I think part of that is it seems like they're extremely lonely extroverts. They need to draw on, on other people. But then there is something in Finn. And there is something that I think feeds them, because they're both deeply lonely people. And I think Finn is so happy and content in his company, that if you are a lonely person, there is something incredibly attractive in that. He's just able to be and he doesn't, he doesn't want to hang out and drink Joe's beers or anything. He just, he just wants Olivia to stop nearly running him over and that sort of thing. But then, ever so slowly through the film, it's, it's just lovely, because it's not just him opening up and going, 'Oh my god, I see the value of people', he sees the value of these people. And that is wonderful, because I think one of the things that we want most in life is to be seen for who we are, to be recognised and to be appreciated, and to find our tribe, whether that's in our families, or in our friends, or in people that we meet later in life. And it's, I think, when I first saw it, I just thought, this is a nice film about Finn. And now I see it, and I'm like, I see it for every single one of those people in that film, and it is just beautiful.

SAM:   17:35 Absolutely. I think the joy of Finn is that he allows people to be themselves, because he is, you know, he is he's quite accepting of people. I guess that sort of encountered with how people often, you know, look at him as he's a man with dwarfism. And he's got something about that character, where there's so much going on with Olivia, like, she's an artist, and she's doing this and she's got this traumatic thing she's going through. But actually, she can't be that in front of other people, but she can in front of Finn because he just accepts her. I think that's really nice to see. That ultimately comes down to this tight friendship that forms from three people who have nothing in common, which is very, it's such a joy to watch.

KAT:  18:12 It is. And I think the thing that is particularly clever, is bringing in the character of Cleo into it who is played by Raven Goodwin who was in Lovely And Amazing with Brenda Blethyn before that. And because she initially you're just like,  I don't understand who you are, you're just a child following him around. And the children obviously we've seen previously in the film have been sort of like, 'Ah, Dopey, where are your other seven dwarves' and that sort of thing, you know, 'where's Snow White'. And you worry initially that she's going to be like that and she does sort of run off and everything, but she's always curious. But she, she stops Finn from being the wise dwarf of the hills, who allows other characters to develop because she is there for Finn to develop.

SAM:   18:14 That relationship is really, obviously not the rest of the story at all, but a really important relationship, because she's the only character who asks him about him and she asks about trains. And it's his passion. Like, it's so nice that they have that connection, when the other characters really talk about themselves kind of in front of him.

KAT:  19:14 And she's, she's lost as well. Or if not lost, and she's kind of just left alone. And I love that she's having fun in the old railway carriages and stuff when Olivia comes to visit it. Because it's almost like she's a reflection of Finn in that way, too. But she doesn't, she won't just sort of quietly accept, or go through the adult niceties that other people would do of why he doesn't want to do a certain thing or why he likes this. She just she's a kid, she just wants an explanation. She doesn't have those social nuances yet. But he can't get away with the stuff that you can do with other people I think, he can't hide with her

FILM CLIP from The Station Agent  19:52  

Cleo: Hey what are you doing?
Finn: I’m searching the trucks the company name.
Cleo: Well these are trains not trucks.
Finn: The wheels on the trains are called the trucks.
Cleo: What grade are you in?
Finn: I'm finished with school.
Cleo: Are you a midget?
Finn: No.
Cleo: Where do you live?
Finn: In the depot.
Cleo: My name is Cleo.
Finn: My name is Finn.
Cleo: Bye.

SAM:   20:25 When I rewatched this film, I got really nostalgic for this type of movie. And I don't know if they necessarily make or release films like this anymore. As a big cinema fan have you seen anything that you would compare to The Station Agent?

KAT:  20:37 Not recently. And I have to say that's because in recent years, what I need and what I want from the cinema has completely changed. We're not living in a very nice time at the moment and I've got like real world worries, whereas at university, my main worries were 'am I going to graduate?' and 'when am I going to get it on with this friend?' and that was that was literally it, and if I could get some more eyeliner by tea time. Whereas now obviously with the political climate that we live in globally, and nationally, when I go to the cinema, I want to go and see something like Shazam!.

SAM:   21:12 You want hard escapism.

KAT:  21:13 Hard escapism. And I think also because the kind of film writing that I do tends to be, it's not necessarily as immediate. I wrote a sort of retrospective of Titanic when it came out again for The Telegraph. And, for example, like a piece about this in this woman called Recy Taylor, who was horrendously raped by a gang of white men, and there was an amazing documentary about her. So I'm not sort of writing about the films that are coming out right now. Or if I am, then they're not necessarily the sort of, I don't know, the super super big ones. And actually, I have to say some of the films that might be comparable like Greta Gerwig's films have just left me completely cold. I just haven't got them at all. So no, basically. But I really liked Shazam!.

SAM:   22:02 One of my favourite bits in the film is, you know, the characters, they're quite slow to meet up and things but once they, they click, they click really fast. And before you know it, they're actually working with Finn on his passion, which is trains. And they are chasing a train and they're making a movie, which is apparently a thing that people do, totally blew my mind, and they're going to put a film screening on at Olivia's house, I love that.

KAT:  22:24 It's wonderful. It's the sort of thing that you did as kids. And like, Olivia just leaving that camcorder on his doorstep is such a precious moment. But exactly, it's just that sort of that casual investment in somebody else's passion. There's no need to sort of prove that it's worthy. They're just like, you're into it.That's amazing. Let's go and do it.

FILM CLIP from The Station Agent  22:44  

Joe: Hey Olivia. You got a garlic press?
Olivia: No.
Joe: How do you not have a garlic press?
Olivia: Still no.
Joe: I haven't, you keep talking I'm gonna go cook without the garlic press.
Olivia: I'm not used to having people in my house, especially loud people.
Finn: It's a nice house.
Olivia: Yeah, David bought it as a getaway place, so I moved out here and got away.

SAM:   23:09 We should talk about Patricia Clarkson because she is brilliant in this. And I think Tom McCarthy said he's really good friends with Bobby Cannavale so when he was writing it Bobby Cannavale was in mind. They found Dinklage quite early on and Patricia Clarkson was a total wildcard basically. And the three of them have such great chemistry together, it is perfect. Patricia Clarkson feels like she's sort of bigger now than ever before. Maybe mostly for TV? I don't know what your relationship with Patricia Clarkson's like these days.

KAT:  23:37 So I just think of her as the Icon of American Indie Films, and all of those words being capitalized. It's so odd. Whereas you see her here and it's just it's lovely because she is playing a character who was so of that time. And we talked about Sex and the City characters. Patricia Clarkson's incredibly erect nipples all the way this film, just remind me of that episode with Miranda. I'm really sorry if I've just alienated any non-Sex and the City viewers here, but I mean, that was also a classic moment. And she's just, she's not what I ever expect from seeing her because I think we've got so used to the concepts of the late 90s, early early noughties American indie tropes that you forget about people who can just really inhabit a character. And not in the sense of being like, I'm in an indie films and all my words are just going to be monotone and also in a slightly minor key, as though I'm delivering a really substandard Shakespearean speech. She's just there and she's filled with light. And she's, but she's filled with light in the sense of a slightly cracked jar. And you just know that at some point, something's going to let go and you're not sure what's happened. But also, as I've, as I've got older, I identify with her in a way that I never would have done when I was sort of like 19-20. I mean, I've never been pregnant, I haven't lost a child. But that absolute phenomenal, explosive, high pitched grief that she depicts in the most subtle and gentle ways is extraordinary.

SAM:   25:17 What I think I really like about how everybody plays it is, it's a 90 minutes or less movie, but there's like years of life behind all of these characters. And I don't know what Tom McCarthy put in the water or something, but he just got it right. Everybody feels genuine.

KAT:  25:31 But that's what good art should be. And that's what a good book should be. That's what a good film should be not the sense that you've just sort of like turned up with a roller ball and sort of gone, here's a character and put on like one coat of Dulux, you need that feeling that that character is always existed. I mean, it's like it's one of the reasons that I am in a book club devoted to the, in inverted commas here "bonkbuster" author Jilly Cooper. Jilly Cooper gets so slated by people who've never read her books but there's a reason why Harper's called her ‘the Jane Austen of her time’. She, she writes people who jump off the page with fully realized lives. And that's what we get in this film. And that's, that's what we want from cinema. That's the thing that draws us in, we need to feel that there are people in charge, who know what they're doing. And either that is by or everybody behind the scenes doing it in such a seamless way that you don't see the joins and those people are just there, or by the sense of just the plot being drawn along so brilliantly. This is a really quiet film. But it sings

[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Jingle]

SAM:   26:37 So The Station Agent is in the 90 Minutes or Less Film Festival, really pleased to have this film in. It was a real joy to rewatch and actually you're right, you know, choosing this film because not enough people saw it on release, even though you know, it won a BAFTA, Patricia Clarkson won six Supporting Actress awards at various film festivals. It really put sort of, definitely Tom McCarthy on the map, and I think was a notable point in everybody's careers, nobody's talking about it. It's not available on Blu-ray, you know, you can stream it on Amazon, or watch the ex-rental DVD at my house. So I think actually showing this on a big screen with an audience will be a hell of a lot of fun. But at this festival, we don't just want to show the film, we want to immerse the audience. What would what would be your sort of idea to complement the screening, what would you like to bring to The Station Agent at the festival?

KAT:  27:22 So in my mind, this bit is going to be the site specific screening of the festival. In my mind also, this will be a heavily subsidised section, and I've got option A and option B, depending on how subsidised we've got it. The first one is a dinner with screening on the Orient Express. The journalist Sian Meades took me for a jolly on this when we both worked at Domestic Sluttery, which was one of the most magical evenings of my life. That trip that I went on was amazing because it was themed around a murder mystery. And I would love it to be themed that for example, some of the Secret Cinema people come and perform sections of the film on the train, whilst we also get to have an amazing dinner. If however, it's not going to be that heavily subsidised because also the red carpet drinks at Victoria Station beforehand are quite costly, then I would like to take us to Dungeness where there is an amazing converted railway carriage. Fairly small, it's just like a little boutique sort of Airbnb situation. But I really want to get that feeling of being on a train and, but also on a train that's not necessarily like you know, Southwest trains going down to Petersfield on your Gold Card return sort of thing. You want that feeling that Finn has of trains from years gone by, and you want that feeling of just sort of being there on something that had a wonderful time in the past and is now not quite there anymore.

SAM:   28:53 It sounds like you've got a lot of love for trains. Have you ever been train chasing?

KAT:  28:57 I was most obsessed with trains at the same time I was obsessed with sharks. So when I was about four or five no, yeah, seven or eight, I would go to Alex Herbert's house after school and we would watch documentaries about vintage trains, or sharks, and then we would draw beach scenes involving sharks and use a lot of red pencil to draw sharks having had a little chomp on people's legs. Creepy creepy children but, you know trains and sharks hand in hand.

SAM:   29:25 I'm trying to think of what film features both of those.

KAT:  29:28 Sharks In Venice!

SAM:   29:31 I think maybe because we are blessed at this festival in that we seem to be able to make wishes happen. I think we get the Orient Express to Dungeness and we have a stock of red crayons for us to relive the shark drawings of your youth. And then we'll get to this abandoned train carriage in Dungeness and we'll watch the movie in the train carriage, much like watching the film at Olivia's house on a pulled down sheet, played straight from the VHS on the camera.

KAT:  29:58 Oh, god perfect. Tell you what this ending is much more satisfying than Desert Island Discs!

SAM:   30:03 If you could have one person from the film attend this screening, maybe for an introduction or a question and answer session who would it be?

KAT:  30:10 It's got to be Peter Dinklage. I was going back through to see how many film, how many prizes this film had won and I was genuinely gobsmacked that he was nominated and didn't win a thing. He's so bloody good. He's so bloody good. And also, I just think he'd be such an interesting person to hear, not just obviously in terms of, not just in terms of his Game of Thrones work, but just in terms of his career. And you know, what a bloody battle it is. There is still such disproportionate lack of non-abled or not non-ablebodied, non, if you like, ‘regular’ looking people on screen. I mean, I've recently got really into Pose on BBC Two, which was previously on FX in the States. That's got a lot of transgender actors in it. And it's just like, oh, these people are out there if you bother looking. And it is just that thing that a lot of people don't bother looking. And that is just tragic, because we are being absolutely denied brilliant acting talent and also the chance to let people see themselves on screen. Representation matters. I mean, I am a cis-gender white, very middle class woman who came from an extremely privileged background. But I have to say growing up, the only references to anybody who was six foot one was in terms of them being a catwalk model, and I've pretty much always been a size 14. I'm not a catwalk model, that gave me terrible body image issues. And it's important to see who you are. And again, you know, imagine if Peter Dinklage had never been cast, imagine the amazing stuff that we would have been denied.

SAM:   31:54 I think the joy of this film and then him playing it is you could rewrite the film and it wouldn't take very much to rewrite the film with a different actor. And you can still do the film about the insular guy. I think the fact that it's Peter Dinklage, and there's there's sort of a couple of things. You know, he's an insular guy who's dealing with dwarfism, but actually, that's not what the films about. I think that's really great to see and we haven't seen it enough. And I don't think Dinklage has really done a drama like this. He's done fantasy and sci fi and stuff.

KAT:  32:23 And Elf.

SAM:   32:24 And Elf. Yeah, he did Elf right after this in fact. I'd love to see him come back to do an indie drama. Game of Thrones is over soon, right? Maybe he can go back to his Sundance roots.

KAT:  32:34 Yes. And it needs to it needs to open doors for other people. I mean, crossing the streams a little bit but this is a huge thing that I see mentioned over and over again by black journalists on Twitter. It's just like, don't just commission us to write about the experience of being a black woman or a black man, you know, commission us to write about like crap stuff, commission us to write about Game of Thrones, we like TV, too. And I think there is a huge danger that if you don't fit the traditional, or if you like, the usual Hollywood mold, that you'll just be like, oh, okay, we need you to come in and do that thing where again, the joy of this film is Finn is like a massive train nerd who wants to be alone. And that's his, that's the main thrust of the story. And it's a shame that we haven't really seen anything like this since 2003.

SAM:   33:23 Station Agent 2!

KAT:  33:24 Yes!

SAM:   33:24 I hear it coming.

KAT:  33:25 More stations more time. Oh wouldn't it be great a Jason Statham tie up? Transporter and The Station Agent makes sense.

SAM:   33:32 So I like asking people this towards the end of the podcast, could this film or should this film be any longer than 90 minutes?

KAT:  33:39 Absolutely not. They're just sort of extended in a scenes and that sort of thing. And there's just the right amount of aimless content if you like, and I think any longer and this film would be in danger of becoming whimsical and in a bad way, whereas right now it's excellent.

[90 Mins or Less Outro Bed]

SAM:   34:06 So there we have it The Station Agent is in the 90 Minutes or Less Film Festival. Kat, where can people find more about your work and see what you're up to on social media?

KAT:  34:14 Thank you so much for asking Sam. I would love to chat to people on Twitter where I'm @KatBrown, Instagram where I'm @KatBrownWrites. Apparently she can't speak though. And I've got a website and portfolio and all that bobbins which is katbrownwrites.com.

SAM:   34:30 And thank you listeners. Please do like favourite subscribe on Apple podcasts or your pod catcher of choice. We're also now available on Spotify. You can contact us @90MinFilmFest on Twitter and Instagram. And the show was produced by Louise Owen and me Sam Clements. Our music is by Martin Austwick. The show is edited by Luke Smith and our artwork is by Sam Gilbey. We'll be back in a couple of weeks.

[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Music]

Transcribed by https://otter.ai