Despite being made on a modest budget and starring a cast of mostly unknown young actors, Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block is one of the best sci-fi movies of the last decade. Now, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary, Vice interviewed the creators and cast of the movie about the inspiration behind the premise, how the aliens were designed, and whether a sequel is in the works.
Cornish, the movie’s writer and director, talks about how the idea for the movie came to him when he was carjacked by a group of kids in masks in South London. Weirdly, while this was happening, Cornish was thinking about “how cool” the kids looked and wondered what it would be like if “a meteor fell out of the sky and hit the car,” putting him and the carjackers on the same side of an alien invasion. Rather than set this kind of story in the “really grim, gritty, depressing environment” of “most British films,” Attack The Block’s visuals were inspired by comic books and the “psychedelic” nighttime color schemes of “Walter Hill and John Carpenter’s movies.”
The comic book feel is clear in the actual aliens, too. Cornish says their design was partially inspired by the creature silhouettes on old Space Invaders arcade cabinets and his black cat, and the actors remember being freaked out by filming scenes with the aliens. Alex Esmail (who plays Pest) calls “the guy who wears the [alien] suit, Terry Notary” an “absolute legend.” Esmail says he was legitimately scared of Notary, who turned from “a really nice, soft spoken guy” into “a thing running on all fours that runs a lot faster than I do.”
Cornish, who says he’s “amazed that [the film’s] stuck around for this long,” also mentions that he and John Boyega, who plays the film’s Moses, have discussed a possible sequel. “He came over to my house a few weeks ago, before this last lockdown, and we sat together in the garden talking for hours and hours about it until it got dark,” Cornish says. Esmail mentions how Boyega had mentioned an idea to him about a sequel with a “London-wide” invasion, and the concept of a shot where “about 30 or 40 more people from the South London area” are shown “coming across the bridge to Parliament all on BMXs and motorbikes with a meteor shower behind us as all the aliens came down.”
As good as that sounds, Cornish also warns that, even though he’s talked about another Attack The Block with Boyega, it wouldn’t be soon. “Don’t hold your breath,” he says. “It took 10 years to write the first one.”
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