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Lost Transmissions Interview: Simon Pegg & Katharine O’Brien

Before Lost Transmissions‘s premiere and Q&A at the Glasgow Film Festival, Simon Pegg and Katharine O’Brien talked to us on the red carpet.

In Lost Transmissions, director/screenwriter Katharine O’Brien paints an accurate picture of schizophrenia by introducing us to music producer Theo (Simon Pegg), a man with a larger than life personality who is also constantly struggling with the delusion and paranoia caused by his condition. Based on a true story, O’Brien’s first feature-length film explores the friendship between Theo and anspiring songwriter Hannah (Juno Temple), and it does so with honesty, humanity and a great deal of heart. Shot entirely on hand-held camera, Lost Transmissions is an intimate journey that shows us the highs and lows of Theo’s life but also asks us to consider the impact it has on those around him.

O’Brien’s drama doesn’t just paint a devastatingly realistic picture of a situation that many have to deal with on a daily basis, but it also prompts us to ponder over important questions. How do you treat a patient who doesn’t want to be treated? How can you deal with a system that is not equipped to provide the suitable assistance? What can you do to help the people you love without putting yourself in danger? And how often do we use the words “mad” and “insane” to address people who suffer from mental illness? Lost Transmissions asks us to ponder over all these matters, and does so in a raw, honest, surprisingly poetic way, but also with the right dose of irony.

At the Glasgow Film Festival, we spoke with Katharine O’Brien and Simon Pegg on the red carpet and also attended the Q&A after the film’s Premiere. We didn’t have time to ask Simon and Katharine many questions on the Red Carpet, so, together with a video and transcript of our brief interview with them, you’ll also find our favourite answers from the Q&A.

Simon Pegg and Juno Temple in Lost Transmissions
Simon Pegg and Juno Temple in Lost Transmissions (Courtesy of Glasgow Film Festival)

The Red Carpet Interview: Simon Pegg on Lost Transmissions

Simon, what drew you to the script?

Simon Pegg: It was a really interesting story, and a role that I felt very flattered to be offered. The stuff I ordinarily get offered isn’t like that: it was a dramatic role, and it was an extremely immersive part to play. Katharine was directing, and I hadn’t worked with a female director in a feature film before, and it felt utterly wrong! [laughs] So I just wanted to put that right.

How did you prepare for the role?

Simon Pegg: I did a lot of research. I met up with Katharine’s friend, and I went to a facility in London, where I spoke to a couple of guys that were in varying stages of schizophrenia. I watched a lot of documentaries, and I just tried to get an idea of what exactly is going on inside the head of a person who suffers from it.

How do you feel about having this premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival?

Katharine O’Brien: I love Scotland! I definitely feel some sort of connection with it, and I have another film that’s going to be set in Scotland in the 1500s, that will be next.

Simon Pegg: Awesome! I’m really pleased. My wife’s Scottish: she’s from Glasgow, and I’ve got a whole bunch of them in there! A whole bunch of “weegies” waiting to watch the movie! [laughs]

Our Interview with Simon Pegg and Katharine O’Brien at the Glasgow Film Festival

We partnered up with Rosie Hughes Reviews for this interview: don’t forget to check out her website and follow her Facebook page!

Moments from the Q&A: Katharine O’Brien and Simon Pegg on Mental Health

Katharine O’Brien was asked about the destabilizing effect of mental illness on others.

Katharine O’Brien: I think a lot of people, when they’re in this presence [of mental illness], tend to destabilize themselves. I think that there might be some kind of thing going on, that enables you to get on the same waveline with other people. Even in and audience, watching a film, they say that everybody’s heart rate syncs up… Which is so cool! When you’re watching a movie, your heart rates are all synced up. So, I think that, when you’re around somebody who’s just off the norm, you are picking up on that stuff and it does influence you. It’s part of the reason why people are so avoidant of people who are mentally ill: it’s that infectious quality about it. There’s nothing to be afraid of, obviously, but it tends to be a very destabilizing experience for the other person as well.

Simon Pegg was asked about the “existential angst” his character, Theo, feels:

Simon Pegg: Because we are pattern-making animals, the schizophrenic kind of put together these really elaborate narratives. For Theo, it is the negative events which were occurring in the world, which do seem to be intensifying: he thought they were the direct result of his own behaviour. That’s what dragged that kind of general existential angst into his delusions.

Loud and clear Reviews Simon Pegg Lost Transmissions interview Glasgow Film Festival
Simon Pegg, Juno Temple and Katharine O’Brien in Lost Transmissions (Courtesy of Glasgow Film Festival)

Lost Transmissions will be released in theaters and on-demand on 13th March 2020.

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