This is not an interview with Tony Kaye

This is what happens when you go to interview an icon of the advertising industry and, by the end of the interview, he’s pondering the possibility of turning the experience into a doc feature and entering it for an Oscar.

This week, a few of us got a sneak preview of work in progress, directed for The Creative Circle by ad creative-turned-director Ed Morris, who apologised in advance for the film’s unfinished state. Being more modest than Kaye, he didn’t declare that he was going along with the Oscar idea, but it seems that he and his team from Rattling Stuff Productions are pretty chuffed with what they’ve got so far.

In January last year, Morris and a small crew flew to Kaye’s glamorous home in LA and spent a day following Kaye up and down the stairs, into art and music rooms and across the garden. The living room is huge, dotted with to-die-for ‘seventies chairs and one wall is floor to ceiling glass doors looking out across the Hollywood Hills. Every available surface is stacked with canvases of Kaye’s wild artwork and there seems to be paint everywhere. Though mysteriously the white leather upholstery of the chairs is pristine.

"All I’m interested in now is painting and trying to find my way through, like Jackson Pollock," says Kaye.

Half the canvases have graffiti scrawl across them and Kaye is full of philosophical thoughts, many of them about madness. But while having a reputation for his diva behaviour and maverick, creative intransigence, there is a sane man close to the surface. Back in his advertising director heyday, he was reportedly commanding £10,000 a day in fees and has clearly created a nice nest for himself in his Californian home.

More recently his directorial career has moved on to actors and the chemistry of getting great performances. "Good actors like to work with eccentric people who don’t know what they’re doing and create chaos with every footstep and I act that role very well," he says.

This unfinished film nicely reflects Kaye’s style. Intercut with footage of Kaye scrawling headlines in oozing pink and black paint on a white board, the not-yet-finished film, shot on 5D, begins with quite a lot of Kaye’s nose in a stark, honest close-up portrait and frequently goes out of focus, especially when Kaye gets his hands on the camera.

Having become caught up in the idea of the interview becoming more than just that, Kaye came along to watch the current cut in a Soho edit suite and footage of Kaye watching Kaye is also cut into the unfinished edit.

We were told by Ed Morris that the film won’t be going on the web. Not now that is. To be continued…

“I suppose it is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one’s doubts. “ ~G.B. Burgin

Pippa Considine

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