The Steeple Times asks asks independent film producer Jonathan Sothcott: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Try to be nice to people on the way up because you’re going to meet them going down again.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Big smile, long memory.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?
Anyone complicit – at any level – in the repulsive deeds being investigated by Operation Yewtree. And anyone promoting these naïve and misleading attempts at justification that it was “a different era”.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
School and the lack of responsibility that went with being there. I hated most of it at the time (and wasn’t much of a pupil) but wouldn’t it be great if the worst thing in life was the prospect of detention?
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Magic beans, probably. I’m too impulsive.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
It’s a pretty hateful situation, isn’t it? I’ve just finished a movie called We Still Kill The Old Way about an ageing gang of Kray-type villains from the 60s coming out of retirement to avenge the death of their leader’s brother at the hands of a feral street gang which thinks its above the law. The initial response has been very good and we’re planning a sequel called We Still Steal The Old Way in which they decide to play the bankers at their own game and rob them. The fact that once-respectable bankers are an acceptable villain/target in a populist movie tells you pretty much all you need to know. I think too many people saw Wall Street and thought Michael Douglas was playing the hero.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
Anything ‘street’ or ‘rudeboy’ or whatever they call it this week – I find this wholesale degradation of our beautiful language utterly repugnant.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
So long as it doesn’t involve ‘charity muggers’ with clipboards harassing people on the street I’m game for pretty much any good cause. I find that “Hello! Can I ask you a question?” approach incredibly frustrating and just won’t engage with it.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
I think how much you use your phone in public generally reflects your view of the company you’re in. I’m not technically minded at all but I do rather like Whatsapp – though some people just keep messaging and messaging even if you don’t reply which is frustrating if you’re trying to have dinner or whatever. I love Twitter as well – Billie Piper retweeting my unashamed admission of being in love with her was a highlight this year. She still hasn’t follow me back though. C’est la vie.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
I have quite a small group of truly close friends and it would be them because I’m rather lucky in that they’re all incredibly entertaining and funny. I’d rather spend time with the people I love than any quirky historical figures. We’re all gluttons so the dining car would be destroyed. I’d take Danny Dyer and his beautiful wife Jo, Alison Doody, Abi Titmuss, Martin and Shirlie Kemp, Lucy Pinder, Ian Ogilvy, Louise Egerton, Jessica Spencer, Chris Ellison, Sacha Bennett and his wife Marina Fiorato, Lisa McAllister, Craig and Elke Fairbrass, Anouska Mond, James Mullinger, Adele Silva, Adam and Debbie Sutherland, Louise Cliffe, my producing partner Neil Jones and of course my parents. Now who wouldn’t want to hang around with that glamorous lot?
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
I think I should like eggs benedict and shepherd’s pie at The Ivy, washed down with a decent bottle of red wine or two. I would aspire to have it at The Ivy itself, having pulled off a remarkable and daring escape from my fatal incarceration. And I’d want my foodie pals Craig Fairbrass and Louise Cliffe there. I’m also rather partial to the duck pasta at Hush in Mayfair and the vongole at San Lorenzo. Or maybe it’s a Big Mac or a Chinese. Cripes, I hope I have nine lives…
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
I think lunchtime is the starter pistol for booze to flow and I couldn’t countenance lunch before noon.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
A martini – preferably something fruity – I like the watermelon martinis at Nobu and last week had a rather splendid fig martini at The Mandarin Oriental. Actually I had three: what can I say? I was in mischievous company and am easily lead.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I don’t go out to parties quite as much as people seem to think, but last week I went to Danny-Boy Hatchard’s birthday party and had a really great time. That lad’s going to be a big star, just you watch. He’s really got his head screwed on. All of Danny-Boy’s mates were 22 or 23 so I felt a bit like their dad but they were smashing lads and gave me real hope for the next generation. My only contemporary there was Dany Dyer and I fear Dyer and I are getting a bit long in the tooth for partying all night now. The other week we found ourselves drinking whiskey and talking about antique furniture for the evening. Maybe we’ve grown up.
Who is the most positive person you know?
I have to say that man Mr Dyer and his wonderful missus Jo. Even if one of them is a bit down they have a quip for every occasion: they’re proper people, no bullshit. I think I owe my career to Danny really but it goes much deeper than that: If I’m down they’re the friends who cheer me up, if I’m being messed around by a girl Jo is my relationship counselor and always makes me feel like it isn’t my fault (even though it probably is). I’m blessed and grateful to have them in my life.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
I really love brilliantly cheesy 80s movies. Growing up in the golden age of video, a Saturday night treat was watching Death Wish 4 or Fright Night, The Lost Boys, The Golden Child, Cobra or Ghostbusters. Give me a night in with The Monster Squad or Out For Justice on DVD and I’m one very happy bunny. It’s the little things.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
‘Why?’ written in some fancy oriental script. Because it’s the question I’d have to ask myself every day if I got a tattoo. That’s not to say I dislike them on other people, on the contrary they can definitely be cool, but I’d rather waltz naked through the fires of hell than get one.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
The gold Aston Martin Roger Moore drove in The Persuaders.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I watch Love Actually once a year and cry like a baby every time.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
A wedding invitation, a magnifying glass, two books (both by one of my favourite authors, Sarah Pinborough), a coaster and a £5 note. The A-Team could build a small tank out of that lot.
Follow him on Twitter at @sothcott.
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