David Reviews

 It's the work, stupid.

THOMAS THOMAS ADD HADI TO THEIR ROSTER
3 September 2018

Thomas Thomas are notoriously careful curators of their roster, so you know a director has something about them when they get added to their line-up.

A few weeks ago, DAVID sat down with Hadi - their latest recruit - to find out for ourselves what appealed to the Thomases and their trusted lieutenant Trent Simpson... apart from his impressive reel, obvs.

Hadi is originally from Nigeria but acutely attuned to British sensibilities after being brought up in this country, including a stint at a boarding school in Somerset. With a wife who is half-Indian and half-Basque, Hadi considers himself a citizen of the world, which - in the current climate - is a pretty astute way to hedge your bets!


After Somerset, Hadi made his way to film school in London where his real education came from shooting whenever he could: "The best way actually to understand this madness and this industry is just to shoot. You get a camera, you shoot. You have a story in your head and you think, 'It's gonna look like this. It's gonna look like that.' And then it looks nothing like that what you imagined."

He laughs at the memory of it: "But it's fantastic, because you learn to manage it and try to get it to where you want it to be."



The best way actually to understand this madness and this industry is just to shoot.

 ”

His must have got the hang of it because he was offered a place on a film production company roster on the basis of the films he made as a student. After a year and a half with a company called Chaos - part of Oxford Scientific - he jumped ship to join Karen Cunningham's company Pink.

After stints at Radical Media and Outsider, Hadi decided to go it alone: "I decided I didn't wanna be anywhere for a while, because I didn't see a home that I wanted to be in."


His self-imposed exile recently came to an end after he spoke to Trent Simpson: "Most companies have thirty or forty directors and they pretend they can service all of them all... but it's not true."

According to Hadi, the much smaller roster at Thomas Thomas offers a more grown-up relationship and he has a sense that each director has a distinct niche: "Kevin [Thomas] does what he does. Karen [Cunningham] does what she does. Mark [Denton] does what he does. We're all different in our own little arenas, so it's fine. I do what I do. I'm very excited by them."



Most companies have thirty or forty directors and they pretend they can service all of them all... but it's not true.

 ”

Hadi enjoys the challenge of finding a way to elevate any script he's invited to look at. The question he asks himself is: "how can I make it into a bigger story and tell it more interesting and just make it feel more epic?"

Given the constraints of modern advertising, is he really able to elbow the room for this expansive approach? "It takes a bit of battling, but once they realise that it's not going to cost them anything extra, and that I'm quite self sufficient... they leave me to it. And very often, the extra material ends up in the edit. So everybody wins."



Hadi exudes a calmness not often associated with directors, does he think his laid back demeanour has helped him to handle the tricky characters he encounters on film sets? He describes how important it is to let stars know that he "understands their challenges" because that's the best path to getting them to understand the challenges he faces to get the best work made.



Part of being a director is to see the storm ahead before the storm comes.

 ”

He goes on to stress how important it is to gauge the mood and head off any trouble: "Part of being a director is to see the storm ahead before the storm comes." As an example, he recalls a situation where a celebrity was starting to grow impatient with an over-zealous make-up artist: "sometimes, it's as simple as saying: 'let me see your face... you look great!' And, suddenly, everyone's happy again."



Because of the cinematic quality of his work, it's surprising that he hasn't yet made a feature and he describes how a creative director he was working with recently made that exact point, telling Hadi that his "whole shooting style and approach is very long frame."

Was he flattered? "Yes, of course," he nods, before adding through laughter: "but I suppose he may have just meant: 'why the fuck don't you just get on with it?'"

For more on Hadi, visit his David Reviews profile, then contact Trent Simpson on 020 7437 1112 or via email at trent@thomasthomasfilms.co.uk.

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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.