“The Love Punch” sees middle aged and divorced, company owner Richard Jones (Brosnan) looking forward to a worry-free existence as he arrives at his office on his last day of work. Much to his dismay, he discovers that the management buyout of his company was fraudulent. The company is now bankrupt and the employee pension fund – including his own – has been embezzled. Enlisting the help of his ex-wife Kate (Thompson), Richard sets out to track down the shady business man behind this, Vincent Kruger. Before they know it, Richard and Kate are caught up in a cat and mouse caper across Europe in a whirlwind of intrigue, mad chases and jewelry theft during which they rekindle their romance.
Five years after “LAST Chance Harvey’s” international success, screenwriter and director Joel Hopkins wished again to team up with Emma Thompson. Straight away, the actress was excited about the story of a couple, divorced for eight years, who embark on a roller-coaster journey. “I got excited by the idea of this ‘classic’ movie couple,” Hopkins explains. “The starting point is to find a pairing that really excites me even before writing the script and then build a story around them. I really like to cast the movie in my head while I’m writing.” Nicola Usborne, Hopkins’s wife and producing partner, agrees: “We’ve worked together for fifteen years and Joel always begins with characters or preferably with actors and then builds an arc around them”.
Pierce Brosnan is enthusiastic about the filmmaker: “Joel as a director has a very good ear for the rhythm of comedy and for the articulation of speech and pacing of dialogue”, he says.
Emma Thompson compares the way Hopkins directs actors to the careful making of a dessert: “It’s very delicate and it’s all about finding the right balance of ingredients”, she comments. “It’s really like a soufflé doing this kind of work – you have to get the air into the mix just to make something that really rises. That’s what you want in a director – someone who absolutely collaborates and lets you try things but who also tells you ‘I want it like this and not like that’.”
The director will look back fondly on the production of the film: “I’ve always had a relationship with France”, he admits. “I found the crew very invested in the project as a whole, not just in their departments, but interested in the whole project, helping the whole film come together. Perhaps in England, people are a little more inside their departments and less interested in the process as a whole”.
Emma Thompson agrees: ” In France, I noticed that the camaraderie existed between all the partners. You’ll be at lunch, which is like a family thing, and everybody sits down to eat and talk with each other, and even have a glass of wine. Not me, though. I live like a nun when I’m shooting”.
Pierce Brosnan is just as excited about France as the director: “I’ve come here over the years with James Bond, but this has been the most in-depth experience with a 100% French shoot”, he contends. “You’re surrounded by this sense of cinematic history, and it permeates your being.”
Producer Clément Miserez concludes: “I dream of doing “Love Punch 2” and “Love Punch 3” any time, and of working again with Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson, because they’re both nice and humble, and the whole crew would tell you just the same!”
“The Love Punch” will open at a cinema near you on April 19 (Saturday) from Axinite Digicinema (with media partners Inquirer Group, 105.1 Crossover and GNN – Global News Network).