Hyena bares its teeth
Date posted: 04.03.2015
This Friday sees the release of director Gerard Johnson's Hyena, a gritty crime thriller exposing the murky underworld of slick West London.
Peter Ferdinando stars as Michael Logan, a corrupt policeman whose wild ways are on the verge of getting the better of him. Operating as both copper and criminal, Logan seems to have the best of best worlds. However, the arrival of a pair of Albanian gang-lord brothers threatens to shatter this perfect equilibrium. Battered by his own personal demons and shocked by the unprecedented levels of brutality he encounters, Logan finds his world unravelling.
Survival of the fittest
The world of Hyena is a dark, Darwinian nightmare, where the only law is survival of the fittest.
Interestingly, Johnson chooses to base this story in the heart of affluent West London. While Paddington, Bayswater, Queensway, Ladbroke Grove and Acton might conjure up images of leafy, well-to-do neighbourhoods, Hyena scratches the surface to unearth the area's rotten underbelly.
"Imagine Le Samouraï without Paris, or The Untouchables without Chicago," producer Jo Laurie (Number 9 Films) posits. "Gene Hackman, Alain Delon and Sean Connery star in those films, but the unique architecture and atmosphere of their settings provide the most charismatic of backdrops. London was always going to be the stage for Hyena, and authenticity was key."
The film aims to unsettle its audiences, setting a brutal and violent story in what seems to be the most unlikely of places. "This is not how people have seen Notting Hill on film before," Laurie continues. "In cities like London so many things happen right under our noses. We wanted audiences to come out of the cinema and take a second look at our beautiful city."
The other Notting Hill
With the help of the Brent, West London and Kensington and Chelsea borough film offices, the team were able to recreate Johnson's parallel London - the unseen capital.
"Our fantastic location manager Ben O'Farrell trawled bars, Albanian restaurants, flats, offices, working men's clubs, Turkish shisha lounges and forests with Gerard to find over 40 unique locations," Laurie explains.
O'Farrell continues: "As the film is very location-heavy, and deals with groups of people that survive on the edges of society, we spent a lot of time looking for a London that could be recognised whilst at the same time seemed foreign and alien - looking for the city that exists within the city."
See what they found in Hyena, out in the UK this Friday.