Containment is the debut feature of British filmmaker Neil McEnery-West. It’s a thriller following a group of residents who wake up one morning to find themselves sealed into their apartment block. Assuming at first it’s an elaborate hoax, fear sets in as they watch their neighbours being snatched by unknowns in hazardous materials suits.
A low budget, single location affair set and filmed on a housing estate in Southampton, Containment is driven by its characters. They’re ordinary people who share nothing but an apartment block, neighbours who avoid each other most days. In some ways the potentially widespread danger outside is secondary to the film, which focuses instead on the tensions and conflicts between a clueless group of survivors forced together under extreme fear and confusion.
We caught up for a quick chat with Andrew Leung (Lilting), one of a critically acclaimed cast of emerging British talent. He plays Sergei, a young resident with a serious chip on his shoulder, a confrontational attitude and an unpredictably violent temper.
So firstly, what’s your acting background?
I trained at East 15 Acting School. I did the Foundation course and then the three year BA Acting course. I’ve been out of drama school for 4 years now. I’ve been lucky enough work in film, television, theatre and radio during that time.
How did Containment come about?
The audition came about at the end of February 2014 and we started the project a few weeks after – it happened all very quickly.
The infection thriller is a busy genre. What appealed to you about Containment?
I enjoyed the tension and the pace of the story. I thought it was scary – I remember thinking this is so what would happen if an outbreak of this nature actually happened. It was a few months after filming that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa started and it made the film resonate with me even more. It’s so tragic to see people in these situations.
Sergei seems like the polar opposite of your character in ‘Lilting’, although both are obviously troubled, which you play brilliantly. Was this an appeal of Sergei? What kind of characters are you drawn to?
Thank you. I think the polarity of Sergei definitely attracted me to him. I was interested in exploring his physical intensity. Everyone at some point in their lives go through an inner conflict and it’s a wonderful thing to explore that through playing different characters.
In the future will you look for diversity with roles?
I’m not quite sure how to answer this question! I wouldn’t look for diversity for the sake of diversity. No character is ever the same and so every character is diverse really. If we are talking about being typecast – I certainly don’t want that.
What other actors would you like to work with?
Oh gosh! I don’t know! I’ve been lucky enough work with really inspirational people. I’d love to work again with so many of the people I’ve worked with before. I think one of the joys of the job is meeting new people, and exploring and collaborating together.
Are you interested in other areas of filmmaking, writing or directing perhaps?
I’d like to write some stuff one day. I have ideas that I’d like to develop at some point in my life.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently in Romeo and Juliet on stage at the Sheffield Crucible. I’m playing Paris. There’s a great energy and a lovely cast.
Please visit http://www.containment-film.com/ for more information