Reggie Yates on making his directorial debut with comedy drama Pirates

Virgin Radio

22 Nov 2021, 14:57

Reggie Yates at Virgin Radio

Reggie Yates at Virgin Radio

The actor and presenter joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about comedy-drama Pirates, which marks his debut as a director. 

Pirates, which is released in cinemas this Friday (26th November), stars newcomers Elliot Edusah, Jordan Peters, and Reda Elazouar as three best mates, Cappo, Two Tonne and Kidda, who try to break into the music scene through pirate radio. Reggie told Chris, “It’s about three lads driving from North London to South London in a yellow Peugeot 205 called The Custard Cream, and it’s all about them on New Year’s Eve, essentially trying to get into the biggest party in town.”

Explaining the premise further, Reggie said: “So, basically there’s a garage crew made up of three friends, and the manager of the group who can’t DJ or MC decides that he wants to leave the group and focus on university. So, essentially it’s about them trying to get into this party, but at the same time it’s about their friendship breaking down and coming back together again. It’s a coming-of-age movie essentially.”

The director added: “With it being set way back in the 90s, there is loads of nostalgia hits.”

When talking about the nostalgic element to Pirates, Reggie explained: “You have to strike a balance when you are making a movie that’s recent history, you know? You don’t want it to be nostalgia porn. You have to have a strong script, you have to have the right jokes, but, at the same time, at the premiere on Monday just gone, it was amazing when one of the characters pulls out his Motorola Startac flip phone and the whole room just went off, because everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, remember those?’

“Even things like the ringtones were getting a laugh in the room."

He added: “And the clothes are such a huge part of what makes this film so specific to the era.”

Regarding casting the film, Reggie told Chris that he found his lead actors very quickly. “Literally, two of the three boys were the first two people I saw,” he said. “And when I walked out of the room, I was like, ‘It’s him.’ 

“The minute I saw the right boys I knew.”

The film also stars Kassius Nelson, who also currently appears in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. Reggie described her as “an amazing young actor”. He said: “She’s just brilliant in this movie. The chemistry between her and Two Tonne, who is a young man who thinks he’s The Fonz, basically, they have this incredible relationship onscreen and this undeniable chemistry.”  

When discussing the reaction to the film so far from its preview screenings, Reggie said: “I think one of the things that has been consistent in what people have said, is that they just fall in love with the boys. And for this film to work, ten minutes in, you have to love the boys to go on the journey with them.”

He added: “The thing I’m hoping for with this film is that people can see how much care there is in every single element of it, from the costumes, to the music, to the performances. We’re a tiny little British independent movie, you know? We made this film for about £1.3million, which is a lot of money but in film, it’s nothing.” 

Reggie told Chris that he feared the movie would never be completed after production was forced to shut down due to Covid. “We didn’t know that we were going to finish this film, and I was heartbroken,” he admitted. “I’ve got these three young actors who are leading a movie for the first time and I had to tell them, ‘Boys, I don’t know if we’re going to come back’. And thankfully we found the money, and we finished it.”

The 37-year-old told Chris he is set to work on filming his next film in 2002. “I’m just really excited to keep making films and keep telling stories,” he said.

Pirates is released in UK cinemas this Friday 26th November.

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.