Humanistic dog flicks

I've always wanted to direct, says Paddy Considine

Directing for the first time has to be informed by the directors you're worked with as an actor. I've worked with some who were just camera-pointers - naming no names - who just get a bunch of people together and don't use them properly. I look back at some of those movies and I think they made all the wrong choices. I got frustrated at feeling ashamed of my work in a few instances. But the good directors get into your brain. They create a world for you to step into, and if anything feels uncomfortable you can discuss why.

Shane Meadows (A Room for Romeo Brass, Dead Man's Shoes) is different, because I grew up with him. We bonded over the films we saw as kids: Made in England, Scum, The Firm, Kes. I saw them far too young probably. They made a massive impression. They were not talking about my life exactly, but about things that were going on where I lived. So I think Shane got a lot from them too, and that's what bonded us: an understanding of those films as well as a personal understanding of each other.

Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) was great too. With directors like him, it's not so much that they make you feel secure, but they make you confident enough to try new things. My best experiences have almost always been when it's about very humanistic situations, when it's all very real. Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) still has that as well. He started as a political journalist, went on to documentary film-making and then the likes of Bloody Sunday, and even now takes his instincts and knowledge and applies that same approach to a broader canvas.

But then someone like Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) has a wonderful brain for film. Those guys love cinema so much, and that's infectious. I could love it or hate it sometimes, but their enthusiasm makes you think, "Oh wow, cinema is cool, I'm not fed up of it after all." I think Chris Morris (My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117) was the only person I was ever really nervous about meeting. That feels ridiculous now - he's one of the most affable people I know. And a brilliant director, very descriptive. He might describe your feelings as like hot tar bubbling in your guts or something, which could sound like a load of old bollocks but it isn't. I'd act for him again tomorrow, but still I think my leanings as a director will probably always come round to that real-life kind of angle.

I wrote Dog Altogether in about two hours while in Spain making another movie and not having a particularly great time. Peter Mullan, who played the lead character, Joseph, was another hero of mine. I'd never worked with him before but kept bumping into him at award dos and such. I was amazed when I went to introduce myself the first time and he strode up saying, "Heeyyy! Paddy!" Fantastic.

The one thing I'm regretting is saying that Joseph is based on my father. People take the character so literally. My dad definitely had his temperament, but in the film you see Joseph kick his dog, and my dad never kicked his dog. It was like a cowboy and his horse with my dad and his dog.

· Dog Altogether will be showing at the Edinburgh international film festival on August 18 and 22 at the Filmhouse, Lothian Road. Details:

Interview by Tom Hughes

The GuardianTramp

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