[T]he key would be to make things personal as much as you can” says Gerard Johnson, the director of British crime drama Hyena, which is released in cinemas nationwide today. It’s clear that this is a personal film for the director, have been inspired to write the story after he and his cousin Peter Ferdinando, who also stars in the film, met an undercover policeman over ten years ago.
While his previous release Tony has received cult status, what Johnson has been able to achieve with Hyena is equally impressive. It’s a gritty and unique look at the West London gang landscape which entices viewers with its antihero protagonist in the form of Michael (played by Ferdinando). When David Knight (Stephen Graham), an old colleague of Michael’s, arrives he begins to lose control of his situation.
You can tell from speaking with Johnson that he was raised as a Londoner, which is fully reflected in the narrative of the film. The location truly is “another character”. In our interview with the director we uncover how he decided upon the location, cast Stephen Graham and his advice for emerging filmmakers.