“It’s been a sick year for British film, in particular for breaking conventions”: Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell and Charlotte Regan on Scrapper
Wes Anderson meets Ken Loach by way of Bourne Ultimatum? If that’s not an alluring combo, we don’t know what to tell you. Charlotte Regan’s feature debut, Scrapper is the working-class comedy-drama that eschews the norms and brings colour, imagination, wit and joy into what could otherwise seem a bleak and heart-wrenching story.
A 12-year-old girl, Georgie (Lola Campbell), loses her beloved mother and is left to fend for herself. Her precocious and resourceful nature, however, means she handles the matter far better than most grown adults, keeping the flat spic-and-span and throwing off social service workers by getting the local shopkeeper to impersonate her uncle, “Winston Churchill”. She’s got a list of the stages of grief written up on the wall and is crossing them off day by day. A few bikes nicked here and there, with the help of buddy Ali (Alin Uzun), and she’s got most of her bases covered. Then her estranged father comes bounding into her life, quite literally over the back fence: Jason (Harris Dickinson) is a man-child who usually works in Ibiza and rocks an 8 Mile-style peroxide ‘do. Georgie is deeply suspicious, and Jason is mostly quite useless, but over time they start to see how much they really need one another.
It’s the little moments of this simple tale – talking spiders, pastel-hued council houses, improvised dialogue, father-daughter dance routine rehearsals – that spark delight, while also showing that a child’s perspective on grief is one we can all learn from. The pairing of new-to-screen Campbell (surely a future star) with Dickinson (whose career has blazed since the stunning Beach Rats through many a big-budget and indie flick – not least the Palme D’Or-winning Triangle of Sadness) lights up the screen at every turn. Alongside the likes of Aftersun (Regan’s feature debut, another working-class drama exploring with nuance and a light touch a father-daughter relationship), this is contemporary British cinema at its best.
We chatted to Campbell and Dickinson about their roles and experiences in Scrapper. They delved into the film’s emotional journey, dealing with grief while infusing it with wit and charm. Both actors reflected on their characters: Campbell as Georgie, an independent and resilient young woman, and Dickinson as Jason, a fatherly figure discovering empathy. Dickinson opened up about Jason’s transformation from an absent father to someone who understands the importance of connection, while Campbell revealed Georgie’s hidden grief and her ability to cope. The on-screen chemistry is evident through their banter, improvised moments, and the depth they bring to their roles. The duo also shed light on the film’s balance between humour and emotion, and how director Regan’s imaginative approach brought out the best in them, and highlighted the theme of finding joy and connection amidst life’s challenges and hidden struggles.
Regan then shared how her work on music videos and shorts prepared her for filming her debut, her desire to move beyond the usual tropes seen in working-class drama, where laughter and community are missing, and the brilliance of seeing Campbell and Dickinson’s chemistry on screen.
Scrapper is released in select cinemas on 25th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for Scrapper here: