British actor Toby Stephens has accused the U.K. film industry of focusing on depressing subject matters and regurgitating the same old topics of "football violence" and "gangsters".
The Die Another Day star is convinced British films lack variety and he hails his latest project, a U.K. sci-fi thriller titled The MAChine, as a welcome relief from monotonous movies set on housing estates.
He tells the Bbc, "Generally, when I get sent British scripts - and this isn't a generalisation - nine times out of 10 my heart sinks after about three pages... This script came through and it blew me away. It's not about football violence, it's not about gangsters, it's not about some depressing estate. It's a no-budget sci-fi movie dealing with really interesting ideas about where we're headed...
"We need to stop trying to imitate America. We need to stop trying to do the same movies over and over: the gangsters and football violence. We do these intelligentsia movies about married couples in Hampstead (in London) or whatever."
Stephens, whose mother is British acting veteran Dame Maggie Smith, urges U.K. filmmakers to step up quality by backing new and interesting ideas, adding, "I think there's a place for all those things but we can't keep on repeating ourselves... We need to start writing cleverer and better scripts.
"I read a lot of scripts and I find there's a paucity on quality. Whenever I've been sent American scripts they tend to be much better. I don't know why that is because we've got a lot of good writers here. When we make good movies we make really good movies.
"We've got fantastic writers, actors and crew here. We need to start being a bit more brave about the kind of films that we make."