A Huddersfield firm has teamed up with award-winning playwright John Godber to turn one of his plays into a feature film.
Filming Last Laugh is the second project for TV and film production company Visualize Films, launched just a year ago by John Danbury and Daniel McColl.
The two have already produced a 10-part TV series, Are We There Yet, set in and around Ireland and starring former Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson.
John and Daniel both have backgrounds in the theatre. John is an actor and magician while Daniel won a best director award for his “Tragedy of Macbeth” in Los Angeles a few years ago.
Said Daniel: “John Godber and I had tried to get funding for this project two years ago, but it had come to nothing. Then JD and I started Visualize Films and we all decided to make it on a micro budget.
“We have been hugely lucky to gain the financial backing from a distributor and a couple of local businesses, including support from Wakefield-based Sir Rodney Walker, to enable us to do it.
People in the industry also joined the project – giving their time and resources mainly for nothing.
Said John Danbury: “We had 15 crew, 50 actors, 150 extras, 22 locations and just 24 days to film the whole thing, so wouldn’t have been able to do that without the dedication and hard work of everyone concerned”
John Godber is famed for plays including A Kind of Loving, Teechers and Bouncers and for creating Hull Truck theatre company. He has written for TV shows including Brookside and Grange Hill and wrote and directed the film adaptation of his award-winning play Up n Under. He also won two BAFTAs for his TV film The Odd Squad.
Last Laugh is set in Hull and Whitby and stars Yorkshire-born actor Nick Figgis as Martin Dawson, a man on the brink of a breakdown who spends an ill-fated weekend away with his parents played by John Godber and his real-life wife Jane Thornton. Pop star Toyah Willcox also appears in a supporting role.
John Danbury said: “We hope to have a theatrical release sometime in the second quarter of 2017 to coincide with the Hull City of Culture celebrations that should help to maximise visibility for this project.”
John and Daniel are now planning a three-film deal with John Godber to bring some of his best known work to the screen as well as a documentary about the playwright himself,