MARCH ROUND UP – 2013

There doesn’t seem to be many British films on nationwide release these days. The only brand new films I’ve been able to get a look at are SONG FOR MARION and FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS, sadly I was disappointed with both.  Full reviews are already up.  My hairy accomplice Joe Pesci II has been very busy, so busy there are no less than a dozen new reviews that he has submitted and I’ve made live within the last 24 hours.  Here’s a list of the ones we’ve managed to get within a mile of over the last few weeks!

SONG FOR MARION

FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS

OUTCAST

CUT

THE VETERAN

DOWN TERRACE

FATHERS OF GIRLS

TELSTAR

STRIPPERS VS. WEREWOLVES

BLACK DEATH

COCKNEYS VS. ZOMBIES

WAKE WOOD

ATTACK THE BLOCK

WAR OF THE DEAD

FREIGHT 

CHERRY TREE LANE

TRUTH OR DARE

AXED

MALICE IN WONDERLAND

THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS

DEAD IN FRANCE

THE DECOY BRIDE

THE HOT POTATO

THE EAGLE

THE LAST SEVEN

In the next few weeks I can see two large budget UK jams, both which are starring James MacAvoy. One is Danny Boyle’s Trance and the other is Eran Creery’s Welcome To The Punch. Cool.

Until the then, hold that fart.

Brit Pic Dick, Joe Pesci II and Fetid Fredo

NEW REVIEWS – 13th January 2013

Happy New Year

A few reviews up now. Two brand new movies included:

Check out the really awful UFO. A cross between Brookside and Independence Day but less fun than both by some way.  Jean-Claude Van-Damme cameos in his most talkative role to date. Not the reason we watch his movies obviously.

Quartet was exactly what I’ve been looking for. An easy going britpic with no pretensions beyond telling a good story. It’s far less cornier than the trailer makes out.  It has a fair amount of subtlety and great performances from it’s ancient cast.

My hairy friend Sasquatch Usher aka Joe Pesci II has submitted three great reviews and they are very funny.  And perhaps the most scathing reviews you’ll ever read.

The other biggie is LES MISERABLES. Probably the largest budget UK flick this for 2013.  I saw it last night and was vastly impressed.

BREAK OUT OBSCURITY: After sifting through yards of DVD turd I finally found a low budget genre flick that I really rated.  It may have all the tropes of the everything else out there.  Interview With A Hitman sets itself apart by having a really well thought-out and cruel game of fate at the centre of the movie.  What starts out as a straight-forward memoir turns out to be something else altogether. Twinned up with some decent reined in performances and a really decent electronic score, this is one cheapo that works extremely well within it’s obvious limitations….

LES MISERABLES

INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN

UFO

QUARTET

NOWHERE BOY

OUTPOST

7LIVES

COCKNEYS Vs. ZOMBIES

THE HOT POTATO

BIG FAT GYPSY GANGSTER

WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT

TRAVELLERS

THE REEDS

PIGGY

Until next time.>>! Hold that fart.

ROUND UP – 12/12/12

As Xmas is coming in I’d have thought that the number of UK films around would have decreased. At the cinema it’s stayed steady throughout December but the DVD releases have pretty much gone to ground.

I made a pleasant discovery that the very American looking SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is a UK invader into the US box-office.  It stars Americans, it’s set in America, it walks and talks in American, so why is it a Britpic?  Well, it was financed by the BFI and Film Four, which at face value is good enough for us.  Directed by Martin McDonagh, I thought it was a great follow up to In Bruges. However, Joe hates In Bruges so will have completely opposite thoughts to me.  He even thinks A Night In The Woods is better than The Blair Witch Project.  Not sure why. He owes me the review.

We also have a review for an inspired and surreal comedy that ALMOST works… KILL KEITH... Yes. Keith Chegwin proves there’s more to him than Swapshop and Breakfast telly.

This week we’ve got reviews up for:

KILL KEITH

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

THE DECOY BRIDE

SKELETONS

SIGHTSEERS

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

A NIGHT IN THE WOODS by Joe Pesci II

BIG FAT GYPSY GANGSTER by Joe Pesci II

HARD BOILED SWEETS by Joe Pesci II

ILL MANORS

OUTPOST

STALKER (2011)

SKELETONS came out in 2010 to much applause.  It’s a strange and mannered comedy about to Edwardian styled exorcists who specialise in expelling skeletons from people’s closets.  It lives in a world of it’s own but get to grips with the mechanics there’s enjoyment to be had.  Review in the next 48 Hours.  Finally saw SIGHTSEERS too.  Hopefully, we’ll have both my own and Joe Pesci II’s reviews up for reading anytime soon.

At the time of writing, only two new reviews are up since the last “round-up”.  This is here in essence to make sure that I do what I say I will. Ha!  Lots to do in the run up to Xmas.

The only UK films I can think of that are appearing in January are UFO (feat. Simon Phillips & Jean-Claude Van-Damme) and the new take Les Miserables.  Plus two more randoms from Lovefilm.  I hope there are more.

Merry Xmas, Dick N Joe.

ROUND UP – 27TH NOVEMBER 2012

A bit of a slow week over here but we have installed a trailer page for up and coming films that look good.  Simple as that.  Some may only get a cursory cinema release or none at all. But I’m looking forward to The Fall Of The Essex Boys because it looks like it may try a new slant on the Rettendon Landrover Murders in which three of the country’s most notorious criminals were executed.  Was it the police? Or did the police arrest the right men?  Check out the trailers page here.  It’s out mid-February 2013. We also lined up Sightseers.

Trailers Page

REVIEWS:

New reviews are thin on the ground.  We’ve reviewed two contrasting creep tests.  One was just brilliant but very small in scale. The other was a Scream / I Know What You Did Last Summer wannabe, which has to be the sleepiest slasher anyone has ever seen.  Can you tell which is which. Also a pretty good but slow Sci-Fi about cloning called Clone– featuring Matt Smith of Dr Who‘s first film lead. Hard Boiled Sweets is a polished if tired gangster flick set in Southend On Sea…. Also clocked a USA set sports thriller called FREERUNNER. It stars both Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer as the euro-villains…

FREERUNNERDuff USA set thriller starring dopey twin-pack Tamer Hassan & Danny Dyer

DEMONS NEVER DIE has two reviews. One from me and one from Joe Pesci II

IN THE DARK HALFDo try to seek this out if you prefer creepy over gory!

CLONE – Intelligent Sci-Fi… No Laser guns or flying cars though. Just Dr Who.

HARDBOILED SWEETS Gaiiiingsturz!

I’ll add on one or two more during the week.  I think Joe, has a BASEMENT review for me and I’ll be reviewing SIGHTSEERS, which is out on cinemas on Friday.

For now, hold that guff, we’ll be back….

Dick N Joe

NEW REVIEWS: 11th Nov 2012

Hi,

WE ARE HOPING TO REVIEW A FEW NEW MOVIES THIS WEEK… some that go back to early 2010 and others that are new on cinema screens this week…..

Also check out the Guardian article we’ve showcased about how nightmarish production of an indie UK movie can be!  It was published in back in 2009. CLICK HERE>

I’ve tracked down a copy of the movie in question called THE BIG I AM and I will be reviewing it in the next few days. I need a long rest from UK Gangster movies now.  A real long one.

I’ve just sat through a really good one that I can recommend if you are a patient kind of viewer that doesn’t need explosions or spaceships every ten seconds and that’s CLONE although it’s known as Womb everywhere but in the UK (see IMDB).  I think it was a co-production with Germany, Hungary and France.  But we’ll still make room for it on Britpic, like we did the recently fun STITCHES from Eire.

Also we’ll have reviews of LOVE BITE and MY BROTHER THE DEVIL that I’ll be seeing at Cineworld Stevenage tomorrow. (I hate Stevenage!)  Love Bite used to have the better title of WEREWOLF ON SEA which is hugely catchy. It’s a comedy horror starring TIMOTHY SPALL (as a werewolf?) and ED SPELEERS from Eragon and TV’s Downton Abbey…  MY BROTHER THE DEVIL has been the critically adored UK flick of 2012.  I’m hoping it’s something that I can recommend and enjoy.  It was hard enough to find a multiplex playing it, so it will probably be ignored by the audience it’s probably been tailored for.

I’ve also reviewed the made for Hollywood asteroid of horse excrement that is TAMARA DREWE, a curiously made club land yarn called THE GRIND, the UK’s unfunniest comedy (except for KEITH LEMON) BIG FAT GYPSY GANGSTER (at least it was made cheaper). We really liked Danny Dyer’s “made for your Dad – movie” THE AGE OF HEROES too. So it’s not all been brickbats down at Britpic.

We did get bollocked by Nick Nevern for sending him a Facebook  link to our thoughts on GBH.  We were hard on his performance in said review, saying we thought he’d been miscast and looked stretched.   In his reply (which is in the public domain for all to see) he said he worked hard.  Now, I don’t doubt that, he probably did work very hard and have a lot taken out of him (physically and mentally), but sometimes it’s not the effort, it’s the application. We know.  We’re  film reviewers (snigger!) We’re still fans of Nick Nevern though and we did describe him as one of the UK’s most exciting actors on the scene at the moment. What more did he want>>!  All good clean, fun and games though.  Check out his other films: OUTPOST 2, THE SWEENEY, THE RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN, 7LIVES & STRIPPERS VS. WEREWOLVES.  If this blog ever gets serious, we’d love to do a feature on him… But… In all seriousness that’s 25 years off.  We’re too fucking lazy to get this beyond what it is. A hobby that shares & scares. I don’t know what Joe Pesci II’s aspirations are>>>>!   He’s probably on a mission to find a UK made film that he actually likes… Hahahha.

Oh yes: I forgot to hype two things:

THE FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS – The makers are real gents.  I wish them much success with this re-dux of the Rettendon Land Rover Murders.  I won’t mention the obvious because that would do them a disservice. I suspend and delay forming my thoughts until the film arrives.  But I just want to say we’ve been promised a better thought out, more accurate and conspiracy based take on events than in the last three versions.  Fingers crossed.

THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY – currently in production is looking for extras. Join their page on Facebook for info on dates and London locations in the next few weeks.  Our mate Nick Nevern is directing it. And it also features one of our favourites; Jason Maza.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s doing in WELCOME TO THE PUNCH!

Right, Good Night from Brit Pic Dick….

ARTICLE: IT’S NOT EASY

IT’S NOT EASY MAKING AN INDEPENDENT MOVIE

ARTICLE ABOUT – THE BIG I AM (2010) (REVIEWED SOON)

Lights, camera, disaster

The Hollywood star refused to come out of his trailer, the leading lady’s hair melted and the actor hired to play the joy- rider couldn’t drive – hahaha!

  • Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott Clark
  • The Guardian, Saturday 5 December 2009
Robert Fucilla
Photograph: David Levene

Brixton-born City trader Robert Fucilla had succeeded in everything he had put his hand to, from selling oil to backing British hip-hop acts, and believed his Italian ancestry gave him a shot at being a British Al Pacino. Of course, millions dream of breaking into the movies, but what underpinned Fucilla’s ambition, friends and workmates agree, what made him stand out from every other fantasist and wannabe, was self-belief and a monumental ego.

  1. The Big I Am
  2. Production year: 2010
  3. Country: UK
  4. Cast: Leo Gregory, Vincent Regan, Phil Davis, Beatrice Rosen, Paul Kaye, Robert Fucilla with Steven Berkoff and Michael Madsen
  5. The Big I Am – Britpic Review.

Too impatient to train as an actor, and having briefly tried the traditional route of castings and pumping connections, Fucilla decided to buy his way in. At first, this approach proved remarkably successful. Somehow, the novice film-maker secured more than £1m from investors, assembled a solid, homegrown cast that included Phil Davis, Paul Kaye and Steven Berkoff, and in Michael Madsen – the psychopathic Mr Blonde in Reservoir Dogs – he even had a bona fide Hollywood name. Having slated himself as executive producer, found his story (a young thug’s brutal coming of age) and recruited a reputable ad director to shoot it, all that remained was for Fucilla to cast himself. What better way to be spotted than in a tightly managed, low-budget Brit movie supported by an ensemble of proven talent?

The story of Fucilla’s unlikely foray into the film business begins in 1998, with a young man making a radical decision. Bored with his architecture degree at the University of East London, 21-year-old Fucilla jacked it in and got on a plane to LA. “I just woke up one morning and wanted to be something else,” he says. “What was I waiting for?” Blagging a sofa in a friend’s apartment, he hired an agent and sent headshots of himself to casting agencies while paying his way by waiting tables. After two years, in which the closest he came to a co-starring role was serving breakfast to Robert De Niro (“I got as far as joking that we had the same first name”), Fucilla retreated from LA, determined to find another entrée.

Back in London, he scored a job as a runner for Nic Auerbach, a seasoned commercials director. Auerbach, too, had always wanted to get into movies, and on any given night could be seen around Soho in his Bentley or Range Rover with the personalised plates MOVIES and FILMS. In Fucilla, he saw a younger version of himself. “Rob was a young, brash, brazen guy who had that balance of cockiness and chutzpah. We both had towering egos.” They were both also sensitive to ageing in an industry that prizes youthfulness – Auerbach had been telling people he was 30 for so many years that they referred to it as his “screen age”. For a few months they worked together on an advertising campaign for Thomson holidays, but that was not Fucilla’s idea of stardom. Soon after, they went their separate ways, although Auerbach “half expected to see Rob again”.

By 2006, Fucilla was transformed: he had a diamond ring bigger than a peach pit on his finger, a Porsche in the driveway of his large north London house. He had done well in the City. “You could say I was a millionaire before I was 30.” But he still harboured aspirations towards a more glamorous career. Now that he had the cash, he might as well use it to finance a film. And after the two lost years in LA, he was in no mood to wait for agents to come calling. “Why wait to be cast and all of that palaver when I could take a short cut?” He went back to Auerbach and said he could raise the money for him to direct his first feature.

At first Auberbach thought he was bluffing – “This business is full of people talking up their money when the cash is a long way from the bank” – but Fucilla persisted until, in early 2007, he gave in and the two began discussing ideas. Auerbach had been toying with one pitch for some time. The story of a London joyrider who falls in with some criminal heavyweights, it featured gangsters, brasses, geezers, Beemers and a smattering of violence. A script was commissioned from unknown writer Tim Cunningham and, having had feedback from readers and studios, it was chosen as the vehicle for Fucilla’s film debut. Its name, aptly enough, was The Big I Am.

Almost immediately, however, producer and director began pulling in different directions. “I saw our film as a classic English gangster movie,” Fucilla says. “The investors were happy because we thought it was more likely to make everyone some money.”

Auerbach, meanwhile, “had no intention of making another English gangster movie. For me, it was a coming-of-age drama about a young guy facing hard choices in order to become a man.”

Then there was Fucilla’s on-screen role. “As exec producer, and having helped raise the money, I wanted a strong part to show my ability,” he says. “Is that unreasonable? It was my film.”

Auerbach, however, saw Fucilla’s part as “top of the non-stars, something credible but not too large, because no actors of worth would agree to be in a vanity project, and I didn’t want to shoot one.”

Fucilla rages at the thought of this. “All I wanted was a chance to show off my acting,” he says.

The friction between the two men was immediately apparent to David Ball, the veteran British producer Auerbach approached to pull the project together. He remembers thinking the set-up was odd from the start. “I was told Robert Fucilla used to be Nic’s assistant. We had to give him a part because he was putting up the money. I said, ‘Fine. We have loads of thugs – he can be a thug. He’s only 5ft 9in with a 39-inch chest, and he doesn’t exactly frighten me, but if that’s what it takes, so be it.” Ball was more concerned when he saw the script: “This was Guinness Book Of Records stuff, a BMW going up on two wheels performed by a driver of the capabilities of the Stig.” When Ball asked about financing, Auerbach told him the budget was just over £1m, which to Ball’s mind would barely cover the stunts.

Ball claims that he repeatedly asked Auerbach to arrange a meeting with Fucilla to discuss the budget shortfall, but by this time Auerbach was swept up in casting. Vincent Regan, an Irish actor who starred alongside Brad Pitt in the 2004 Hollywood epic Troy, was put forward. Auerbach was ecstatic: “I said, ‘Sign him now, he’s like Michael Caine at the beginning of his career. Get him before the price goes up.'” Regan accepted the role of Barber, a vicious gang lord. Soon Phil Davis, Paul Kaye and MC Harvey of So Solid Crew were on board, too, along withBeatrice Rosen, who is Batman’s Bolshoi ballerina connection in The Dark Knight and one of the leads in this winter’s blockbuster 2012.

In early 2007, Auerbach flew to the US in an attempt to hook self-styled Hollywood “bad ass” Michael Madsen. They met at the Chateau Marmont hotel, where Madsen had been living on and off with his two rottweilers. The role Auerbach had in mind for him was Martell, a washed-up casino owner. The debutant director returned triumphant, but casting Madsen added another layer of difficulty. The actor liked Harley-Davidsons, guns and writing poetry on his own skin. What he did not like was being bossed. “I knew things could go wrong with Madsen,” Auerbach admits, but he was excited, too, about the film’s growing momentum. “Madsen was to wear silver shoes, Berkoff an aqua blue latex suit. All the stylistic things were coming off.” Finally, Auerbach found his lead – young British actor Leo Gregory would play Skinner, a car thief who steals the wrong vehicle only to find Barber (Vincent Regan) tied up in the boot. All spent up by now, Auerbach and Fucilla cast friends in smaller roles, with Fucilla himself taking on the part of Floyd, a small-time mobster eager to move up a division.

Ball recruited his crew and finally met some of the financial backers, including Fucilla and Andrew Frangos, another City trader. The producer says he immediately warned them about costs: “I told them this film felt like £3m to me. No one was listening.” Fucilla recalls the meeting somewhat differently: “Ball said, ‘Come to Wales, everything is cheap here and you’ll get hundreds of thousands back in grants and your tax credit.’ He said he could do it for the agreed price.”

The regional grants never materialised, but Ball blamed Auerbach for the rising costs. “We could have saved money in some places, but for that you need a very flexible director, and Nic wasn’t.” Particularly irksome was Auerbach’s method approach to directing, especially when it came to coaching Gregory. “I took Leo on a tour of London’s finest and filthiest nightspots,” Auerbach concedes. “I hired bodyguards to make him feel he was in the business.” He also got menacing figures to call Gregory round the clock demanding money, to simulate his character’s experience.

Shooting was just days off when Gregory, the would-be joyrider, confessed that he could not drive. Visualising all the car chases that could not now be shot, Auerbach went ballistic – and then sent him off for driving lessons. Worse, when the cameras did finally start rolling in April 2008, a stunt backfired, smashing Gregory’s nose in three places. Ball was dismayed: “He was supposed to be in every scene and now he was hospitalised. We virtually had to shut down.” Gregory was rushed to a private hospital in London for emergency treatment. Sets were held over. Hired equipment sat idle. Actors were paid for doing nothing. “What is Leo’s face going to cost us?” Fucilla wondered as two weeks went by and the bills mounted.

From the wings, veterans such as Phil Davis looked on with increasing foreboding. The Big I Am was a curious mix. “The first 20 minutes were amusing in a Tarantino-esque way,” he says. “Then there was a darker element when all these prostitutes arrived from eastern Europe, gangsters carved in half with Samurai swords… But I was just there to play my character and go home at the end of it.”

When filming restarted, however, Davis was pleasantly surprised by the scale of Auerbach’s ambition. “We were shooting on film, not digital. We had two cameras running. We had a major Hollywood star. It felt like a genuine, pukka movie.” Even so, he still had the odd misgiving. “Once or twice there were some folks who were high five-ing each other and talking about going to Hollywood, and here we were on the outskirts of Cardiff doing this low-budget gangster movie… It all seemed a bit daft and inappropriate.”

Behind the swagger, Fucilla was wondering what he had got himself into. “I was now being told it was going to cost upwards of £1.6m, perhaps more. I told them to keep it tight. I tried to get on with my day job.” Back in the City, the global financial crisis was threatening to cripple his business. “It was all going mad in the office – 30 guys on the trading floor crying like children.” At home, his wife was expecting their second child in a difficult pregnancy. “After I finished my 12-hour day in the City at 6pm, I had to drive two hours to Cardiff and fight my corner on set before driving back to London in the early hours.”

Then Fucilla learned that filming was to stop again, so Auerbach could take the cast to the Cannes film festival. He even proposed shipping over his Bentley and Range Rover so that they looked the part. “They were having a laugh,” says Fucilla. “We still had no film in the bag, so why play at movie moguls? We had no money.”

Auerbach was adamant, however. “What Rob could not understand was that Cannes is the one place where the entire film world comes together. We had to be there.” Auerbach won that battle, but Fucilla had the last word, sending them by easyJet.

Filming restarted three days after the festival, and by the end of May Auerbach was delighted with the rushes. Then, one morning, he heard screaming coming from Beatrice Rosen’s trailer. Ball heard it, too. They ran towards the noise. Inside, Rosen’s hair appeared to be on fire. Ball stood at the door, transfixed. “Her hair was shrivelling up and vanishing before my eyes. We were agog.” Fucilla got a call at his desk in the City. Auerbach explained how a shampoo had reacted badly with Rosen’s hair extensions, leaving him with no choice but to send her, sobbing, to a specialist hairdresser in Knightsbridge. “Do they not have hairdressers in Cardiff?” Fucilla raged into the phone. “It’s not fucking Zimbabwe.” This led to another costly delay to filming, and with the budget now rising to £1.8m-plus, Fucilla was running out of cash.

For the first time, he decided to scrutinise The Big I Am’s escalating expenses. “I talked to one of the cast drivers and found out people were staying in penthouses and lovely hotel rooms. They took the piss out of me so badly.” Days later, he found out that some in the cast and crew had also been hiring limos to ferry them from Cardiff to London and back at £1,000 a time.

Incensed, Fucilla drove to Cardiff to bang heads together, and on arrival discovered that a new set had been built on an old SAS training base. He was staggered: “This was a low-budget film and they had constructed an entire nightclub to film one scene. We could have bought a real nightclub and gone out in it every night this year for the amount they had spent.” The film was already £700,000 over budget and everything was piling on top of him. “My wife was suffering. My business was struggling. I was arguing with everyone on set. I hated them all and felt I was on the verge of a breakdown. One day David Ball said to me, ‘Why don’t you sell your house?’ I felt as if I was being bled. I wanted to sue everyone.”

Then Michael Madsen arrived from LA. Wearing a bandana and full of unorthodox demands – such as insisting all costume department mannequins be turned to the wall lest he be spooked by the wigs – he was at first charming. But as the days went on, he became “a handful”, Ball says.

Auerbach was feeling the pressure, too. “By now I was plate-spinning. Getting up and thinking, OK, run towards that plate. And then it’s Michael calling. ‘OK. I’ll be with you in 30 minutes, Michael. What do you mean you have not gone to bed yet? You should be getting up now.’ Spin another plate. ‘Phil Davis? Phil’s not having a good time in the rain.’ Spin his plate. Then suddenly I was in Michael’s trailer and he was lying on the floor saying, ‘Nic, you’re a fucking dictator. Quentin never makes me do it like this.'”

Everything came to a head on Madsen’s big day shooting in the exorbitant, all-white nightclub set. “There were five cameras, cranes, 300 extras,” Ball says. “It was a £100,000 day and had been planned to the nth degree. Planned. Planned. Planned.” Fucilla and Frangos drove down from London to witness their star turn, but Madsen did not show up. Ball was apoplectic. He tracked the star down to his hotel room, but he wouldn’t come out. “He had suffered some sort of stress attack,” Ball says. (Madsen’s lawyer claims “the project was unprofessional and my client wanted out”.)

Auerbach and Ball concluded that they would have to write Madsen out of the film by killing his character. The only problem was that the superstitious star never died on film. “I eventually broke it to him that if he wanted to be released, he had to die,” Auerbach says.

The death scene would take place on the nightclub set, with Davis delivering the fatal shot. “Madsen was kitted out in a white suit and placed behind a white piano,” Davis says. “I put two bullets in him, but he wouldn’t die. I shot him again. There were these squibs throwing out blood, but he was still staggering about. Then he made up a poem – something about the nature of true love. We were all gobsmacked.” They would have to do it again. They cleaned up the set and found a new white suit for Madsen. “I put all my bullets inside him,” Davis says, “and he began singing Green, Green Grass Of Home.” And even then Madsen rose up from the floor. As Auerbach peered above the camera, he screamed, “Am I fucking dead enough for you now, Nic?”

A few nights later, police were called to the Dorchester hotel in London, where Madsen had gone to recuperate with his wife and five-year-old daughter. Guests had complained about screaming and shouting coming from the star’s room, and shortly afterwards he was led out through the ballroom to avoid waiting photographers.

Fucilla read about the Madsen episode in the tabloids, head in hands. In fear of his investors, his alienation only deepened when his car windows were smashed by what he believed to be a disgruntled crew member. “I was stuck in Cardiff with people I could not stand. I wanted to go home. I wanted out.”

Ball was having an equally terrible time, accused of incompetence and profligacy by City investors while he claimed to have had to write 37 new schedules to contain the chaos. Davis remembers seeing Ball crisscrossing the set one morning. “There was this shock of white hair struggling along, cursing to himself, ‘What else is going to fuck up now?'” He didn’t have to wait long for an answer: his production manager was diagnosed with terminal cancer and an assistant had a car crash and ended up in a coma.

With the production now even deeper in the red, Fucilla finally lashed out, sacking Ball and removing his credit. “We were up to almost £2m and nowhere near finished,” he says. Auerbach contested the figure, saying the £2m included moneys that would be claimed back from insurers and maintaining he had completed principal photography as the shooting schedule dictated.

Nevertheless, Fucilla instructed Auerbach to stop filming and sat down alone to view the raw footage. What he saw horrified him. “I had been cut out of my own film. I spoke to the script supervisor and she said, ‘Basically, Rob, you are a featured extra.’ I went mad. I wanted to kill everyone. I was on the rampage.” Fucilla regrouped. He got a friend, Jack Landoli, who had also been cast in the film, to write extra scenes for his character. Without telling Auerbach or any of the actors what he was doing, he hired a young director, Arun Kumar, and called back some of the cast to act beside him in the new scenes. Kumar could not believe what greeted him. “It was chaos,” he says, “I had seen nothing like it. I agreed to go ahead only if they paid me in cash.”

The Big I Am finally wrapped last October, with Fucilla inserted, Zelig-like, throughout. Off screen, controversy continued to dog the film. “We were accused of causing £80,000 damage to an apartment we borrowed,” Fucilla says. “Six more writs came in claiming unpaid bills. I settled all of them – another £70,000 down – while everyone told me to draw a line and get out.”

The Big I Am appeared to be bankrupt before it had even made it into post-production. But earlier this year, Fucilla relented and called Auerbach. “Film is so intensive, and Rob and I benefited from some time out,” the director says. “Despite it all, we both loved this film and wanted it to work.” Auerbach agreed to supervise the edit for free, while Fucilla tried to get the film sold. All at once things began to fall into place. Impressed by the cast and direction, distribution companies began vying for rights. There were offers for a UK cinematic release with talk of a US deal to follow.

When the film premieres in April, the boy from Brixton will get his longed-for turn on the red carpet and then watch as his name appears fourth in the opening credits, above Berkoff, Davis and Rosen. Davis is incredulous. “Sometimes a film looks fantastic. Everyone’s excited and talking about the genius of this and that, how it’s going to be a masterpiece, and it turns out to be poop. And sometimes the opposite is true. It seems to be a complete nightmare, but then it all comes together. And no one would be more pleased than me if that happened to The Big I Am.”

Auerbach is now preparing to shoot his second feature, while Fucilla is putting together a new movie deal through which to narrate his life. “We’re going to do a story, LA Dream,” he says, forgetting the heartache of the last three years. “It’s about two British guys who pitch up in LA to become movie stars but don’t have a cat in hell’s chance.”

NEW REVIEWS! 31/10/12

HI

Me & Joe Pesci II have been watching and reviewing a few films as usual.  I made the mistake of mistaking STITCHES as a British movie, it’s infact Irish. But I enjoyed it so much I’m going to include it on Britpic.  So that shouldn’t offend any Irish men or women in our midst.  It’s not as if I’m appropriating it and saying it’s Made In Britain. So to follow eventually will be a little review for a really enjoyable lo-fi Irish Horror flick.

We’ve also reviewed DANNY DYER‘S stinker PIMP, a Harold Pinter-esque SEAN PERTWEE thriller called FOUR, a superior horror sequel about zombie Nazis called OUTPOST II: BLACK SUN and Joe Pesci’s exceedingly accurate yet funny review of MARK HAMILL‘s movie comeback AIRBORNE.

SKYFALL review by the end of the week. I’ve seen it and I liked the back to basic approach but was less happy about the setting up of the “Scooby Doo gang” for future films….  Swiss Family Bond anyone?

Next time fools,  Brit Pic Dick

Oh yeah – off to see THE SHINING… Hallowe’en is here!