(a working title only)



Colin Firth
Anne-Marie Duff
Robert Carlyle
David Oyelowo


On location
(updated 9/20/06)


Homelessness features in major film drama
(24dash.com, Oct 9, 2006, by Ian Morgan)
Up and coming Brit Actress Nichola Burley (Love & Hate, Shameless) visited Centrepoint and spoke to young homeless people as part of her research for a role in 'London' a forthcoming BBC One film-drama.

The one-off drama, which addresses social inequality in Britain today, features Colin Firth and Robert Carlyle and is written and directed by Bafta award-winning Dominic Savage. It will be shown on BBC One early November, 40 years on from Ken Loach's groundbreaking drama Cathy Come Home which revealed the shocking story of a young homeless couple caught in a poverty trap.

Burley plays a young runaway from Leeds and is one of several characters whose paths collide at a B&B temporarily housing the homeless. The actress was keen to meet and discuss her part with some of the young homeless people Centrepoint support across London each night, she spent an afternoon chatting to young people living at Centrepoint Berwick Street, an emergency service in Soho. "I felt I had to talk to young homeless women to keep my character true to life," said Nichola Burley.

"I was shocked and saddened to hear their stories. I never realised just how bad it gets for some young people, particularly those who are forced into prostitution and drugs.  I hope I can do them justice in my role and would like to thank Centrepoint for giving me the opportunity to find out first hand the kind of challenges they face on a daily basis."

Anthony Lawton, Centrepoint chief executive said: "Centrepoint Berwick Street is a real safety net, keeping the UK's most vulnerable young people off the streets, safe and supported.  Nicola lifted the spirits of the young people she met and in turn was genuinely moved by their experiences.  We are pleased to work with the BBC to ensure the drama is a true representation of homelessness today and hope it will challenge audience stereotypes and preconceptions."

The Savage streets
(Daily Mail, June 30, 2006, by Baz Bamigboye)
Colin Firth kept pacing up and down the smart street lined with £3 million homes.  Porsches turned into the street and people kept peering through the net curtains.  The actor was shooting a film for BBC1 by director Dominic Savage. Everyone kept saying how ‘edgy’ it was, but the actor saw it slightly differently.

‘When you say edgy, you think of something experimental and way out there. This isn’t that.  This is just a reflection of life’.

It is a bit edgy, though, in the way Savage films in the raw.  He often lets members of the public walk into the shot.  The other night, Colin was filming with a younger actress in Marylebone and passers-by thought it was his girlfriend.  ‘There were lot of comments, but we kept the film rolling,’ Colin said.

In the movie, which has the working title London, Savage has assembled a number of top young actors including Anne-Marie Duff, David Oyelowo, Robert Carlyle, Emily Woof, Emilia Fox and Nikki Amuka-Bird.  What links them all is a hostel for the homeless.

Savage stressed that it’s not a remake of Cathy Come Home.  Rather, he and producers Ruth Caleb and Lucy Hillman have made a film that explores many levels of the social strata.

‘From the perspective of my character, it’s about the emotional cost of doing good,’ Colin said.

Stars sign up for homeless drama
(BBC News, May 31, 2006)

Actors Colin Firth and Robert Carlyle are to star in a BBC drama marking the 40th anniversary of Ken Loach's film Cathy Come Home. The drama will tell the stories of several characters who find themselves living in temporary housing. It echoes Loach's powerful 1966 film, which showed how an average family became homeless.

The new drama will also star Nighty Night star Julia Davis and Anne-Marie Duff from Shameless.

Firth will take the lead role, playing a wealthy city worker trying to help people less fortunate than himself and getting drawn into their lives.

Provisionally called London, the drama has been written and directed by Dominic Savage, who made the 2002 youth offenders' drama Out of Control. "This is a film about social inequalities, people in desperate circumstances and their intertwining different lives," he said. "It's ultimately about people's relationships and the difficulties, dilemmas and moral issues they face."

The film will not be a remake or update of Cathy Come Home, said a BBC spokesperson. Loach's drama sparked a national debate and led to the establishment of the homeless charity Shelter. A poll conducted by the British Film Institute in 2000 found Cathy Come Home was the second favourite programme of all time for UK TV industry figures.

Firth and Duff Unite for Gritty TV Film
(The Stage, May 31, 2006)

It stars Firth as a wealthy City worker whose conscience about his luxurious lifestyle prompt him to aid the less fortunate, while Duff plays a pregnant mother escaping an abusive husband, played by Oyelow. Carlyle plays a newly-released convict.

Stellar line-up in Savage's major BBC drama
(May 31, 2006)

A stellar line-up featuring Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, David Oyelowo and Robert Carlyle begins shooting this week on London (working title) a major BBC ONE film drama, written and directed by Bafta award-winning Dominic Savage.

Savage's gripping dramas, such as Love and Hate, Out of Control and Nice Girl, are dedicated to tackling contemporary social issues. In this film he addresses social inequality in Britain today through the lives of several characters whose paths collide at a B&B temporarily housing the homeless and dispossessed.

Mark (Colin Firth) is a wealthy city worker whose conscience and guilt about his luxurious lifestyle prompt him to try to help those less fortunate, but it results in turmoil for both himself and others. Staying at the B&B are Michelle (Anne-Marie Duff), a pregnant mother with a young child who escapes an abusive husband; Nigerian Yemi (David Oyelowo), and his family; and Robert (Robert Carlyle), newly released from prison.

Dominic Savage explains further: "This is a film about social inequalities, people in desperate circumstances and their intertwining different lives.

"It's ultimately about people's relationships and the difficulties, dilemmas and moral issues they face."

The cast also includes Emilia Fox, Julia Davis, Megan Dodds, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Nichola Burley, Emily Woof and Pearce Quigley.

Interview with Dominic Savage
(Netribution, May 5, 2006, by Stephen Applebaum)

Is this the film to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Cathy Come Home?

“Indeed it is. That’s how it started. It started as a film about homelessness today, on the 40th anniversary of Cathy Come Home, but it’s changed into more of a film about social inequality and more the fact that there are incredibly wealthy people living side-by-side with incredibly poor people, and of course it then also reflects the state of homelessness today in terms of the fact that a lot of people are living in temporary accommodation for two, three, four, five years without a proper home. It’s all set in London and it’s all about the kind of huge, huge gap between the rich and the poor, and those different lifestyles that clash.”

Would you say that’s the biggest difference since Loach made his film, the inequality?

“Well, I think the system is trying to help people much more. That was shocking, I suppose, because it was about how the system failed them and how they slipped between all kinds of nets. That still exists but I think there’s more care in place. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that there isn’t enough places to house people. There’s not enough homes for people. And it isn’t right that people should be on waiting lists for years and years, and people aren’t effectively housed. Living in hostels and stuff is not home. So that’s the difference, I think. But also social inequality has never been as extreme as it is at the moment; the huge wealth of some people, and the fact that there are still people living in poverty.”

Colin Firth and Ann-Marie Duff are in it, I believe.

“Yes, it’s a move on for me in many ways in that I’m not so much working with first timers. It’s much more experienced actors now. There will be some discoveries, but mostly established actors. So it’s exciting. And they’ve bought up for the process that I make films with. The whole improvised approach, they’re really interested in that. So it’s going to be made in the same way, but they’re going to have un-learn all their acting.”

Yes, you told me last year that your next big challenge was to make a film with established actors and bring them into your way of working. Is that going to be difficult for someone who is as well known as, say, Colin Firth?

“Definitely. It’s going to be harder in many ways but we’re going to work on the premise that they’re going to work on their personal experiences and life experience
and they’ll have to, because it’s improvised. That’s the difference, I think. The people I’ve cast, it’s not just because they’re those names. It’s also because they’re prepared to do that. Many stars aren’t, I don’t think, but many of them have again got a connection with the role they’re playingan emotional and experience connectionso that’s really interesting again. Hopefully we’ll be able to draw on those life experiences.”

Does the new film have a title?

”The working title is London
it’s all set in Londonbut we’ll probably change it.”

Do you think a film now could have the same impact as Cathy Come Home?

“I don’t. It won’t have it in the same way. I think what I’m looking for is an impact that just engages people in issues of society. Hopefully I’m going to try and make a film that talks about what society is today, and all the kind of dilemmas that society’s facing, and try and encapsulate that in a film. So I’m hoping to be ambitious. But it is about difference and how we’re all same, really. In the film all these different kinds of levels of people collide, and it’s about what happens when they do. So hopefully it will be a provocative film, but I can’t say it will provoke the set up of a new charity [laughs] or anything like that. I can’t promise that but there’s hope. There’s hope [laughs].”

During interviews for his latest film release (Love + Hate), Dominic Savage has mentioned Robert Carlyle being in the cast of the "London" project.

4/07/06: The Daily Mail (by Baz Bamigboye)

A radical movie that explores aspects of poverty, race, inequality and class—some are calling it a British version of Oscar best winner Crash—is about to be shot on the streets of London by the BBC....

[Dominic] Savage, an insightful filmmaker who likes to build upon the characters he creates through extensive rehearsals and improvisational sessions, has set his film, which has the working title of The London Project, in a North London hostel for the homeless. Three of the inhabitants' stories will be inter-linked with that of a middle-class 'do-gooder' who wants to help.

Ms Duff...would play an 'upper' working-class wife who escapes her abusive husband and goes to the hostel. Mr Oyelowo would take the part of a Nigerian political refugee and Mr Firth—if he agrees to do the film—the role of a disillusioned businessman....

The film has been developed through the BBC's drama and documentary departments. Ruth Caleb, one of the corporation's most distinguished producers, is pushing to get it made. Filming, once contracts are sorted out, should start in late May or early June.

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