It's always nice to score a Palme d'Or – Gerrard hits Cannes
Footballer takes to the red carpet in support of school friends' film
A film about the credit crunch set in a scrapyard in Liverpool? The obvious fellow to walk the Cannes red carpet and help his movie-making chums with a little publicity has to be the Scouse midfielder and millionaire Steven Gerrard.
After attending the A-list after-party for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds premiere, the footballer made time to support his old school friends on the Croisette.
Gerrard left film critics scratching their heads when he turned up at the Palais des Festivals premiere of the Liverpool-based comedy Charlie Noades RIP – a slice of Mersey by the Riviera. The movie was penned by Neil Fitzmaurice, the Liverpudlian twice Bafta-nominated co-writer of the television comedy series Phoenix Nights. Its budget was just £350,000 (an independent film of its kind is usually made on about £3m), and was partly shot in a scrapyard in Prescott.
Gerrard's presence raised the profile of the frugal project, which could arguably have slipped below the radar, among the hundreds of other small-budget films vying for attention – and distributors – at Cannes.
Fitzmaurice wrote the screenplay nine years ago but funding problems meant filming did not start until 2007, he said.
Its cast of British comedy stalwarts includes John Thomson, of Cold Feet and The Fast Show; John Henshaw, who features in Ken Loach's Palme D'or-nominated film Looking for Eric, and Phoenix Nights alumni Justin Moorhouse and Dave Spikey. Ian McCullough, of Echo and the Bunnymen, makes a cameo appearance.
Fitzmaurice said he had been inspired to write about "people struggling to make a living and relying on their loved ones to get through through... It's the 'band of misfits' idea and they've hit rock bottom. There's very northern humour".
Gerrard had not invested in the project, sources said. Fitzmaurice commented: "He has come to support us. He is a friend and he knows how important it is to us."
The central character, Steve Parr, works in the family business "Parr's Scrap and Salvage" yard, owned by his father Les. Steve is determined to transform the failing yard into a success, and begins a search for hidden gold rumoured to have been hidden nearby.
Fitzmaurice has won a British Comedy Award for his work on the show That Peter Kay Thing and his acting credits include roles in The Office, Peep Show and the recent ITV drama Mobile. His brother, Tony, a producer at North Star Productions, which made the film, described it as a rags-to-riches tale that followed on from their first feature film Going Off Big Time (2000), which was nominated for four British Independent Film Makers Awards.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral backlash from US parenting groups
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Doctor Who series 8: Watch Peter Capaldi in new ‘Listen!’ teaser trailer
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc