Timothy Spall channels the comedy greats | In a bizarre new film

Timothy Spall channels the comedy greats

In a bizarre new film

Timothy Spall plays a raft of comic greats, including Max Wall, George Formby, Tony Hancock and Max Miller, in an ambitious new film.

Stanley, A Man Of Variety revolves around an inmate who has been stuck in prison for 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. As his sanity erodes, he starts to see hallucinations based on the classic British films and TV shows of which he is a fan.

They also include Noel Coward, Alistair Sim’s Scrooge and Egor in a Transylvanian castle. And as Stanley becomes increasingly suicidal he finds himself in a court presided over by Margaret Rutherford deciding on his fate.

Spall plays 16 roles in the 83-minute film, which is described as a black comedy.

Director Stephen Cookson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Spall, says he was influenced by Ealing Comedies, especially Kind Hearts And Coronets, in which Alec Guinness plays eight roles.

The film was shot in 2015, but has not yet landed a UK release, although it received its world premiere at the UK Film Festival in London in November where Spall was honoured with an outstanding achievement award for his performance.

At the time of shooting, Cookson told trade website ScreenDaily: ‘Timothy wants each character to be real and three dimensional nothing gets overlooked. We rehearse and constantly re-write right up to the point before shooting.’

The film – which formerly went under the names of Eye Digress and The Special One – is being backed by Red Rock Entertainment, which recently released The Comedian’s Guide To Survival starring James Buckley and based on James Mullinger’s experiences on the London comedy circuit.

Chief executive Gary Collins said: ‘You don’t often come across a film like Stanley. It’s a once-in-a-generation project. That made our decision to fully fund the film remarkably easy — we knew from the get-go that it had the makings of a cult classic. Timothy’s not just an actor of huge skill and subtlety, but he’s also genuinely loved and admired.’

Here is a trailer for Stanley, A Man Of Variety

Published: 12 Jan 2017

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