Jo Brand pens a feature film | Shooting due to start soon

Jo Brand pens a feature film

Shooting due to start soon

Jo Brand has written her first film - about a Morrissey-loving schizophrenic.

The More You Ignore Me has been adapted from the comedian’s fourth novel – about a child coping with her mother's schizophrenia – and draws on her experiences as a former psychiatric nurse

Brand will also appear in and executive produce the movie, which begins shooting next month.

In the 80s-set novel, bullied schoolgirl Alice seeks solace in Morrissey's songs but her mother Gina also becomes infatuated with the singer when her medication changes.

Production was due to start last autumn with Maxine Peake as Gina. However, Chortle understands that the Shameless and Dinnerladies star is no longer involved. 

Further cast details have yet to be officially revealed, but Sally Phillips, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and Adrian Edmondson have all been linked to the project.

The film is being produced by Debbie Grey for Genesius Pictures and The Little Film Company, who previously made 2014's Northern Soul starring Steve Coogan, Ricky Tomlinson, John Thomson and Lisa Stansfield.

It will be the first feature to be helmed by commercial director Keith English, who said: ‘It’s not often you read scripts as unusual and as good as this one. Jo has used all her insight gained during her years as a psychiatric health worker  to create a story that pulls no punches, but makes you laugh and leaves you with a wonderfully positive feeling at the end.’

The More You Ignore Me – named after Morrissey’s 1994 song The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get –  is Brand's first significant foray into films after small roles in features like Horrid Henry: The Movie and Human Traffic. She has joked that she’ll be playing ‘a very slim, attractive 23-year-old’ in the film.

Speaking to the Independent when The More You Ignore Me novel was published in 2009, Brand said that she 'wanted to show that a woman like Gina who is disturbed and dirty, because she's neglected herself – that that doesn't mean that there isn't someone that could love her.

'You don't really see ugly people that are old, or a bit grotty and smelly, in the media. If a Martian came down, they would think we were all tall, thin, attractive and wealthy.'

The comic, who played the nurse Kim Wilde in the BBC sitcoms Getting On and Going Forward, has also drawn on her mother's experiences as a social worker for her new sitcom Damned, which launched on Channel 4 last night.

It attracted 1.2 million viewers, according to overnight figures, a decent showing for that timeslot.

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 28 Sep 2016

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