Hooray for Hackneywood

Were these movie stars filming in your street?

David Morrissey

Hollywood just can’t keep away from Hackney, to be specific, Dalston; to be more specific, the litter-blown Kingsland Centre car park outside Sainsbury’s. Erecting a prominent sign that said “If it’s loose, it’s lost” next to a wheel-less VW Golf – what are they trying to say? — a crew backed by 20th Century Fox and Sky owner Rupert Murdoch based itself there for a few days’ filming scenes for two Sky1-backed movie adaptations of police thriller novels by Mark Billingham (he looks cool).

Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat are the provisional titles and the movie-TV actor David Morrissey, 45, recently seen in Doctor Who and Red Riding(1983), is producer and star. Let’s hope it shaping up better than Don’t Worry About Me, scouser Morrissey’s love token to Liverpool, that was hampered by a weak plot and worse script. (Shocking detail: the Bafta-nominated polymath was born in Everton but gives his allegiance to the other club.)

Morrissey and his co-star, Natasha McElhone, 38 (Californication), and Aidan Gillen (Queer as FolkThe Wire) were to be seen entering near Downham Road in De Beauvoir to put themselves under the high-definition cameras. Mind that blemish, cameraman! Jamaican-born Stephen Hopkins(24Californication, a one-time consort of Boogie Nights chiquita Heather Graham, is the director. (This is turning into a slebfest.)

Natasha McElhone

The 190cm-tall (never mind; it’s tall) Morrissey has set up a toweringly ambitious contract, a first for Sky. It is part of a multimillion-pound push into drama production; or so says the satellite broadcaster; we’ve heard too many movie-funding boasts before. Under the deal, the films will be shown on Sky1 and Sky1 HD as a six-part series in autumn 2010 and then go on cinema release.

The Kingsland Centre must be making so much money out of hosting film crews (gatecrashing the canteen trailer can be rewarding: Hollywood luvvies are expected to expect good food) that its owners could surely lower the parking charges. At least the owners could clean up the detritus that drifts around the tarmac.

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5 thoughts on “Hooray for Hackneywood

  1. Hmm, good question, Mr Thornton. I find film crews, and the luvvies, that I encounter around E8 a blumin nuisance (and somehow strangely arrogant with it). Our borough has a film-liaison officer, so I am sure that the days of council bureaucrats being financially naive in the face of the supposed glamour of film crews are over: even churches charge good money for the use of their premises. I know, for example, that St Bartholomew-the-Great got some hefty “donations” when Four Weddings, the Cate Blanchette Elizabeth movie and others used its 900-year-old nave for a few weeks. But then, St Bart’s is in the Square Mile. Laus Deo.

  2. Thanks for the suggested links. Ah! yes, “Blitz”. I remember now, getting a letter from the production company, sometime last year stating Blitz was the working title. No warning though that a noisy crowd of extras would gather for absolutely ages outside my bedroom window (in the wee small hours) and use my front garden as an ashtray! What with that, and lighting rigs dangerously and precariously stored on and blocking the pavement, we breathed a sigh of relief once they had gone.

    I wonder how much Hackney Council charged them for the privilege of using our street?

  3. The Sandy Road feature was Blitz, with Jason Statham, the miraculous Paddy Considine and Aidan Gillen, filming last year. My contact tells me that “a few pick up shots” (no, I don’t know) necessitqted a return to E8 in March 2010. A useful Standard feature also outlined Blitz at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/article-23751768-films-made-in-london.do last year, when Loving Dalston was not even an idea, otherwise it would have had the news first. Well, I would say that.

  4. Interesting to see Aidan Gillen back again. I saw him frequently outside R&JJ’s Cafe in Sandringham Road back in 2000 when he was working on the film The Low Down. In recent years we’ve had 28 Weeks Later which was filmed, in part, at the junction of Sandringham Road and St Mark’s Rise, as was Run Fatboy Run (2007) and Naked (1993). Sandringham Road was used as a location for a film late last year and another one earlier this year but I don’t know the film titles. Do you?

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