news 5 days ago

Stephen Odubola, Craig Fairbrass, Jason Flemyng Set COVID-Safe ‘Ire’ Shoot

Variety — Naman Ramachandran

Stephen Odubola, star of Rapman’s acclaimed “Blue Story,” will headline prison drama “Ire,” alongside Craig Fairbrass (“Villain”), Jason Flemyng (“Pennyworth”) and Ulrich Thomsen (“Banshee”).

The film, which marks the directorial debut of actor Ross McCall (“About Us”), follows the prison life of an institutionalized criminal incarcerated for murdering his wife. His routine life is disrupted when his estranged daughter asks to meet him, and further complicated when a 19-year-old serving his first sentence in a maximum-security prison is placed inside as his cell mate.

Samahoma Media Advisors has negotiated financing for the film from Insight Media Fund. The Fund previously provided completion money for “Boiling Point,” Philip Barantini’s one-take feature film of his own short, by U.K. outfits Ascendant Films and Burton Fox Films alongside star Stephen Graham’s Matriarch Productions, in association with Bromantics and Three Little Birds Pictures. That project wrapped in a two-day schedule just before lockdown, and most of the post-production took place remotely.

Ascendant and Burton Fox, in association with Bromantics, are teaming again on “Ire,” with Ascendant providing additional financing.

Producers are Bart Ruspoli for Ascendant, Hester Ruoff for Burton Fox, and Stefan D’Bart for Bromantics.

Bob Clarke, CEO of Samahoma Media Advisors, said: “Bart and Hester have shown they can pull together strong, original properties which attract talent and can be delivered swiftly within the health and safety constraints of the COVID madhouse rules of the game without breaking the bank, de-risking the Fund’s investment and getting more content to audiences more quickly… what’s not to like?”

“Having researched and visited various prisons in the U.S., I started leaning towards coming back to the U.K. to make a film that showed the realistic and guttural voices inside a troubled structure,” said McCall. “Bart Ruspoli and I worked together on ‘Band of Brothers’ and have been looking for something to do together ever since.”

COVID-safe principal photography on “Ire” starts Sept. 19 with the majority of filming set to take place in London.

D’Bart said: “We’re adhering to all COVID-19 protocols to make sure all our cast and crew stay safe. This is a new way of making films, something we must all get used to, so we can get the British film industry back to pre-COVID-19 levels.”

Charades is handling international sales on “Boiling Point.”

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.