SCREEN FILM SUMMIT: As MJ Delaney’s low-budget Powder Room heads into its opening weekend with all investment already recouped, producer Damian Jones has confirmed that his next project will be a remake of TV perennial Dad’s Army.
Jones and Delaney also told the Screen Film Summit that despite a tough 19-day shoot for the £175,000 Powder Room, they were planning to work with each other again on a big-screen adaptation of Apples, Richard Milward’s cult 2007 novel about teenage life on a Middlesborough housing estate with Milward set to adapt.
Award-winning producer Jones (The Iron Lady) told the conference that he was now focused on Dad’s Army, for which he holds the rights, although no further details were forthcoming.
Jones was principal producer and also principle financier on Powder Room through the BFI’s “Locked Box” producer equity scheme. When Universal took world rights at Cannes, the MG paid out all investment and the film is in the clear financially, Jones confirmed.
“Most cast and crew have points in the movie so if it does blow up they’ll be suitably rewarded,” said the producer, although he acknowledged the film, which shot entirely at 3 Mills Studios, asked a lot of favours.
“I couldn’t do this size of movie again until I’ve employed all the people who were very kind,” Jones added.
Powder Room, written by Rachel Hirons from her stage play and starring Sheridan Smith, Jamie Winstone and Oonagh Chaplin, was financed largely through the BFI’s “Locked Box” funds from the success of The Iron Lady and Jones jokingly thanked Margaret Thatcher for the film.
With Universal taking all world rights and Vertigo releasing in the UK, “hopefully it will tie into the Universal TV machine so it will get a life beyond these shores,” he said.
First, however, comes opening weekend in the UK. “We’ve got a film here that’s funny, has an audience, good people working on it, but it’s such a crowded marketplace,” said Jones. “We’re competing, we’re fighting for cinemas on a 50-60 print release despite great reviews and coverage.
“Unless we fill the cinemas over this first weekend we’ll be gone by the next – it’s brutal out there.”