New film based on the Northern club circuit
Maxine Peake and Martin Freeman are set to star in a ‘hard-hitting’ film about a female comic trying to make it on the 1970s northern club circuit.
Funny Cow is due to go into production this year, with John Hannah and Boardwalk Empire’s Stephen Graham also attached.
Written by former stand-up and actor Tony Pitts, who co-stars, the film is based on his experiences of Sheffield’s working men’s clubs.
Peake, who appeared in four series of Shameless and is currently in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, recently challenged stereotypes with her acclaimed portrayal of Hamlet in Manchester Theatre’s cross-gender production.
She told the Bolton News that production on Funny Cow would hopefully begin in October, describing it as ‘the ultimate part.
‘It’s one of those roles, I thought, I could quite happily retire after I played this part… I’ve always been fascinated by that [world]. I grew up going to working men’s clubs’.
Peake has narrated three series of Pitts’ Radio 4 black comedy Shedtown, made by Johnny Vegas’s Woolyback Productions.
Sheffield-born Pitts, who co-wrote Johnny Vegas’ rambling Channel 4 chatshow 18 Stone of Idiot, won a Sony Award with Vegas and fellow comic Tony Burgess for Radio 4’s Night Class.
Funny Cow is a co-production by POW Films and Moviehouse Entertainment, who previously made the Dead Cat Bounce spoof documentary Discoverdale.
The director is Tinge Krishnan and Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley is writing the soundtrack.
Although no real inspiration for Peake’s (as yet) unnamed character have been cited, producer Mark Vennis likens the film to the classic biopics Lenny, which starred Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce, and Raging Bull, with Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta.
He told ScreenDaily: ‘Funny Cow is going to be a hard-hitting film that will make audiences laugh and cry in equal proportions.’
– by Jay Richardson