Maxine Peake’s new film, showing exclusively in Manchester this month, is an intense thriller doing something few other films of its kind are at the moment.
Having a female as the lead.
But Keeping Rosy is not just stepping out of the box with its protagonist’s gender. The independent film is screening on the 11th floor of a city centre office in a pop-up-theatre.
“Blake was out in LA at the time so we sent him the script and he actually auditioned with a video filmed on an iPhone. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it was the same person.”
The experience is designed to be immersive with elements of the film trickling out into real life as you enter.
From the security guard escorting you in the lift to the rather bossy cleaner telling you to take your seats before the film even begins the surreal experience prepares you for the unexpected events about to unfold over the next 90 minutes.
Maxine Peake, who plays Charlotte, spoke to the MEN after the Keeping Rosy screening.
She said: “I think it’s great the screening is in Manchester. Everything seems to be in London but this film has two women in it from Manchester!
“When I first got sent the script I thought it was amazing that the main protagonist was a woman but I also thought this deserves to be much bigger budget. Luckily it’s not because it meant I got to do it.”
The film centres on Charlotte, a woman in her late thirties who appears to have it all, until one day she follows up losing her job with a very unexpected accident and her whole life falls apart.
Staring alongside Maxine is Christine Bottomley (Eastenders, Silent Witness) who plays Charlotte’s sister.
Speaking about her character Christine said: “She’s is the polar opposite of Max’s character. She hasn’t really got her life sorted out and she lives for the moment.
“I love working with Maxine and this is such a great film. It’s so important to support British independent films and that’s why people should come and see this. It really deserves it.”
The small screen inside 55 Portland Street seats around 100 people, and to make the experience even more intimate the film is synced to iPads which you use to listen to the film’s sound through headphones.
Director Steve Reeves believes the concept sets the screening apart.
He said: “It’s a brilliant idea. The whole thing. When people come in they shouldn’t realise how things they see before the film tie in but as they are watching they should twig.
“It’s like that whole thing they are doing at theme parks now with 4D its really fantastic.”
Starring alongside the two leading ladies, and showing his nasty side, is Blake Harrison best known for playing Neil in The Inbetweeners.
Steve said: “For Roger (Blake’s character) I was looking for someone really nasty. And I was watching The Inbetweeners with my son and I thought I wonder if Neil could do it.
“Blake was out in LA at the time so we sent him the script and he actually auditioned with a video filmed on an iPhone. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it was the same person.
“I think it’s often the way with comedy actors. They can switch between light-hearted and very dark.”
For anyone trying to discover more of the film’s plot, you will struggle to do so without stumbling across some major spoilers.
The film is a string of unexpected events held together by three incredible performances.
Writer, Mike Oughton, said the writing process was “pretty organic” and the plot twists just happened.
He added: “It follows a linear narrative so it’s a traditional thriller in a sense. But there should be some shocks along the way and I don’t think anyone will predict the ending.
“It was fantastic, we took our headphones off at the end of the screening and thee whole audience either screamed or gasped. Which is incredible.”
Keeping Rosy will run for four weeks from June 6 before moving to London.
It is showing at 55 Portland Street and tickets are £19.25 including booking fee and a glass of champagne and are available here.