London Town showcases the capital
American feature film London Town stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as iconic Clash frontman Joe Strummer, with the capital providing an evocative backdrop to the punk-era film.
The rites-of-passage drama, which took seven years to come to fruition, centres on troubled teen Sam, played by Daniel Huttlestone, and a confident young punk girl, Viv, played by Nell Williams. As Sam experiences the cultural, racial and political tensions of 1970s London, his life is changed forever when his mother introduces him to The Clash.
The producers are Tom Butterfield, a Brit now living in LA and Dutch-born New Yorker Sofia Sondervan-Bild. The pair was convinced that their vision of London for the film could not be created elsewhere.
Butterfield explained: “While the themes of the film are universal the setting is very specific. The punk movement had a profound effect on London and a whole generation. It’s the world in which our two young leads live and it dictates their choices.
“The country was in a socio-political quagmire, and bands like The Clash cut through to the younger generation to help effect change.”
Sondervan-Bild added: “I spoke to loads of die-hard Clash fans, hearing stories from both New York and London in the 70s.
“The political nature of the music and the climate that supported the punk movement was emblematic of England at the time – that’s why we decided to make the film in London.”
Lengthy research went into the film with the aid of photos and documentaries of the time to recreate the unique punk aesthetic. Stock footage and archive material was merged with the team’s newly-shot footage to enhance the look and feel. An example of this was the use of the original recording of the famous Victoria Park concert in 1978. The Clash headlined the event, which drew around 70,000 fans.
The Dutch filmmaker was fulsome in her praise of shooting in the capital.
“I’ve mainly worked in the US and I absolutely loved filming in London. We had a great crew with an amazing work ethic, and it was the best shoot I’ve ever been on. My goal is to only shoot in London from now on!”
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission said,: “I’m glad the film’s producers had such a positive time here in the capital – it’s testament to our industry’s ability to deliver for films as well as inspire them, and I look forward to welcoming them back to the capital the next time they have a project to shoot.”
London Town premieres at the BFI London Film Festival on 11 October.
All photos ©IFC Films
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