WE MADE A KILLING WITH A SUPERSTAR ; The North East premiere of The Liability, starring Hollywood A- lister Tim Roth and filmed in the region, takes place in Newcastle this week. Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR meets the men behind the road movie ahead of its nationwide release
THEY once worked together marketing soap brands. Now two North East pals are hoping to clean up themselves in cinemas worldwide.
Film producer Richard Johns and investor Jeremy Middleton have teamed up for the first time in decades to bring the North East to the world - with a helping hand from Hollywood star Tim Roth.
Their first film together, The Liability, gets its premiere in Newcastle next week and features famous regional landmarks from Teesside up to Northumberland.
The road movie is released nationwide on May 17, but gets its first screening at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle on Wednesday.
The venue holds fond memories for co-producer Richard Johns. "I have a long and very happy association with the region as a film- maker," he says.
"I started out and cut my teeth making corporate videos, then television and then films, all from Newcastle, from an office behind where the ice creams were kept in what was Cinema 1 at the Tyneside Cinema, way back in the day, in about 1994, when I ran Pilgrim Films, with director Bharat Nalluri.
"We made some dramas with TTTV and then our first film Killing Time and then Downtime.
"To come back to the region some years later with a project which for me is a very exciting theatrical feature film with a major piece of Hollywood talent in Tim Roth as well as great British actors, is very exciting."
Produced by independent production company Corona Pictures and supported by investors in the region, including Middleton Enterprises and Northstar Ventures, The Liability is the story of a young guy Adam, played by Jack O'Connell, who only wants to become a hitman, and an older man, Pete, played by Tim Roth, who only wants to retire as one. With shades of Get Carter, it is described as a thriller and a darkly comic portrayal of a son looking for a father.
The film was shot entirely in the North East and locations include Dunstanburgh Castle, on the Northumberland coast, the Port of Blyth, Ryhope pumping station, Hartlepool, Darlington, Morpeth, Seaton Carew and Hexham.
It meant a reunion for Richard with his old pal Jeremy, who is CEO of Newcastle based investment company Middleton Enterprises.
"Jeremy is somebody I've known for a long time, since before I started making films," explains Richard. "I had a job at Procter & Gamble in Gosforth as a very wet behind the ears assistant brand manager on Fairy toilet soap, Jeremy was brand manager of Zest toilet soap. We got to know each other very well in those days.
"We started a conversation a considerable number of years after we first met, on this particular film. It's very nice to have that rich mix with a strong North East investment profile in a film that was made in the region."
Jeremy adds: "I've known and followed Richard's career over a number of years and I've always been interested in film and enjoyed it. When I heard about this it just sounded exciting as a concept."
Film fact The film was shot entirely in the North East.
Locations include: ? Dunstanburgh Castle, on the Northumberland coast ?Port of Blyth ?Ryhope Pumping Station ? Hartlepool ?Darlington ?Morpeth ?Seaton Carew ?Hexham To watch the trailer of Liability log onto www.sundaysun.co.uk
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