Telstar: The Movie is the Nick Moran-directed film adaptation of the James Hicks play of the same name. It stars Con O'Neill as Meek, Kevin Spacey as his financier, Carl Barat (ex-Libertines) as Gene Vincent, and Justin Hawkins (ex-Darkness) as Lord Sutch. It is set for release before Christmas, but you can see it first at The Times BFI London Film Festival on the 25th or 28th of October. Tickets are on general sale on the 27th of this month from here.How Nick Moran saved the pennies on his latest film
Nick Moran made every last penny count when he was directing his movie about Joe Meek, the innovative Sixties record producer.
Moran, best known for his role in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, resorted to ingenious methods to provide the little details which drew me into his new movie Telstar.
He and his designer 'borrowed' a sign from Hampstead Heath to illustrate a scene set there (although it was shot in a different park), but later returned it.
When the film-makers wanted to close off a busy road, they used extras in police uniforms to stop traffic. 'Well, we were using them anyway,' Moran told me nonchalantly.
Instead of going home like his cast - which included Con O'Neill as Meek, as well as James Corden, Pam Ferris, JJ Feild and Ralf Little - Moran stayed on at Twickenham Studios, setting up shots for the next day and then retiring to a camper van he kept in the car park.
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'It was an old wreck,' joked Simon Jordan, the millionaire Crystal Palace owner who bankrolled the picture. 'I offered to pay for a hotel but he wouldn't have it.'
'It saved me a lot of time,' Moran insisted of the camper van. 'I'd go to sleep in it, shower in a dressing room and be on set ready and prepared before anyone got there in the morning.
'There was a lot of stick and spit in this production,' the director added proudly of Telstar, which is an often funny exploration of Meek's ultimately tragic life as a music producer of people like Heinz and The Tornados, who performed the catchy, spacy instrumental Telstar.
If money really needed to be spent, then it was provided. For instance, producer Jordan was happy to shell out for the singer Duffy and an orchestra for the movie's soundtrack, and for the lengthy post-production process.
For some music, though, there was a touch of, shall we say, improvisation.
Apparently, Dave Clarke of the Dave Clarke Five didn't get on with Meek, so when Jordan rang him for permission to use Glad All Over the answer was a stern 'No'.
'Yeah,' said Moran sadly, but, brightening up, added: 'But we did use a track called Glad All The Time, which sounds almost exacly the same but, crucially, isn't!'
The Kinks' hit You Really Got Me proved too pricey for their budget. But if that's the case, I said, what was that familiar-sounding riff I heard? 'Actually, it's me playing that but, again, it's different.
'We needed that song, so it's my brother Simon, Justin Hawkins, and Clem Cattini - who played drums on the original. We called ourselves the Moranoraks,' Moran confessed.
The film marvellously embodies the chaos Meek worked in at a flat above a shop on the Holloway Road in North London. It's like a classic farce with lots of slamming doors, tons of jokes and a perfect portrait of one of the seminal pop producers of the era.Telstar has its world premiere at the Times BFI London Film Festival on October 25 at the Odeon West End. Call 020 7928 3232 or visit www.bfi.org.uk/lff for info.Jennifer Hudson's next hit... A shop assistant in Carolina?