A LOW-BUDGET feature film produced by a former Mansfield financial adviser-turned-comedian and starring two EastEnders has premiered in London.
Glen Maney wrote a script called ‘Tears of a Clown’ around 15 years ago after witnessing how a comic was able to put aside spiralling depression in his personal life to continue performing and making people laugh.
After encouragement from his friend and soap star Ricky Grover, who plays Andrew Cotton in EastEnders, Glen decided to take a ‘leap of faith’ and make a film of the script himself.
Ninety-three-minute black comedy ‘The Limelight’ premiered at London Independent Film Festival on Friday, starring Ricky; ex-Albert Square actor Mark Monero, who played Steve Elliot in the soap in the 90s and stand up comedian Patrick Monahan, winner of reality TV competition Show Me The Funny.
Glen, who lived in both Sutton and Mansfield for around 10 years until 2002, said that at a price of only £50,000 the film had cost ‘peanuts’ to make.
“It is about a middle-aged stand up comedian who is struggling to make the big time and it is becoming an obsession for him,” Glen said.
The character, called Gary Shand in the film and played by Glen himself, is based on a comedian Glen met in 1999.
He had lost his father, his day-job and split up with his girlfriend, all in the space of 72 hours.
Yet the comic was able to ignore all this for a few hours to get up on stage at a comedy club in west London before resuming his depression after the show.
“He was the inspiration and summed up ‘the show must go on’ attitude of many comedians,” Glen said. “I had just taken a creative writing course and so started writing about him.”
He sold the option to the script to a production company in 2001, but the firm couldn’t raise the required £2m to make the film and Glen had the script and rights returned to him three years later.
Glen, who started performing as a stand up comedian in 1999, was talked into making the film by Ricky and film makers and friends Paul Anthony Long and Stephen Hammal.
But it has taken another five years of hard work to come to fruition.
Ricky was originally intended for the lead role, but due to work commitments it was decided he should play Al Moran, a greedy comedy agent instead.
Comedians and friends of Glen since his early days in stand up, Patrick Monahan and Jay Sodagar, also agreed to join the cast and the first scenes were shot at the Comedy Cafe in London in February 2006.
Glen says there are already a few offers on the table about taking the film forward and the team now have to decide whether to use a distribution firm or do it themselves.
“We believe that we’ve produced a black comedy that could reach cult status if the plaudits continue to arrive along the lines of those that we have already,” he said.
Glen, who was born in Battersea, London, describes his years living in Mansfield and Sutton, while working as a financial adviser in Nottingham, as ‘good times’ which provided him with a good deal of inspiration.
He played football while he lived in the area for Sutton team Mevon Paints and Brunts Old Boys in Mansfield.
For more information about Glen’s film visit thelimelightmove.