New Regency, Film4 and Warp Films are teaming on a feature version of UK stage musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which will star Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), and newcomer Max Harwood as the lead. Fox will release worldwide.
Inspired by the true story of Jamie Campbell, the film follows 16-year-old Jamie New who lives on a council estate in Sheffield, England. Supported by his loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness to become a drag queen.
Grant will play former drag queen and Jamie’s mentor Hugo with Horgan as Jamie’s teacher Miss Hedge and BAFTA winner Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) as his mother Margaret. Shobna Gulati, from the original stage cast, will reprise her role of Ray.
The film will reunite the original creative team behind the stage production: director Jonathan Butterell, writer Tom MacRae, composer Dan Gillespie Sells and choreographer Kate Prince. Filming will begin in Sheffield, England on June 24.
Producers are Mark Herbert and Peter Carlton for Warp Films, and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan. Executive producers are Yariv Milchan and Michael Schaefer for New Regency and Daniel Battsek and Ollie Madden for Film4, who developed the project alongside Warp Films.
Inspired by the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen At 16 (Firecracker Films), the stage production originated at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, before it was picked up by Nimax Theatres and transferred to London’s West End, where it continues its run.
In a joint statement, director Butterell, writer MacRae and composer Gillespie stated, “Who would have thought when Jamie Campbell first put on his prom dress, that eight years later we would have brought together the best of British and Irish acting talent to tell his story. As well as launching a brand new star in Max Harwood to play Jamie himself, we’re so thrilled to welcome Sarah, Richard and Sharon to the Jamie family. Now the party’s really getting started.”
According to the producers, the production received more than 3000 applications from the open casting call with newcomer Harwood cast in the title role. Following a year’s search for his classmates via regional casting calls and outreach, 20 young locals from Yorkshire and the surrounding regions were cast.
Director of photography is Chris Ross (Yesterday), with costumes by Guy Speranza (Stan & Ollie) and hair and make-up by Nadia Stacey (The Favourite). Janey Levick (This Is England ’90) is production designer. The UK’s Daily Mail first reported the casting.