“Although COVID presented a new set of challenges, we were able to work very effectively through new standards of film production,” the Frasier alum said today. “I would urge my family of actors at SAG-AFTRA to take a page out of the British playbook; we can responsibly get back to work.”
Grammer stars with Brit actress Nathalie Cox (Kingdom of Heaven) in the family-adventure, which follows the escapades of history professor, detective and adventurer Elizabeth Willoughby, who investigates a series of hauntings at an antique bookshop. Grammer plays a retired U.S. Marine who raised the orphaned Willoughby and runs the family business.
The film began shooting four weeks ago in the north of England with strict COVID-19 guidelines. Also starring are Caroline Quentin (Dickensian), Steven Elder (The King) and Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones).
“This has been a terrific experience,” Grammer added, “[Producer] Philippe [Martinez] welcomed me to what has been a wonderful creative process. …. I have nothing but high praise for everyone associated with the production.”
Martinez, who is hoping his film will be the first in a series, commented: “It is certainly a bit of a challenge to shoot during these extraordinary times, but we are thrilled with how the production of Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop went without a hitch. With strong organization and clear guidelines, we have proven that starting and completing principal photography during Covid-19 is not only possible, but also safe. The enthusiasm of everyone in the cast and crew — including Nathalie Cox and Kelsey Grammer, who gallantly flew in from the U.S. — to be back on set was truly special and certainly translated to the quality of the shoot. The extraordinary chemistry between Nathalie and Kelsey onscreen was our reward for all efforts made. This experience invigorates our desire to continue shooting our productions despite the uncertain times.”
The film is directed by Brad Watson (The 7th Dimension) from a script by Kate Wood (Out of the Ashes), Chad Law (Beyond the Law), and Josh Ridgway (Howlers). MSR Media International is handling world distribution rights.
MSR Media’s Philippe Martinez produced with Alan Latham from Highfield Grange Studios. Finance came from Kirsty Bell’s Goldfinch Entertainment, who served as executive producers alongside Lee Beasley and Karinne Behr from MSR Media. Jeffrey Goldberg of Jeff Goldberg Management negotiated the deal on behalf of Cox. Vault Entertainment negotiated the deal on behalf of Grammer, who is also repped by UTA.
Despite Grammer’s enthusiasm, getting back to work on Stateside productions remains a major challenge. While the UK has seen coronavirus numbers drop significantly since the spring, California and other states are still clocking thousands of new cases a day.