The Making Of A Film Idol

The Making Of A Film Idol

****

Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

This hilarious documentary is car crash viewing at its very finest. It’s as pants-wettingly funny as Spinal Tap, The Office or That Peter Kay Thing but tragically this isn’t a mockumentary – the hilarious horrors unfolding are real.

It follows Film Idol, a talent quest in 2003 to find 86 people and 2000 extras to star in a movie adaptation of The Guv’nor, Peter Gerrard’s book about the life of east end hardman - and star of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels – Lenny McLean.

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It’s also a harsh lesson on how not to cast a film.

The team is headed by online casting agency boss Patrick Barber and producer Clinton Montague, who has bought the rights to the book.

While both are well meaning and enthusiastic, the film suggests they have zero experience.

The dastardly duo are determined to find real people to star in the movie rather than trained actors and their Pop Idol-style quest sees them travel round the country to hold auditions.

They compare their hunt to the quest to find a star for Gone With The Wind and the discovery of Vivien Leigh – but all Film Idol finds are hammy am-dram wannabes, drunken floozies and vile characters more desperate for fame than Big Brother housemates or the weirdos who used to drink vomit on The Word.

The project is bogged by problems from the start. The advertising goes tits up, the funding falls through and the undiscovered ‘talent’ is utterly piss poor.

Montague tells one kid he would be perfect for the role of cockney Lenny’s kid – shame he sounds like Prince Harry’s posher cousin.

All the wannabes’ cockney accents make Dick Van Dyke sound like Phil Daniels.

Most of the ‘talent’ spotting involves going to nightclubs and ogling semi-naked women bladdered on alcopops who like flashing their baps. They all ooze the kind of class seen on seedy shows such as Club Reps… and are a sad indictment of the reality TV generation.

But it is at the nightclubs you can enjoy footage of the undisputed star of the show – warm-up man Nathan ‘Cream’ Merry. This wannabe rapper has more tall tales than Jackanory and his desperate attempts to pitch himself as a pal to the rich and famous become increasingly hilarious. A crew member teaches him how to text his own phone – and suddenly he is inundated with messages from singers Holly Valance and Charlotte Church.

Cream boasts he has worked with Busta Rymes, Beyonce, Eminem, Puff Daddy and, er, H from Steps. Death Row Records is also desperate to sign him. All that studio time explains why he has recently been done for benefit fraud then. Doh!

The undoubted inspiration for Ali G has a baggy kit, bandana and more gold than Mr T, all of which probably came from a lucky bag. His accent is also as real as his CV, switching from English to faux American.

Richard E Grant’s narration is as cutting as Wogan on Eurovision night and provides plenty of laughs – not that the footage needs any help to entertain.

Don’t miss this.

Reviewed on: 05 Jun 2007
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The Making Of A Film Idol packshot
Documentary about a talent competition to find extras for a gangster film.
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Director: Quentin Reynolds

Writer: Gemma Grey (narration script)

Starring: Narrated by Richard E Grant

Year: 2005

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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