HARTLEPOOL is set for a starring role on the big screen when a hard-hitting crime thriller is released in cinemas.
Stockton-born actor Stephen Tompkinson, of Wild at Heart fame, is set to wow audiences as no-nonsense copper Harrigan in the film of the same name, which will be released in cinemas on Friday, September 20.
TallTree Pictures shot dramatic scenes for the movie in Hartlepool’s Carr Street, off Hart Lane, last year as the area was transported back to the 1970s.
Chopper bikes, retro street lights and flared trousers were all on show in the terraced road, which was also the scene of huge explosions and riots for some of the film’s most dramatic moments.
And its director, Vince Woods, says he will be spreading the word about Hartlepool as a great location for filming after being impressed by the support of residents and Hartlepool Borough Council.
He said: “Hartlepool is a great location and I will be plugging it. The council and people were great and the location meant we could go back in time without spending a fortune. It also generates economic benefits so it’s good for everyone.”
The film was shot across the North East and is full of local connections. Hartlepool-born actor Darren Morfitt, who has appeared in cult-classic Dog Soldiers and the TV show 55 Degrees North, is also among the cast.
Mr Woods is also delighted to be holding the film’s premiere in the North East at the Gala Theatre, in Durham City on Monday, September 16.
Mr Woods said: “It’s great to finally get this film ready for people to see as so many films are made and never see the light of day.
“The premiere is sold out and should be a great occasion. People can then go and see Hartlepool on screen at the Vue cinema in Hartlepool. I suppose that doesn’t happen very often.”
The story, written by former Tyneside cop Arthur McKenzie, sees police detective Barry Harrigan return to his patch after an 18-month secondment in Hong Kong and finds there have been massive changes while he was gone – and not for the better.
Community police offices have been closed, strikes are crippling the country and unemployment is soaring.
There can be many parallels drawn with today’s society, and Mr Woods says he was very aware of the links during filming as the London riots were hitting the headlines.
Mr Woods said: “It’s strange in some ways as the North East back then had riots but during the recent problems there was none here. Everyone seemed to say ‘we’ve done this before and we don’t want to go through it again’.
“But it shows how society can break down and this film is about one man standing up to that and saying ‘no’.
“The economic climate is difficult now, but this film also shows that it has been a lot harder. There was 25 per cent inflation; the price of things was literally changing by the day. The North East was a tough place to be.
“What we’ve made is not a £10m blockbuster, but we think it captures a time and feelings that people can relate to. We’ve found younger audiences have really enjoyed it because it is so real.”
And it isn’t just the UK that will see Hartlepool on the silver screen, as Mr Woods is set to take the film to a film festival in South Korea due to the Hong Kong link in the story.
Mr Woods added: “There will be 250,000 people there and the film is on the official list. It’ll be a great experience.
“I hope whoever sees it enjoys it, no matter where they’re from.”