Hollywood is coming to Cheshire!
The Minister of Chance
A production company has shunned Hollywood and Pinewood to make its latest film, instead bringing it to Cheshire. Radio Static is the pioneering firm behind The Minister of Chance – a cult internet series with a stellar cast including Jenny Agutter OBE, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Tamsin Greig, Jed Brophy and Philip Glenister. The podcast series collected rave industry and fan reviews for its first season, along with nominations from the BBC and the USA Parsec Awards, and it’s now set to become a movie.
According to Executive Producer Clare Eden, the film version will heavily feature the Cheshire landscape and locations that first inspired its writer and director Dan Freeman. The idea to use Cheshire as the backdrop came from the New Zealand connection: The Minister of Chance has cast members Jed Brophy and Sylvester McCoy in common with The Hobbit movie. Kiwi Brophy, who also stars as Dwarf Nori in The Hobbit, spoke to the cast and crew about how director Peter Jackson had turned down Hollywood and chosen instead to make the films in his native New Zealand. The result was that visitor numbers to the country doubled and the economy received a massive boost.
“That’s exactly what we want to do with Cheshire” says Freeman. “We’ve got the stunning locations, we’ve got phenomenal transport links via Crewe and Manchester Airport, and a wealth of production staff now living in the area following the development of TV centres in Salford and Liverpool. And frankly, we don’t need sets – we’ve got the history! There are three castles here within a mile of each other. We sat with Sylvester McCoy in a pub garden looking over the plain, and he said it was the best pint he’d ever had. We’ve got the beer too!”
The original series was funded by fans, and the film is following a similar route, stunning the film industry by raising over £7000 in just three weeks through its ‘Chanceshire’ campaign. Fans can buy props, merchandise, and unique experiences, with the profits funding production. Business leaders have expressed excitement at the prospects for the local economy: Jonny Kershaw from Peckforton Hills Spring Water said “It’s very exciting – I’m behind them all the way. It should do a lot of good for the area. I’ve got my eye on Paul McGann’s costume to hang in the office!” Dilys Willis from Cholmondley Castle Gardens said “It looks absolutely fantastic. Let’s hope it puts Cheshire on the BIG map!” One restaurant has offered free meals to the cast and crew, and Neil Walker, Landlord of The Gate in Winsford has adopted Chanceshire T-Shirts as the staff uniform.
The original series of The Minister of Chance is free to download from iTunes or from www.ministerofchance.com, where fans can also get involved in the film campaign.
Clare Eden: Executive Producer