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Franklyn

Franklyn

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Franklyn is a 2008 British film written and directed by Gerald McMorrow
Gerald McMorrow
Gerald McMorrow is a director and writer who wrote and directed the short film Thespian X and had his feature-length writing and directing debut with the 2008 science fiction film Franklyn.-Career:...

 as his debut feature. Produced by Jeremy Thomas
Jeremy Thomas
Jeremy Jack Thomas, CBE is a British film producer, founder of the Recorded Picture Company. He was the producer of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, which won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2006 he received a European Film Award for Outstanding European Achievement in World...

, it stars Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe
Matthew Ryan Phillippe , better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an American actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54...

, Eva Green
Eva Green
Eva Gaëlle Green is a French actress and model.Green performed in theatre before making her film debut in The Dreamers , which generated controversy over her numerous nude scenes. She achieved greater fame for her parts in Kingdom of Heaven , and in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, for...

 and Sam Riley
Sam Riley
Sam Riley is an English actor and singer.-Early life:Riley was born in Menston in the Metropolitan District of Bradford in West Yorkshire, the son of "a textile agent and nursery-school teacher". He was educated at Uppingham School...

. Shooting took place in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in the fourth quarter of 2007. Franklyn held its world premiere at the 52nd London Film Festival
London Film Festival
The BFI London Film Festival is the UK's largest public film event, screening more than 300 features, documentaries and shorts from almost 50 countries. The festival, , currently in its 54th year, is run every year in the second half of October under the umbrella of the British Film Institute...

 on 16 October 2008. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 27 February 2009.

Plot


Split between the parallel realities
Parallel universe (fiction)
A parallel universe or alternative reality is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexisting with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a "multiverse", although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality...

 of contemporary London and the otherworldly metropolis of Meanwhile City, Franklyn follows the tales of four characters. Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe
Matthew Ryan Phillippe , better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an American actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54...

) is a masked vigilante who will not rest until he finds his individual. Emilia (Eva Green
Eva Green
Eva Gaëlle Green is a French actress and model.Green performed in theatre before making her film debut in The Dreamers , which generated controversy over her numerous nude scenes. She achieved greater fame for her parts in Kingdom of Heaven , and in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, for...

) is a troubled young art student whose rebellion may turn out to be deadly. Milo (Sam Riley
Sam Riley
Sam Riley is an English actor and singer.-Early life:Riley was born in Menston in the Metropolitan District of Bradford in West Yorkshire, the son of "a textile agent and nursery-school teacher". He was educated at Uppingham School...

) is a heartbroken twenty something yearning for the purity of first love. Peter (Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill is a British actor of film, stage and television. In a career spanning thirty years, he is best known for playing Yosser Hughes, the troubled 'hard man' whose life is falling apart in Alan Bleasdale's groundbreaking 1980s TV drama, Boys from the Blackstuff...

) is a man steeped in religion, searching desperately for his missing son amongst London's homeless.

Beginning in Meanwhile City, the film moves into contemporary London as the characters' storylines intertwine for a fateful finale.

Cast

  • Ryan Phillippe
    Ryan Phillippe
    Matthew Ryan Phillippe , better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an American actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54...

     as Jonathan Preest, a masked vigilante detective from Meanwhile City. Preest is the only atheist in town.
  • Eva Green
    Eva Green
    Eva Gaëlle Green is a French actress and model.Green performed in theatre before making her film debut in The Dreamers , which generated controversy over her numerous nude scenes. She achieved greater fame for her parts in Kingdom of Heaven , and in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, for...

     in a dual role as Emilia and Sally. Emilia is a beautiful but damaged student who films her would-be suicide attempts as installations for her art degree. Eva Green has compared her to real people, Sophie Calle
    Sophie Calle
    Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Calle's work is distinguished by its use of arbitrary sets of constraints, and evokes the French literary movement of the 1960s known as Oulipo. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability, and examines...

     and Tracey Emin
    Tracey Emin
    Tracey Karima Emin RA is a British artist of English and Turkish Cypriot origin. She is part of the group known as Britartists or YBAs ....

     and described Sally as "full of life, very witty, big sense of humor."
  • Sam Riley
    Sam Riley
    Sam Riley is an English actor and singer.-Early life:Riley was born in Menston in the Metropolitan District of Bradford in West Yorkshire, the son of "a textile agent and nursery-school teacher". He was educated at Uppingham School...

     as Milo, a young man who has just been jilted at the altar. Riley was cast based on his performance as Ian Curtis
    Ian Curtis
    Ian Kevin Curtis was an English singer and lyricist, famous for leading the post-punk band Joy Division. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, in 1980...

     in the 2007 film Control.
  • Bernard Hill
    Bernard Hill
    Bernard Hill is a British actor of film, stage and television. In a career spanning thirty years, he is best known for playing Yosser Hughes, the troubled 'hard man' whose life is falling apart in Alan Bleasdale's groundbreaking 1980s TV drama, Boys from the Blackstuff...

     as Peter Esser, a Cambridge
    Cambridge
    The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

     church warden looking for his wayward son in London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    .
  • James Faulkner
    James Faulkner
    James Sebastian Faulkner is a British actor, known for his many various appearance on television and in movies, usually in supporting roles.Faulkner made his big screen debut as Josef Strauss in The Great Waltz in 1972...

     as Pastor Bone
  • Art Malik
    Art Malik
    Art Malik is a Pakistani-born British actor who achieved international fame in the 1980s through his starring and subsidiary roles in assorted British and Merchant-Ivory television serials and films...

     as Tarrant, the head of Meanwhile City's Ministry
  • Susannah York
    Susannah York
    Susannah York was a British film, stage and television actress. She was awarded a BAFTA as Best Supporting Actress for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for the same film. She won best actress for Images at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival...

     as Margaret
  • Richard Coyle
    Richard Coyle
    Richard Coyle is an English actor.-Early life:Coyle was born in Sheffield, England to Irish parents. He began his acting career after a stint working on a ferry entertaining passengers, where he was told by a theatre director that he had a talent and should pursue it further...

     as Dan
  • Kika Markham
    Kika Markham
    Kika Markham is an English actress.Markham was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire. She is a daughter of actor David Markham and writer Olive Dehn . She has led a long career in the cinema, television, and theatre as an actress...

     as Naomi
  • Stephen Walters as Wasnik

Production


Writer-director Gerald McMorrow
Gerald McMorrow
Gerald McMorrow is a director and writer who wrote and directed the short film Thespian X and had his feature-length writing and directing debut with the 2008 science fiction film Franklyn.-Career:...

 wrote the original science fiction script Franklyn as his feature debut. It depicts a similar dystopia to his 2002 short Thespian X. In October 2006, actor Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor
Ewan Gordon McGregor is a Scottish actor. He has had success in mainstream, indie, and art house films. McGregor is perhaps best known for his roles as heroin addict Mark Renton in the drama Trainspotting , young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy , and poet Christian in the...

 was cast as the lead in the film, which was slated to begin production in summer 2007. However, McGregor broke his leg in a biking accident in February 2007 during the second series of Long Way Round
Long Way Round
Long Way Round is a documentary television series, DVD set and book documenting the journey of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman from London to New York on motorcycles...

and was forced to leave the project. Actors Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe
Matthew Ryan Phillippe , better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an American actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54...

, Eva Green
Eva Green
Eva Gaëlle Green is a French actress and model.Green performed in theatre before making her film debut in The Dreamers , which generated controversy over her numerous nude scenes. She achieved greater fame for her parts in Kingdom of Heaven , and in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, for...

, and newcomer Sam Riley
Sam Riley
Sam Riley is an English actor and singer.-Early life:Riley was born in Menston in the Metropolitan District of Bradford in West Yorkshire, the son of "a textile agent and nursery-school teacher". He was educated at Uppingham School...

 were cast in Franklyn in September 2007. Phillippe was the last to be cast in what McMorrow termed a 'now or never' situation, saying of their first meeting: "You have preconceptions about people... You expect the bleach-blond Californian kid and what you got was an incredibly erudite, brought-up-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks Philadelphia actor. When I met him we did not stop talking all afternoon."

McMorrow's visual inspiration for Meanwhile City came from the religious iconography he saw in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 shopping malls.
He later explained: "The idea was that if you're going to have a capital city based on religion, you've got somewhere like Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 or Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and send somewhere like that three miles into the sky... Part of Preest's delirium and fantasies are based on the religion surrounding him and comics he read and films he saw. He sort of pieces together a jigsaw of his own delusions."
Preest's mask was primarily influenced by Claude Rains
Claude Rains
Claude Rains was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 66 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man , a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , Mr...

' film of H.G Wells' novelThe Invisible Man
The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man is a science fiction novella by H.G. Wells published in 1897. Wells' novel was originally serialised in Pearson's Weekly in 1897, and published as a novel the same year...

.
Preest also bears a resemblance to the character Rorschach in Watchmen
Watchmen
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form...

, not only in terms of clothing but in terms of character.

Franklyn had a budget of £6 million, of which £1 million was provided by the UK Film Council
UK Film Council
The UK Film Council was set up in 2000 by the Labour Government as a non-departmental public body to develop and promote the film industry in the UK. It was constituted as a private company limited by guarantee governed by a board of 15 directors and was funded through sources including the...

 through its Premiere Fund. Production began on 24 September 2007 in and around London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and was completed by December 2007. Major locations included an East End bar and Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

 Naval College, where many of the CGI sequences were shot. McMorrow described his approach, "I used an atypical and off-kilter background, and told a story that wouldn't normally be told. The film was set around some tricky locations but we managed to shoot it." The film entered post-production by April 2008.

Reception


Rights to Franklyn were purchased from sales and financier HanWay Films by Contender Films for the UK, and Seville Pictures for Canada, with both distributors operating under their parent company Entertainment One. Franklyn premiered at the 52nd London Film Festival
London Film Festival
The BFI London Film Festival is the UK's largest public film event, screening more than 300 features, documentaries and shorts from almost 50 countries. The festival, , currently in its 54th year, is run every year in the second half of October under the umbrella of the British Film Institute...

 on 16 October 2008. The film was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 27 February 2009.

Dave Calhoun of Time Out opined: "Produced by British industry veteran Jeremy Thomas, McMorrow’s admirable if not entirely coherent debut follows the lives of four people in and around London who are attempting to cope with various crises in their lives, from a relationship break-up and the search for a missing son to the psychological after-effects of military service. The film treads a fine line between realism and fantasy, occasionally dipping out of the world as we know it to visit a seductively strange vision of the capital that appears part-futuristic and part-medieval (and which gives the film its name). Riley follows Control by leaning heavily on middle-distance stares and up-turned collars, while Green is a troubled art student with a good line in haute couture
Haute couture
Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,...

, and Philippe is a troubled ex-soldier. The main problem is that by the time this tricksy film finally plays its hand, many viewers may already have been lost at the wayside."

Derek Elley of Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

thought the premise better suited to a novella
Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

 rather than a feature film, believing that Franklyn lacked an emotional payoff. Elley criticized the script for not developing the ideas it introduced and for lacking background on the characters. The critic also considered Phillippe and Riley to be poor casting in their roles, while Green could not present her dual roles dramatically. Jason Solomons of The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

reviewed the film, "The visual style is impressive but the storylines are thin and the characters all extremely irritating." Fionnuala Halligan of Screen International
Screen International
Screen International is a multimedia film magazine covering the international film business. It is published by EMAP, a British b2b media company.The magazine is primarily aimed at those involved in the global movie business...

weighed in: "It's unusual in the current film-making climate to see an independent director making such an ambitious debut as Gerald McMorrow's Franklyn. He aims high, visually and conceptually, but a more experienced director would have trouble finding the right tone to pull this intricate plot off. Notices should be at least encouraging: McMorrow has pulled off a very handsome look on a limited budget."