Film takes inspiration from 'Team America'
LONDON — Taking their inspiration from “Team America,” an enterprising group of British filmmakers has started work on “Jackboots on Whitehall,” a WW2 comedy spoof using action figures as the characters, voiced by a stellar cast of British actors.Directed by debut helmer Edward McHenry, the pic imagines what would have happened if the Germans had won the Battle of Britain but were ultimately defeated by the Scots. It stars Timothy Spall as Churchill, Alan Cumming as Hitler, Tom Wilkinson as Goebbels and Richard O’Brien as Himmler, along with Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant and Sanjeev Bhaskar. One American role remains to be cast. “It’s ‘Team America’ in style and tone but without the strings,” says producer Frank Mannion of Swipe Films. “We are using specially made ‘Action Man’ type action figures, and purpose built models of Hadrian’s Wall, Downing Street, etc. It’s live action as opposed to animation or stop motion.” Mannion, whose company is handling worldwide sales, came across the script when it won the inaugural Swipe Films Screenplay Scholarship, which he set up to encourage students to write scripts in their summer vacation. McHenry, who graduated in fine art from Oxford U. earlier this year, previously shot a short called “Baptism of Fire” using the same action-figure techniques. He co-wrote the screenplay for “Jackboots on Whitehall” with his brother Rory. Jamie English is co-producing the movie, which is primarily financed by private investors and Final Cut Post. Casting director Debbie McWilliams, who cast the last seven James Bond movies, is serving as exec producer. “It is a tribute to the script’s originality and to Edward’s directorial vision that we have assembled such a starry British cast lending us their extraordinary vocal and comedic talents,” Mannion commented. Voice recording started Dec. 7, with principal photography scheduled to begin next March.