YouTube series adapted as feature pic
LONDON — YouTube hit series “Svengali” is being turned into a feature film starring Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit”).The privately-financed comedy, directed by first-timer John Hardwick, starts production next week in London, and will shoot for six weeks. It’s the story of a smalltown guy from Wales who travels to London to fulfill his dream of becoming the manager of the best band in the world. Writer and actor Jonny Owen, who plays the leading role, originally created the Svengali character with co-writer Dean Cavanagh in a series of nine “webisodes,” which aired on YouTube in 2011. The series used real-life rock stars and music business personalities to play themselves. Now Owen has teamed with designer Martin Root to launch Root Films, which is producing the feature version of “Svengali.” Aside from Freeman, who plays a cameo role in between his “Hobbit” filming commitments in New Zealand, the cast includes Vicky McClure (“This Is England”) and Michael Smiley (“Kill List”).