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Carlyle, Ifans topline ‘Once’

Tale of estranged love to be financed by FilmFour, Senator

LONDON — Robert Carlyle and Rhys Ifans are set to star in “Once Upon a Time in the Midlands,” the latest pic from Brit auteur Shane Meadows.

The film is a contempo reworking of the spaghetti Western genre, set in the drab urban milieu of the English Midlands.

Cast also includes Kathy Burke (“Kevin and Perry Go Large”), Ricky Tomlinson (“Mike Bassett: England Manager”) and Shirley Henderson (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”).

The film, produced by Andrea Calderwood’s Slate Films, will be financed by FilmFour and Germany’s Senator.

It’s the story of a man estranged from his lover who comes back to town in an attempt to reclaim his ex-girlfriend.

With its cast of well-known names, it marks a conscious effort by Meadows to reach out to a wider audience after his first two movies, “Twenty Four Seven” and “A Room for Romeo Brass,” failed to make any impact at the box office, despite their critical acclaim.

Meadows is known for his homespun filmmaking style. As a teenager he made dozens of video shorts with his friends on the streets of his hometown Uttoxeter, and he has not strayed far from those roots with his full-scale features.

“Once Upon a Time in the Midlands” will also take place in Uttoxeter. Like his previous pics, it is co-written by Meadows and his childhood friend Paul Fraser.

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