Two-time Oscar winner Thompson has herself been involved in the high-profile London-based protests. She addressed crowds over the weekend from Extinction Rebellion’s signature pink boat, which was placed in Oxford Circus, one of the British capital’s busiest intersections, and which will feature in the film. That was part of a series of protests by the group. Its activities are carrying on this week as it lobbies for action against climate change and ecological collapse.
Thompson will play a veteran environmentalist and a highly qualified member of Extinction Rebellion who secures a meeting with a senior government official. She and the Conservative Party lawmaker lock horns as protests and disruption take place outside.
The filmmakers approached the actress in the knowledge that she is a longtime supporter of environmental activism. “We knew that this issue was very much in her wheelhouse and that she was in support of Extinction Rebellion,” director Jack Cooper Stimpson told Variety. “The character she’s playing was written for her, so we sent her the script and got a very quick and resounding response of ‘Yes, I’m in, I’ve even got the costume.’”
Tom Glynn-Carney (“Dunkirk”) will play Thompson’s son in the film. The cast also includes Charlotte Hamblin (“Downton Abbey”), Nicholas Row (“Riviera”), Francis Magee (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), Will Brown (“Unforgotten”), Gary Beadle (“Summer of Rockets”), and Rakhee Thakrar (Eastenders”).
Actor and director Stimpson (“World on Fire”) co-wrote the short film with Sam Haygarth. SOS Films’ Giannina Rodriguez Rico is producing. Sabian Phippen is exec producing for Greenhorn Productions. Despite the weighty issues in question, the filmmakers behind “Extinction” are continuing in the British satirical tradition, where social commentary meets comedy.
“Both Sam and I are huge fans of the long-standing comedy of manners and political comedies that have been a huge part of the television landscape in Britain for the past few decades,” Stimpson said. “We’re pushing that genre a little further, and although this is very much a comedy, we hope that the documentary-style footage we have for the protest scenes will make this a genre-hopping type of project.”
Shooting continues in London this week and will be interspersed with the protest footage from last week. It will be ready for release by end of May or early June, meaning a script-to-screen turnaround time of about five months.
The filmmakers are not making the project for Extinction Rebellion, but they said it has their blessing and is being made in solidarity with the group, which will receive a percentage of any profits from the film. The resulting short will be looking for festival berths and will likely be released online.