A tale of bingo hall rivalry set in the Welsh Valleys, House! stars Kelly Macdonald as Linda, a young bingo addict with a gift for guessing the numbers before they come up. When a new mega bingo arena under construction a mile up the valley threatens to close down her beloved Scala bingo hall, she tries to use her powers to save it, with comic results.
Jason Sutton's screenplay for the film received a reading at the Television Arts Performance Showcase in 1998 where first-time feature director Julian Kemp saw it and was immediately struck by its cinematic potential. "It was really funny and tapped into the humour of South Wales," he says. Kemp showed the script to producer Michael Kelk, with whom he had previously worked on children's television programmes, after which Kelk optioned the rights to the script. The next step was casting. Kemp says: "For Linda, we needed someone who was in their early 20s, who had real vitality and who could believably come from a small Welsh town. Surprisingly that turned out to be quite a short list and Kelly was at the top of it."
Kemp took the unusual step of recruiting Kjell Vassdal, a Norwegian director of photography to capture Wales on film. "I saw a fabulous Norwegian film called Junkmail in which the weather is very bad, but Kjell made it look spectacular. I thought if he can make Oslo look great, he can make Cardiff look great, and he did."
The film was released in the UK earlier this year.
- Type of film
- Julian Kemp
- Julian Kemp.
- Exec prods
- Christopher Figg, Adam Sutcliffe.
- Michael Kelk.
- Jason Sutton, based on an original idea by Eric Styles.
- Kjell Vassdal.
- Prod des
- Kit Line.
- Jonathan Rudd.
- David Alldridge, Craig Blake-Jones, Mark Thomas.
- Main cast
- Kelly Macdonald, Jason Hughes, Freddie Jones, Miriam Margolyes, Mossie Smith.
- Under £2m.
- Pathe Distribution, Arts Council of England, British Screen, private sources.