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Synopsis

When producer Alison Owen first read the script for Rat, written by 65-year-old Irish writer Wesley Burrowes, she was convinced "it had been written by some post-modernist kid out of film school". An easy mistake to make given that the script she describes as a "Kafka comedy" is about a Guinness-loving man who comes home from the pub only to turn into a rat.



"For me, the joke was never that a man turns into a rat, it was more the humorous potential of a clash of perspectives," says Burrowes. "You have an ordinary family to whom this tragic thing happens and the real comedy is in the way they receive it. They're immensely pragmatic, ordinary, decent people and suddenly this calamity occurs and they proceed to treat it as if it's just one of those domestic events that are upsetting... like woodworm in the furniture."



Director Steve Barron signed on immediately, as did Stewart Till of Universal Pictures International. Production took place in Ireland in November 1999 with Imelda Staunton and Pete Postlethwaite in the key roles of wife and husband rat. Barron and Owen took the unusual decision to use real rather than animatronic rats.



"Our film is sort of opposite to films like Stuart Little or Babe," Owen explains. "Whereas those films are all about the audience imbuing the animal with human characteristics, in Rat the characters are imbuing the rats with human personalities and the audience sees this as completely ridiculous."



Rat premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in July to great audience acclaim.

Details

Year
2000
Type of film
Features
Director
Steve Barron
Music
Bob Geldof.
Dir
Steve Barron.
Exec prod
David Collins.
Prods
Alison Owen, Barron.
Scr
Wesley Burrowes.
DoP
Brendan Galvin.
Prod des
Mark Geraghty.
Ed
David Yardley.
Main cast
Imelda Staunton, Pete Postlethwaite, David Wilmot, Frank Kelly, Ed Byrne.
Budget
£6.1m.
Funding
Universal Pictures International, Jim Henson Co, Section 481.
International dist
Universal Pictures International/United International Pictures.

Genre

Production Company

RUBY FILMS
1 Lexington Street
London W1R 3HQ
Tel: (44) 20 7439 4455
Fax: (44) 20 7439 1649.

Sales
Company

Universal Pictures International