Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?
It was the battle between punk and disco in the late 1970s that inspired Ben Steiner to write Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?. Steiner was an advertising copywriter when he decided to take a year off to nurture his screenwriting ambitions. Of the four scripts he completed, it was the one he wrote without following the traditional rules of screenwriting that caught producer Ruth Jackson's eye. She then approached Peter Hewitt, the director whose credits include Bill And Ted's Bogus Adventure and The Borrowers, and brought in financing from Intermedia as well as regional and Lottery funds.
Steiner's interweaving narrative is set in 1977 and delves into the lives of one family living in Sheffield. Disco-mad
18-year-old Vince is forced to reappraise his taste in music when he falls for punk Joanna, not realising she works in his office. Vince's father Harold is happy slumped in front of the television, while his wife plays the field with younger men. Things are thrown into confusion, however, when Harold discovers he has magical powers.
"One of Ben's strengths is to outline a character in one sentence so clearly that you can close your eyes and imagine who would say it," says Hewitt. "His writing allows the audience to learn things along the way, acknowledging their intelligence."
The film screened at the London Film Festival last year and was released earlier this year in the UK.
- Type of film
- Peter Hewitt
- Harry Gregson-Williams.
- Peter Hewitt.
- Exec prods
- Guy East, Nigel Sinclair.
- Ruth Jackson,
- Ben Steiner.
- David Tattersall.
- Prod des
- Gemma Jackson.
- Martin Walsh.
- Main cast
- Tom Courtenay, Michael Legge, Laura Fraser, Stephen Fry, Charlotte Roberts, Amanda Root, Lulu, David Thewlis.
- Intermedia, Arts Council of England, Yorkshire Media Production Agency, European Regional Development Fund.