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Notes from behind the screen

About a Boy

9th November 2016

Five months after we first sipped decaf Darjeeling at Groucho’s, Boy George’s take on his growing pains, and those of the nation, in the 1970s, finally makes it to the screen.

 The film is the third in a four-part series, if the description still applies to films that go out months apart and have different titles. They were to be called The Decade That Made Me. Tom Jones went first, back in February, with the 1950s. Julian Temple’s film was about the sixties, as seen by Keith Richards, through a fog of computer-generated smoke of non-specific origin. I got George on life as a boy and before Boy.

good from both sides
good from both sides

His tour schedule initially meant the only place we could discuss Lewisham, Eltham and Soho was an hotel room overlooking Central Park.

old Manhattan locations endlessly scouted
old Manhattan locations endlessly scouted

I had to roost in another, slightly less ritzy joint on Lexington Avenue, writing, recceing and of an evening eating in neighbourhood places that thankfully included the much loved Grand Central oyster cafe.

writing by day, bivalves by night
MacBook by day, bivalves by night

With ten days to go we collected George from the Culture Club tour and managed London filming, on buses, in old clubs and chez O'Dowd in Hampstead.

old friends recruited to help with memories
old friends recruited to help with memories

What makes George’s look-back so compelling is his amazement at and ignorance of what was going on outside his teenage world of textiles and make-up: EU membership, industrial decline, fears over immigration, the rise of fascism, Women’s Lib, the rise and fall of Trade Unionism, the economy in terminal decline and the failure of successive governments to cope with it. And throughout it all, we managed not to compare those dark days with the sunlit uplands in which we find ourselves, four decades on.

DoP pushed to limit by lighting plan
DoP pushed to limit by lighting plan