TRIED AND TESTED: BAFTA winning director Garry Fraser to direct crime film on notorious reformed Tyneside criminal Stephen Sayers.
A Bafta winning director was on Tyneside recently to announce his latest film project which will focus on notorious reformed criminal Stephen Sayers. Garry Fraser who won 2 Baftas 1 in 2014 for 'Everybody's Child and a shared Bafta with Danny Boyle for T2 will direct TRIED AND TESTED, a film based on Stephen Sayers best selling book, 'The Sayers Tried And Tested At The Highest Level.'
" I came across the book via a friend in Edinburgh and I could not put it down. The story has so many sides to it and certainly does not encourage a young influential reader to take up a life of crime. It is funny in parts, very emotional, and shows how a young lad on Tyneside got to the top of the criminal ladder before inevitably falling foul of the law and losing everything. I have got to know Stephen well over the last six months and have visited Newcastle to get a feel for the City. The film will certainly not glamorise crime and will focus on Stephens life and not his brothers, and it will give a chance for local actors to shine on a bigger stage. We aim to shoot the trailer early 2020 and then source funding for the project," said Fraser.
Casting took place at the 'Tyneside Irish Centre' two months ago with over 100 actors taking part in a workshop audition.
Local actor Steve Wraith who has appeared in films such as 'Rise Of The Footsoldier', 'The Krays: Dead Man Walking' and on local drama 'Vera' has been cast in the lead role playing Stephen. Melly Barnes who appeared in 'Our Friends In The North' will play his brother Michael, whilst Alfie Dobson will take the role of John. Jayne Mackenzie will take on the role of Stephen's mother Yvonne. whilst his cousin Tony Sayers will play his Dad, John Snr.
Steve Wraith is delighted to take on the role of Stephen. " I have known Stephen for 20 years so I know a lot of his characteristics. It is a unique opportunity for me having written his book alongside Stu Wheatman."
Stephen Sayers is delighted that the project is finally off the ground.
Melly Barnes who plays Michael said, " I have read a lot about the family over the years and met Stephen at his book launch a few years ago. I am delighted that the film is being made and being made with actors from the North East. A lot of films are made here but there are very few chances for local actors which is what makes this a unique project."
Alfie Dobson a local actor and singer is looking forward to taking on his role. " This is a big chance for me. I have just worked with Ken Loach on his latest film and I learned a lot from that experience. I have been working on two other projects with Steve and Melly over the last six months and we have bonded like brothers so I think that really helped during the audition process."
Stephen Sayers is delighted that the project is finally off the ground. " After the success of the book and DVD I really hoped that we could get a film made and when Garry approached me I knew he was the right man for the job. He has won a Bafta and recently worked on 'Trainspotting 2', for me there is no better person to put my life story on the big screen. Steve has known me for 20 years and wrote my book with Stu Wheatman. He has had recent success in films and on TV and I’m sure he will do a great job.”
Stephen will be donating a percentage of any earnings to a local charity.
"With the book we made donations to St Oswald’s Hospice and Cash For Kids and we will be doing the same with this project."
Filming will start early 2020.