Homegrown British comedy Legacy hits cinemas this week, with an array of UK talent in front of and behind the camera. Produced by actors Jason Maza and Noel Clarke, and written and co-directed by Davie Fairbanks and Marc Small, the film brings together a young cast with big futures.
It tells the story of a group of friends who, denied entry to apparently the biggest party of the century, set about creating their own night: their Legacy if you will. There’s a well-established lineage of teen comedy from across the pond in the States – think Porky's, American Pie, Superbad, for example - so it’ll be interesting to see how this British-accented take plays alongside the likes of The Inbetweeners big-screen outings.
Heading to the set in East London last year, we saw a couple of scenes being shot from a respectful distance. There’s a bustling atmosphere on set, with the directors shepherding a tight unit of cast and crew across a wet and windy October afternoon in the capital. We manage to waylay Fairbanks for a few quick words on how the atmosphere is on set.
“A constant buzz of positive energy. A lot of that I feel spilled over from the pre-production period,” the co-director explains. “Everyone worked so closely with and for each other, from the producers and production crew through to the actors, that by the time it came to being on set we knew we were going to have a fun shoot.”
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Legacy is in the cast. A great many young actors auditioned for the film, with open auditions taking place for certain roles. Up-and-comer Amy Tyger was a discovery from one of these intensive sessions described as “extremely difficult…but time well spent” by the film’s co-director. How did the process go? Were the auditions as exciting as they were nerve-racking?
“It was definitely both of those!” Tyger confirms “I saw the casting call on Twitter, and it was a long shot, but I applied for the Manchester audition. I didn’t hear anything. It got to three days before the audition with no word. I presumed I wasn’t what they were looking for.
“One Wednesday morning I woke up and noticed a missed call and voicemail from an unknown number on my phone. ‘Hello Amy, I’m very pleased to offer you the part of Dani….' And the first time I listened, that’s all I heard. I couldn’t believe it!”
Having worked in camera departments from the age of 18, Tyger is clearly keen to make the most of this opportunity.
“I understood how critical it can be for the focus puller that you hit your mark, I knew why the clapperboard sometimes had to be hit so close to your face and had a general idea of what size shot each lens would give when they were changed. Super important for your close-ups!” she enthuses, obviously not fazed by being in front of the camera for the first time.
In just an 18-day shooting schedule, the cast managed to work up a genuinely friendly chemistry, according to Tyger: “The five of us actually got on very well and bonded very quickly due to Marc and Davie’s ‘getting to know you’ technique where they left us in a room together, mid-rehearsals on the first day, to try to let us get to know each other organically without us realising that that’s what they were doing. It worked very well, we had a laugh on and off set, which I think added to our onscreen chemistry.”
So with one last question to Davie, we just want to know what he hopes audiences will take away from Legacy? “For me, I feel Legacy it one of the first real positive films about British youth culture. It’s about friendship being self-empowered, people working together to achieve something. But the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and so I simply want people to laugh, be a little shocked, and be a little moved.” With Legacy hitting screens this week, if they’ve successfully bottled even half of the enthusiasm and sense of fun on set then the results could be a very worthy UK-flavoured entry to the teen comedy canon.
Legacy opens in selected cinemas on 25 June 2015, before hitting DVD and Digital Download on 29 June.