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John Hurt acts for free in film funded by fans

Veteran star on location in Waterloo as a favour for a friend

Published on November 3rd 2014.


John Hurt on location in Waterloo (pic by Angie Sammons)John Hurt on location in Waterloo (Picture: Angie Sammons)

VETERAN screen star John Hurt was acting for free in Liverpool today - in a film financed entirely by public donations.

The 74-year-old, best known to younger audiences for waving his magic wands as Mr Ollivander in the box-office-busting Harry Potter movies, was waiving his fees in an ultra-low-budget short feature being shot in Waterloo.

Break, billed as the emotional story of an an elderly couple who befriend a young struggling family, is written and directed by Liverpool actor Nick Moss who became friends with Hurt when they worked together on this summer’s blockbuster Hercules. It is expected to eventually be screened at film festivals.

Speaking to Liverpool Confidential during a pause in shooting, the BAFTA winning and Oscar-nominated star of The Elephant Man, Alien and Midnight Express, said he was “all for” using film fans’ money to produce new movies.  

John Hurt and crew take a break from the uber-tight four day schedule of low budget film Break in which the veteran actor waived his fee %28Picture: Angie Sammons%29John Hurt and crew take a break from the uber-tight four day schedule of low budget film Break in which the veteran actor waived his fee 

But he warned that internet-based crowd-funding appeals should not be seen by politicians and others as a replacement for financing creative projects with public money. Projects that might otherwise struggle to see the light of day.

"That would be a grave mistake," whispered the gravel-voiced one.

Break got its own break after Moss successfully raised £5,500 on the Kickstarter website - almost double the funding needed to get the project off the ground. “Backers” giving anything from £5 to £1,000 were offered incentives such as DVDs of the final cut, autographed scripts, an invitation to the screening (next April) and even a place in the credits as “an executive producer of a John Hurt film”.

With a crew of around 20 people and support in kind from Colin McKeown’s LA Productions film company, the tight, four-day schedule has seen 12-hour days in and around the grand mansions of Beach Lawn, which overshadow Antony Gormley’s iron men installation on the Sefton shore.

Actor, writer and director Nick Moss met John Hurt on the set of the blockbuster HerculesLiverpool actor, writer and director Nick Moss met and became friends with John Hurt on the set of the blockbuster Hercules

Hurt, who won BAFTA’s Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema accolade in 2012 and most recently played The War Doctor in Doctor Who, was said to have hit it off big style with L22 locals and was spotted wandering up South Road yesterday on his way for a pizza. 

Sadly the “The Wand Guy” or “The Last Of The Great Hellraisers”, depending on your age, did not stick around long enough to get acquainted with The Volunteer Canteen pub, Waterloo's own award-winning legend. Maybe next time.

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AnonymousNovember 4th 2014.

That is well cool

Jackie SuttonNovember 4th 2014.

He was in our Doctors on Kingsway filming him walking out and getting into a VW campervan. Not your usual visit to the Doctors

AnonymousFebruary 14th 2015.

John Hurt is one of my favourite actor and it is great for him to do this. About the crowd funding for this particular film it needed £3k, not a lot of money in the context of a well crewed production. I'm sure they could have done this without crowd funding but the publicity generated from it with an A lister involved make interesting reading.

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