ATONEMENT director Joe Wright presented his film to Redcar “with love” - and revealed he’d even sampled a lemontop.
The man behind the movie which puts Redcar on the map gave heartfelt praise to the hundreds of Teessiders who took part as extras.
Speaking before introducing a community screening - one of three showings yesterday - he said filming the BBC film Nature Boy in Middlesbrough meant he already had a “soft spot” for the area.
He said: “We knew working with extras in London, often they are people that have done it before - they don’t have the same excitement, but it wasn’t like that here.
“Today’s incredible - I didn’t quiet expect all this.
“This feels very, very special. I’m very honoured to be welcomed back so warmly.
“I’ve even got my name up in lights over The Regent - mum, I’m on top of the world!”
Of the already famous shot which “tracks” across Redcar’s sands, Wright said they had just one day to get it right.
And of the film’s £15m budget, he admits “quite a bit of it” went on that scene.
He said: “It started as a joke. I came in one day and said ‘you know the steadicam shot we did in Pride and Prejudice, I’d like to do it in one take on the beach’. Then the joke turned into fact.
“When we shot the scene, it was very moving, just to see 1,600 people all giving themselves totally to re-enacting this extraordinary event.
“People are talking quite a lot about that shot. It’s the centrepiece of the film and that’s testament to the lads from this area.
“Without them, that shot would be rubbish.”
Wright said the Regent, which features in the film and hosted two of yesterday’s premieres, was “one of the reasons we shot here.”
“It was like a gift really. It’s a beautiful building and very romantic.”
He said it was a deliberate policy while filming in Redcar that the actors, including James McAvoy, mingled freely with locals rather than huddling away in their trailers.
And he said he got to see a lot of the area while checking it out “six or seven times” before shooting in Redcar.
But had he tried a lemontop?
And the verdict?
Later, Wright introduced a community screening at The Regent, saying Atonement was “made with love and brought back to you with love.”
He told the expectant audience, crammed into the 266-seater cinema: “We wanted to come and show you the film first because it’s partly yours. It’s only right you should see it first.”
Posted originally by Chris - administrator on September 6, 2007 on the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette website