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An intimate and emotional drama based on the critically acclaimed play by Glyn Maxwell. With a fresh and innovative style, the film breathlessly recounts fifteen years of love, sex and betrayal, ratcheting up the tension and mystery until its devastating conclusion.*

In the beginning

The Best Man started life as a monologue, entitled Best Man Speech, written by Glyn Maxwell and performed by Danny Swanson. Maxwell and Swanson are childhood friends, the former agreeing during a drunken evening with the latter to write the piece. The monologue was performed for radio, on stage in Hertfordshire, UK, and at the Smirnoff Underbelly during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004.

The monologue was well received in Edinburgh, gaining positive reviews from The Independent and The Scotsman, among others. Following this success, the team involved were keen to develop the play into a film.

Jon Croker had directed the monologue when it was staged in Edinburgh; he and Emily Robinson wrote, directed, produced, edited and designed the film between them. They were assisted in their efforts by Rob Wallace - Sound Designer & Editor and Songwriter, Trevor Wallace - Director of Photography and Tom Wiggall - Composer.

There was no budget available to make the play into a film. Everyone involved gave of their time, abilities and homes for nothing more tangible than gratitude, appreciation and a mention in the credits. The nearest the film came to a brush with Hollywood was a visit to the editing suite by Mike Newell, director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Jon Croker was Newell's assistant during the filming of HP4.

How I heard about it

Although, if questioned, I would declare a strong interest in independent film, I am hampered in my attempts to seek it out due to being damn lazy. I didn't happen upon The Best Man at a local film event, or through scouring the paper for screenings, or through any form of society membership, but through my little brother.

He is a keen actor and one day in 2005 happened to mention - all cool and casual-like - that he'd spent his weekend filming. Having piqued my curiosity, he went on to explain that his drama teacher - a Mr Swanson - had asked him to be in a film. I pumped him for further information, and found out that he, and three of his friends, were playing the 'Young' versions of the film's main characters, in the film's flashbacks.

The première of the film was at the Sandpit Theatre in St Albans, UK on Sunday 8 January 2006, which I attended as my brother's guest. The theatre was filled by family and friends of the cast and crew, many of whom had featured in the film as guests at the wedding. As well as being the first screening of the film, it was a chance to plead for donations so that Croker and Robinson could afford to enter the film into as many film festivals and competitions as possible.

In June 2006 The Best Man was screened as part of London UK Film Focus, an annual film export event.

Synopsis & Main Cast

The film tells of the history between two men, Addy and Bailey, who have been friends since childhood, and the secrets one has discovered while preparing a best man's speech for the other's wedding. As the story begins, Bailey is just about to make his best man's speech at Addy's wedding. Bailey narrates the film which is peppered with flashbacks - some recent, some old - all which illustrate Bailey's speech.

We learn about their shared past, their friends, the different routes their lives have taken. There is humour, horror and suspense, and even a cameo appearance by the director, although this perhaps owes more to Peep Show than to Hitchcock.
  • Danny Swanson - Bailey, the Best Man
  • John Alastair - Addy, the Groom
  • Lou Wallace - Ashtray, the Prostitute
  • Emma Wallace - Miranda, the Bride
  • Jamie Mitchell - Young Addy
  • Olivia Wybraniec - Young Ashtray

Trailer and photos can be seen at http://www.thebestmanmovie.co.uk

Written for Independent Film Quest
* from Synopsis at http://www.thebestmanmovie.co.uk

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