Jim Sturgess Online

The Toronto Odyssey of ‘LONDON FIELDS’

September 20th, 2015

Everyone here at JSO was excited at the announcement that Jim Sturgess would play Keith Talent in the screen adaptation of London Fields. We had never seen Jim portray a character anything like this, and we were looking forward to the change. Filming took place September through October of 2013. The cast also included Theo James and Amber Heard, who both have strong online fan communities. After a while, everyone began to wonder what was going on with this film. Other than some production design images and one newspaper article, nothing was made available to the public. Film festivals came and went. Finally, earlier this year, someone involved with the film mentioned it had been submitted to Cannes. When the film wasn’t scheduled, panic set in. Thankfully, the film was included in the last titles scheduled for the Toronto International Film Festival. Unfortunately, the director and cast members were not included on the festival ‘guest list’ - meaning they were not expected to be there for a red carpet gala at the premiere. Everyone sensed that something was wrong. On September 15th, we found out exactly how wrong things were…..

  • August 18 - The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announces London Fields as a Special Presentation, which would also be the world premiere
  • August 25 - TIFF releases the screening schedule for the festival and the anticipated guest list. London Fields is scheduled for industry and press only on September 15th, with the world premiere taking place on September 18th at 6:30. Additional screenings are scheduled for the weekend. The guest list does not mention any of the cast with the exception of Amber Heard, who had another film playing at the festival.
  • September 12 - A private screening takes place.
  • September 13 - TIFF confirms there will be no red carpet or special events for the premiere via twitter.
  • September 14 - The Hollywood Reporterreveals that Amazon is interested in purchasing the film for digital distribution.
  • September 15 - Industry and Press screening takes place in the morning - the reaction is not positive.
  • Jim Sturgess doesn’t hold back as sleazy taxi driver and darts player Keith Talent. He gives a barnstorming performance that leaves over-the-top as an inadequate description. His greasy hair, swaggering manner, tattoed torso and permanently gurning, grimacing face make for a totally repellent figure. Sturgess plays it to the hilt from a triumphal Gene Kelly dance in the rain to a wardrobe of capes and leopard prints that lend him the appearance of Elvis Presley, if the King had dressed in the dark. It is an admirable force of nature display of acting technique but it is still an exhausting business spending time in this character’s company. - Screendaily

    The New York Times reports on the ‘creative rift’ between the director Mathew Cullen who filed suit for $1 million against the producers Christopher Hanley and Jordan Gertner. The article begins by wondering if anyone would even turn up for a premiere….

    Whether any of the film’s biggest stars — Mr. Depp, Ms. Heard, Billy Bob Thornton and Jim Sturgess — will appear to support it on Friday is an open question, as festival organizers nervously wait to find out.

    None have publicly declared a boycott. But all four have written letters to their producers, objecting to a provocative cut of the movie — its narrative is now laced with violent imagery in what might be dreams, or flashes both back and forward — that was overseen not by its credited director, Mathew Cullen, but by one of those producers, Chris Hanley.

    For months Mr. Cullen and his supporters have been contending that Mr. Hanley turned “London Fields” into a sometimes unrecognizable, avant-garde experiment that violates the spirit of the project.

    Late Tuesday, Mr. Cullen sued Mr. Hanley in Los Angeles County Superior Court. According to the complaint, Mr. Hanley and his associates “secretly prepared their own version of the film,” which includes elements never discussed, including “incendiary imagery evoking 9/11 jumpers edited against pornography.” Among other remedies, the suit requests that a judge intervene to determine the degree to which Mr. Cullen’s name can be used in connection with the film, if at all.

    Mr. Hanley said he did not know whether the actors would appear, but noted that Mr. Thornton and Ms. Heard had contractual commitments to support the film.

      Mr. Cullen edited one version of the film, while Mr. Hanley edited another, with actors on call to provide dialogue in postproduction for both.

    Mr. Cullen, he said, had failed to deliver his version of the film on deadline, and continues to work on a version the “producers have not seen.” A person briefed on Mr. Cullen’s stance said the director had never been paid, and for a time paused to seek other work. Mr. Hanley said Mr. Cullen had “been fully compensated according to the terms of his agreement.”

    In its present form, the narrative is intercut with images of a predatory drone, nuclear blasts, a person tumbling from a World Trade Center tower, and what appears to be a gathering in Mecca. Some of those moments were said to have outraged Mr. Cullen, according to people briefed on his response, and he explored taking his name off the film. But he found that he had missed his opportunity to do so under complicated rules enforced by the Directors Guild of America.

    Jovan Ajder, a sound mixer who worked on “London Fields,” speaking by telephone from London, said Mr. Hanley’s version of the movie was “radically different” from the more straightforward tale created by Mr. Cullen.

    “It was certainly more puzzling and confusing,” Mr. Ajder said. Even more puzzling, he said, was a production process in which Mr. Cullen edited one version of the film, while Mr. Hanley edited another, with actors on call to provide dialogue in postproduction for both.

    By May of this year, the actors were largely united in an unusual appeal for the restoration of Mr. Cullen’s cut (though Ms. Heard urged a merger of the versions, Mr. Hanley said). Mr. Depp, who had accepted a small role as a gesture toward his wife, was by then voicing wariness about any attempt to use him in an effort to market the movie, people briefed on the situation said.

    The infighting disrupted a postproduction process that was supposed to be completed in time for last year’s Toronto festival, then for the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

    Mr. Ajder was left to puzzle over a creative collision more severe than he had seen on any of the dozens of films on his résumé. “It was entirely rare, unique,” he said.

    Deadline provided further details from Mathew Cullen’s claim, and provided a link to the complete document. Highlights include:

    None of the revisionary elements that Defendants have interjected into the film appear anywhere in the script. Nor do they have any place in the film, at least not the one that Plaintiffs were asked to direct….No cast or crew member signed up for this, nor did Plaintiffs. But Defendants insist upon doing this, and more, in the names of Plaintiffs and others, notwithstanding their objections to the theft of their identities and the false, distorted and perverted associations that Defendants are imposing upon them.

    As principal photography progressed, it became increasingly apparent that Defendants were unable or unwilling to fund the production of the film as they had represented to Cullen. This caused significant disruption and interference with the filming. Among other things, actors and crew were not paid, leading some to quit or walk off the set.

      No cast or crew member signed up for this…

    To make matters worse, [Producers] Hanley and Gertner permitted the screenwriter, Roberta Hanley, to substantially interfere with production of the film. Although Gertner repeatedly promised to fix the problem, neither he nor Hanley did anything to stop the interference with the production. Eventually, Cullen attempted to ban Ms. Hanley from the set in an effort to stop her interference with the production, but she managed to keep reappearing and disrupting the production.

    In creating their own version of the film, Defendants have interjected scenes and footage that are highly offensive and neither appear in the script nor are part of the film that Cullen was asked to direct. Cullen has objected to any use of Defendant’s version of the film, as have several cast members and others. Despite these objections, Defendants are currently marketing and promoting their version of the film over the Internet and elsewhere, including at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, as a film directed by Mathew Cullen. None of the incendiary images or offensive material that Defendants have interjected in the flim are properly attributable to the directorial services of Cullen, nor does he wish to be identified or associated with any such material.

  • September 16 - The Hollywood Reporter announces that Lionsgate/Grindstone have acquired London Fields for US distribution and plan a day and date VOD and theatrical release through Lionsgate Premiere. The sale price was rumored to be in the low seven figures.
  • September 17 - TIFF cancels remaining screenings

    We have recently learned of a legal matter that has arisen between the director and the producers of the film ‘London Fields’. We have worked to make our festival a public showcase for creative expression through the moving image, however with uncertainty surrounding the creative vision of the version of the film scheduled to be screened on Sept. 18, we feel it is only appropriate that we remove this film from the festival lineup. We are hopeful that this matter will be resolved positively and that audiences will have the opportunity to see the film.

    Chris & Roberta Hanley Vs. Director Mathew Cullen

    The producers respond attempting the spin the canceled screenings as being due to ‘provocative’ content. More from The Hollywood Reporter:

    Hours after the festival announced it was pulling the film, the producers fired back. “We have always loved launching our films here, but feel that in this particular case there has been an ill-considered decision made against our rights. It’s the first time we have ever heard of a festival removing a movie from the festival due to it’s imagery being deemed too provocative,” they said in a statement.

    Hanley and Gertner also labeled Cullen’s lawsuit a “publicity stunt.” Continuing, they said the legal action “violates the arbitration provisions of his own guild, the DGA. Sadly, Mathew can’t deal with the fact that he does not control the final cut of the movie. He was given two deadlines to deliver a ‘director’s cut’ and missed both deadlines. His guild has rules for withdrawing his name from the picture and he missed those deadlines. The production company will vigorously oppose the lawsuit.”


    September 15th, 2015

    Varietyreported last night that CLOSE TO THE ENEMY has been purchased by STARZ for US viewership. Filming was completed just last month, so this is great news to have so early. The rumor is the series will air sometime around September 2016.

    Starz has nabbed U.S. rights to Stephen Poliakoff’s miniseries “Close to the Enemy”

    Poliakoff wrote and directed the six-part series starring Jim Sturgess and executive produced by Helen Flint (“Longford”), Hilary Bevan Jones (“Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot”) and Colin Callender (“Wolf Hall”).

    Sturgess plays British intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson in the post-World War II thriller set in a bomb-rattled London hotel. His final task for the Army is to convince a captured German scientist (August Diehl) to hand over cutting-edge military technology crucial to national security — the jet engine.

    He encounters a number of other characters whose stories ultimately intertwine. They include Callum’s younger brother (“Bates Motel” star Freddie Highmore) who’s traumatized by his experiences in combat; a Foreign Office official (Alfred Molina) who reveals startling truths about the war; an American jazz singer who revives the old hotel with her music (Angela Bassett); an Anglophile American engaged to his best friend (Charlotte Riley from “Peaky Blinders”); and a young woman fighting to persecute war criminals (Phoebe Fox from “Woman in Black 2”),

    “Close to the Enemy” — a Little Island production produced in association with Endor Productions and Playground Entertainment, and distributed by all3media International — will premiere on BBC Two in the U.K. and Starz in the U.S. in 2016.

    “We are delighted to announce another significant collaboration with Starz who will release ‘Close to the Enemy’ to their U.S. subscribers in 2016,” said Stephen Driscoll, SVP Sales, all3media International. “Stephen Poliakoff and this wonderful cast of actors are creating a thrilling mini-series that will enthrall audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. We look forward to announcing further international deals in the very near future.” - Variety

    LONDON FIELDS World Premiere At TIFF15

    August 21st, 2015

    LONDON FIELDS has been added as a Special Presentation at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival. The festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015, but the screening date has yet to be announced. Keep up with the film on it’s official TIFF page.

    Since things are now moving forward with the film, I’ve been holding on to a couple of things to share.

    TOYDRUM, the musical act that Jim has posted about before, are officially listed as being involved with the soundtrack. The production notes for KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN not only mention LONDON FIELDS as one of Jim’s upcoming projects, but that he is also involved with original music for the film. I guess that is what this post from TOYDRUM’S blog last year was all about:

    Lastly, Billy Bob Thornton discussed the film on October 15, 2014, at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film & Television. This is really the most any member of the cast have said about it. If this doesn’t get you excited about the film, I don’t know what will!

    I just made a movie last year in London that’s gonna come out next year. 12 people are gonna see it, six of them won’t know what it means and the other six are gonna think it’s a masterpiece, which it is…I didn’t direct it, by the way, so don’t start thinking I’m saying I made a masterpiece. It’s called London Fields. It’s based on a Martin Amis book. I recently saw it with the director. It’s not all together yet but it’s brilliant. It’s like they used to make movies that were different. I mean if you want to say avant-garde, I suppose you could but it’s really more… It feels very contemporary and yet it feels like a movie like Blow-Up. You know, it’s terrific. It excited me to see it. It excited me to make it and every day it was hard. Every day was miserable on this movie and with the weather in London and we had no time and no money and it was a real, real hard movie to make. And I miss it. It’s almost like an abusive relationship or something. It’s like I wish I was back there making it again because it was so hard and yet we knew we were making something that the bloggers will destroy, a few of the critics in the papers and stuff like that are gonna love it. It’s gonna be a polarizing movie and the average… Like if you’re looking for a broad audience like the guy that runs a lawnmower shop out in Iowa or something, they won’t even know what it is. I mean, it could be is that a raccoon or a baseball bat? They won’t even know what it is.

    SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

    FAULT Magazine - Interview & Photoshoot

    April 22nd, 2015

    Fault Magazine has a new interview and photoshoot featured in issue #20.

    (Click images to enlarge:)

    FAULT’s exclusive shoot with Jim runs over 10 pages inside the issue (in addition to the reverse cover) and also includes the issue’s Men section cover.

    Jim was shot in the luxury Cheval Three Quays apartments overlooking London’s Tower Bridge. Photographed by Sarah Dunn and styled by Fashion Editor and Celebrity stylist Kristine Kilty, the shoot showcases Jim’s brooding yet playful style as he channels James Dean for this striking spread.

    In his interview Jim opens up to FAULT on how he coped with the big-budget box office flop Cloud Atlas, an excitingly ambitious yet commercially disappointing multi-role epic which he starred in along-side Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Jim also let’s us know what it’s like working on his upcoming blockbuster movie ‘Geostorm’ also starring Gerard Butler out later next year.

    A few interview questions can be found on their site - if ordering be sure your purchase is for issue 20, the ‘Faces of Fault’.

    More photos from this session with Sarah Dunn are in the gallery.

    ‘Close To The Enemy’ BBC2 Drama Announcement

    March 31st, 2015

    Wonderful news! A new six episode drama series from BBC2 starring Jim in the lead role was announced today.

    A brief production summary from Variety:

    Director-writer Stephen Poliakoff has started to shoot period drama series “Close to the Enemy,” which has been commissioned by the BBC and will be distributed by All3Media Intl.

    Jim Sturgess (“One Day”) heads the cast that includes Freddie Highmore (“Bates Motel”), Charlotte Riley (“Peaky Blinders”), Phoebe Fox (“Woman in Black 2”) and August Diehl (“Inglourious Basterds”).

    The six-part series, which is produced by Little Island Prods. in association with Endor Prods., is mainly set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of World War II.

    The series is written and directed by Poliakoff, who most recently helmed and wrote “Dancing on the Edge” for the BBC and Starz. It is produced by Helen Flint, and exec produced by Flint and Hilary Bevan Jones.

    It will film in and around Liverpool and London until summer 2015 and will air in 2016.

    The BBC Press Release includes the following plot information:

    Close To The Enemy follows intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson (Sturgess), whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter (Diehl), starts working for the British RAF on urgently developing the jet engine. With the background of the emerging Cold War, it is clear to all that it’s crucial for British national security that cutting-edge technology is made available to the armed forces as quickly as possible. Callum uses unorthodox methods in his attempt to convince Dieter to work with the British and eventually a friendship develops between the two men, but soon tensions arise as all is not as it seems.

    Over the course of the series, Callum encounters a number of other characters whose stories all intertwine. These characters include Victor (Highmore), Callum’s younger brother, struggling to deal with psychological trauma caused by his experience in the fighting; Harold (Molina), a Foreign Office official who reveals some startling truths about the outbreak of the war; Rachel (Riley), an enchanting Anglophile American engaged to his best friend; and Kathy (Fox), a tough young woman working for the War Crimes Unit, fighting to bring war criminals who escaped prosecution to justice. All these characters are trying to rebuild and move their lives forward in the aftermath of the war, a war that scarred them all so deeply.

    Producer Helen Flint, a long-time collaborator with Poliakoff on productions such as Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, says: “Close To The Enemy is set in the transitional period of 1946 - the brutal second World War is finally over but the destruction of families and cities permeates everyone’s lives. As the Cold War takes its hold in Europe and the public realisation that the atom bomb could be used by any government, our hero Callum (Jim Sturgess) passionately believes that to safeguard the future you mustn’t heed the past regardless of how terrible it has been. However, as the story unfolds, he finds that he is compelled to look backwards and eventually realises that you have to judge (for good or ill) those voluntarily or involuntarily involved in order to actually have a safer world.”

    ‘Icon’ Magazine - David Bailey Photoshoot

    March 27th, 2015

    The March issue of the Italian fashion magazine Icon has a wonderful feature on Jim. This is especially exciting considering renowned British photographer David Bailey did the photoshoot. Thinking back over all the the images we have of Jim, I think it is safe to say that this would be one of the most prestigious of all. Do a quick google seach on Bailey and you’ll probably recognize some of his work - most notably that 1965 session with Lennon & McCartney. Exciting times for us! Sadly, this magazine is too big to fit on my scanner. Hopefully we can find digital copies of the images soon. As you can see, there are two pages of text, but everything is in Italian! There seems to be a lot of talk about music in the beginning, and then some discussion on London Fields at the end, but several films and even Ennio Morricone are mentioned. If you are able to translate, please contact us! I highly recommend that you grab a physical copy of this for yourself - I purchased mine on eBay. The cover features Matthew McConaughey.

    There are good things happening here lately, as we have the UK release of Kidnapping Freddy Heineken and the US release of Electric Slide both in April. I also have another fashion magazine on the way featuring Jim called Fault. Stay in touch!

    (Click for even larger poor quality images)

    ‘Kidnapping Freddy Heineken’ UK Trailer - Super Ticket Info - Stills

    March 24th, 2015

    Thanks to our friends heyuguys.com we have the UK trailer, along with some information from them regarding the Super Ticket option:

    The release of Kidnapping Freddy Heineken marks the first time a film has been released in the UK using a Super Ticket. This is widely used for US releases, and means that if you buy a ticket to see the film at Empire Cinemas, you automatically receive a code to download the film for free from Wuaki.TV.

    There are more details at the end of the trailer - head on over to heyuguys.com to view it! Remember that the film releases on April 3rd in the UK!

    Meanwhile, here are some more stills. I have found stills from footage that didn’t make it into the film, plus there are bits in various video we have seen so far that was also cut. Once you see the film, enjoy spotting the extras! I have also read that the DVD release will include B-roll footage, so that will be a treat for us all. More details on DVD/Blu-Ray releases to come!

    Click to enlarge the blonde:

    ‘Kidnapping Mr. Heineken’ Opens Today!

    March 6th, 2015

    Today is the day! Kidnapping Mr. Heineken releases in the United States and other areas. Check your local theater listings and all major video on demand outlets. In the meantime, here are a couple of clips and a special photo to whet your appetite!!

    First, from comingsoon.net - the beginnings of the plan:

    From Coming Soon ‘There will be blood’ - a clip showing some tension between the kidnappers. Click the image to view.


    February 22nd, 2015

    Thanks to moviepilot and screenrelish, we have all sorts of new Electric Slide goodies to share with you! A new synopsis, poster, and stills come from Screenrelish, along with additional stills from Moviepilot.

    The film has an official twitter and facebook - so get ready for that April 3rd release in the United States!!

    Film Synopsis:

    Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, 21, One Day) plays Eddie Dodson, a Melrose Avenue antiques dealer who decided to become a bank robber. Dodson drove to the banks in a black ’63 Ford Galaxy LTD. He dressed up like an elegant criminal. He made mix tapes to listen to on his getaways. And in only nine months, Eddie robbed 64 banks – more than anyone has robbed before or since.

    Taking its aesthetic cues from Eddie Dodson and the unique moment he occupied in L.A.’s countercultural history, director Tristan Patterson has forgone the style of straight-ahead biopics to create a New Wave dream of a romantic outlaw seeking self-reinvention and immortality in paradise.

    A Polaroid snapshot of 1983 Los Angeles and a love letter to a man who decided to quit reality to live full-time in the Hollywood movie of his dreams, the film features an appropriate and electric mix of tunes from the likes of Iggy Pop, Magazine and the Psychedelic Furs.

    (Click images to enlarge)

    There are more new stills in the gallery


    February 21st, 2015

    We have our first clip from Kidnapping Mr. Heineken thanks to IGN. This is a great clip featuring Jim as kidnapper Cor Van Hout, and Anthony Hopkins as Freddy Heineken. Check it out!




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