What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

North East thriller Bypass finishes filming after nine weeks

A grateful message was posted on Facebook at the weekend by the people at Newcastle based production company Third Films

A scene from the film Bypass which was filmed in the North East
A scene from the film Bypass which was filmed in the North East

A grateful message was posted on Facebook at the weekend by the people at Newcastle based production company Third Films.

“After nine weeks of shooting Bypass has now wrapped. Many thanks to the extraordinarily talented cast and crew who made it happen.”

Bypass is the latest film by writer and director Duane Hopkins and producer Samm Haillay. It was shot at various North East locations and at various times of day and night.

The pair hope Bypass, featuring professional and first-time actors, will be finished next year after post-production work.

Hopkins and Haillay have been influential figures in North East film-making since the start of the century.

In 2001 we reported that their short film, Field, had won the top prize at the Chicago Film Festival.

It was set in the contemporary Cotswolds, where Hopkins grew up. He came to the North East to study film-making at Northumbria University which is where he met Haillay, originally from Swindon.

In 2004 Duane won the inaugural new talent prize at the Cannes Film Festival, worth £33,000, for a feature-length screenplay called Better Things, also inspired by life in the Cotswolds. The film was released in 2008.

Third Films, based in Byker, won a £50,000 award from the British Film Institute to help with the making of the latest film, which though shot in the North East is set in an unspecified location.

Sam Haillay said it was the company’s highest profile film so far and had attracted funding from four countries.

“This story is British yet can appeal universally,” he said.

“The economy, politics and how market forces drive politics are universal threads and themes.”

For the precise plot we might have to wait for the cinema release but in a break from shooting Samm said: “The story began with us asking the question: Is morality a luxury?

“If you are fortunate enough to have human morals, but those you run with are not so burdened, how far will you go to protect those you love?

“It’s a thriller, but very much concerned with the interior world rather than the external world.”

The leading part of Tim is played by 21-year-old George Mackay – known for playing the lead in the film Private Peaceful – who lost two stone in weight to fulfil the demands of his character.

His grandad is played by Donald Sumpter who appeared in Game of Thrones.

Samm Haillay was talking at one of the key locations, a flat in Osborne Villas, a sheltered housing development in Jesmond run by social landlord Isos, which was turned into the home of Donald Sumpter’s character.

Samm said: “The grandad character represents how the working class performed a function for society – what they brought to society, which in many ways has been eroded over time.

“You could say the story is about the legacy left for Thatcher’s grandchildren.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer