Dog Day Afternoon

Tuesday, May 27 2014
Dog Day Afternoon

Dougie Brimson, football hooligan turned novelist, strolls onto the stage at the front of the screen at the viewing theatre in Universal’s swish West End offices.

Bestselling author Brimson is introducing what effectively is his second foray into the world of film in front of an audience of assorted jnournalists such as The Raygun.

While he has a hefty selection of books on his CV, there’s a gap of more than a decade between his latest film, Top Dog, due from Universal on May 26, and his debut flick, Green Street.

While the film, and its subsequent sequels, are recognised across the industry as being hugely commercial enterprises, for Brimson, as he relates, it wasn’t such a happy experience.

“It was a bit of a nightmare, for lots of reasons,” he explains, “I got out of screenwriting and back into books.”

Can he, one of the audience asks, elaborate further? He talks of rewrites he was asked to do and problems with director Lexi Alexanders and, before he knew it: “I got a got a phone call saying don’t come back. I was banned from the set, banned from the premiere, banned from pretty much everything.

“Me and the director had a difference of opinion,” he smiles. I thought she was an arsehole. It’s a shame, she’s very talented.”

So what tempted him back into film? Well, a meeting with Leo Gregory, now the star of Top Dog, was the catalyst. He told him about his nightmare with Green Street, they discussed Top Dog and Gregory told him he “needed to meet this guy Jonathan Sothcott”. Prolific producer Sothcott, a regular Raygun reader is the man behind a raft of home entertainment hits, his most recent being Vendetta.

Brimson prepared a draft, and, as he says: “I did it in late 2011, Jonathan loved the idea from the outset, he read it in one hit on Boxing Day.

“I wrote the script, he said ‘let’s get it made’ and here we are. It’s as simple as that.”

Brimson praises those involved (“we were fortunate in having an outstanding cast”) but reserves most for director Martin Kemp: “He was our ace in the hole.”

He has yet to see the film, but is pleased with the parts he has viewed. “The film is quite different from the book,” he notes. “From what I’ve seen, pretty shit hot. It was a great cast and a great crew.”

It was, he adds, such a pleasurable experience he’s already repeating it: “I’ve got a movie filming as we speak. Jonathan is producing the one we’re doing at the minute, it’s a totally different experience. Top Dog was such a blast to do. There’s no tension, no egos.

“I’m a novelist,” he concludes, “I don’t even know how I’m getting away with being a novelist. I can bang out a bloody good first draft [of a script]. And I get to do stuff like this which is nice.”

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