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Pub regulars go from pork scratchings to Piggy film fame
Regulars and bar staff in a Mottingham pub probably thought they’d become film stars when pigs sprout wings and learn to fly.
And in a sense, they’d have been right.
Thanks to the incredible talent of one filmmaker and his crew, low budget movie Piggy – filmed partly in The Prince of Wales – has soared to success, putting this boozer and its customers on the map.
After enjoying a greatly successful cinema premiere earlier this month, the brutal and gritty yet “dreamy” revenge film was released on DVD on Monday.
Filmed around North Kent, Mottingham and London, Piggy is the brainchild of Kieron Hawkes, 34, and was produced by former tiler Danny Potts, 39.
Vibe caught up with the up-and-coming duo this week.
“I didn’t expect it to be in the cinema at all – it’s my first film and we made it for nothing, but I don’t think the movie looks like that.” Kieron said.
“The film is about a young guy called Joe who’s a bit of a recluse, scared of the world, of modern-day London.
“His brother’s been away, comes back and he’s his only place of solace – the only person he really speaks to.
“His brother gets murdered in a really pointless pub argument that escalates as they do.”
Piggy, an old friend of Joe’s brother, visits Joe a few days later and the two strike up a friendship leading to “chaos and disaster.”
He manipulates Joe into believing revenge is the only way forward.
“They start stalking the people who did it.” Kieron added.
“It’s not a simple figment of imagination, there’s no Fight Club reveal – but it definitely plays with the idea of what’s real and what’s not.”
Kieron was able to attract an impressive list of British actors to join the cast of Piggy including Martin Compston and Paul Anderson.
The Prince of Wales features during the argument scenes which lead to Joe’s brother’s murder.
Kieron added: ““It was really good fun - the pub was great.
“A lot of the regulars were in the background.
“Some of the bar staff in the film were actual bar staff from the pub – with low budget filmmaking you need everyone’s help as much as possible.
“I think it’s fantastic for the community, filmmaking is exciting to be around.
“People on the estate were coming out to look when we were shooting – it’s a little bit of magic.”
Piggy is the first film Kieron has written and directed, although this isn’t for want of trying.
He added: “It’s not a film I would have written had I got other scripts produced.
“I tend to write more art house stuff but I couldn’t get anything funded, I tried for many years.
“So I stood back, looked at films being made and realised they were violent ones.
“Like Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows) it’s a revenge movie but Piggy is much more stylistic.
“British films tend to be more kitchen-sinky and grounded in reality which is fantastic but people like Shane Meadows already doing it amazingly.
“Piggy is more stylised, less grounded.
“It’s still gritty but it’s almost like a dream.”
Danny, from Mottingham, instantly fell in love with the script and teamed up with Leo Pearlman from Fulwell 73 productions to produce the movie.
“It means absolutely everything to me.” Kieron continued.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was a child as far as I can remember.
“They had the faith in me and gave me carte blanche.
“It was an absolute dream come true – incredible.”
Piggy is available on DVD at HMV, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
Follow the film on Twitter @PiggyTheFilm
Interview with producer Danny Potts
Tell me about your role as a producer, what does it entail? My role as producer was, firstly, to raise enough money so we could make Piggy, then basically beg, borrow and negotiate my way around.
Finding free or cheap locations was tough as our budget was fairly low.
It was a challenge but we managed to pull it off.
What drew you to the film Piggy?
I worked with Kieron on my last film Turnout which he edited. I saw how much he wanted to write and direct his own film.
He sent me Piggy which instantly I loved and agreed to make it for him.
How come you went from being a tiler to a film producer?
I had no intentions of ever producing films, it all happened by chance.
A good friend of ours Neil Maskell had written a short film which I said I would fund it for him.
While filming I meet George Russo who was playing the lead.
He gave me a script he had co-wrote called Turnout which we made on a shoestring in south east and east London.
It was there I met Leo Pearlman from Fulwell 73 productions who I teamed up with to make Piggy. We’re now looking at making another one, on a larger scale this year, called Drawing Dead - a poker based film with a great twist.
What do you like about the job?
For me it's about the planning and organising behind the scenes.
You would never know how much hard work and time goes into it.
Also it's something I never dreamed of doing and certainly beats putting tiles on the walls of building sites.
Tell me about the ups and downs of producing Piggy – were there any memorable/funny moments?
I loved producing Piggy but obviously problems do arise which we have to sort out on a daily basis like a sudden turn of bad weather, have we enough time on the days schedule, having locations cancel on the day of filming etc.
It's these kind of problems which are out of our control and the exciting part of doing this job is working out, under intense pressure, how we resolve them.
And of course seeing the finished film for the first time is definitely a day to remember.
Tell me about the local places you filmed, which scenes did you film in Mottingham? What was going on in the scenes? Were people crowding around to watch or were people from the community involved in the scenes?
We filmed in the Prince of Wales on Mottingham Road and on the estate to the back of the pub, the funny thing is that the pub in the day is normally dead and that’s one of the reasons we decided to use it as a location but once people knew about us filming there it was busy.
In one way this helped us as we needed loads of extras but in another way it didn’t help as the pub remained open to the regulars and after 12 hours filming for the day you can imagine one or two people may have had too much to drink for the film to be their priority.
What are your hopes for the future?
We are currently working on our next film, Drawing Dead, a poker based thriller written by Kieron and Gabe Turner.
I am busy raising funds for that which is due to shoot in September. After that who knows?
That’s another reason I love this job, you don’t know what’s coming next. As long as I’m making films I’m happy.
Do you think this project could put the area on the map? If so, what do you think it would mean to the area?
More than anything I hope the film draws attention to the creative talent that exists in this area.
The centre of London is so close but seems a long way away to a lot of young people with ability but few opportunities who live in the suburbs.
I want to try and make people who work at the hub of the business see what they have to offer.