BURKE AND HARE (CINEMA)
Release Date: Oct 29th, 2010
Running Time: 91 minutes
Director: John Landis
Screenplay by: Nick Moorcroft and Piers Ashworth
Cast: Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Isla Fisher, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Jenny Agutter, Stephen Merchant, Hugh Bonneville, Georgia King, David Schofield, Jessica Hynes, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Whitehouse and Christopher Lee
Nick Moorcroft and writing partner Piers Ashworth have written almost a dozen screenplays together. Their latest one, Burke And Hare, has made it to the big screen, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Isla Fisher and directed by the legendary John Landis. The movie had its world premiere right here in London earlier this week and I got to meet Moorcroft for a chat about how the story came together.
Moorcroft, who won a scholarship to study acting at The Webber Douglas Academy Of Dramatic Art in London, graduated in 2000, wrote the film on spec together with Ashworth and sold it to the head of Ealing Studios, Barnaby Thompson. It’s based on the true life case of Burke and Hare, two 19th Century mass murderers who killed 16 people and sold their bodies to a medical researcher in Edinburgh. This will be the 8th time their story has been told in film, but it’s the first time they are portrayed as likeable characters with heavy dozes of comedy to lighten the mood.
Patrick: How did the idea come about to write something based on these two guys?
Moorcroft: It’s a remarkable story. A family member died leaving a little bit of money so the film started with death! With that, we went to Edinburgh on a holiday and went on a ghost tour and they told us the story of Burke and Hare. We thought that it would make a fantastic film!
Patrick: What was the research process like?
Moorcroft: I think the most important thing was that we took a solid truth and we looked for the elements of comedy and took liberties with the story but in essence the story is true.
Patrick: One of the biggest challenges the story faces is turning two mass murderers into a pair of likeable leads, how did you go about this?
NICK MOORCROFT WRITING CREDITS
With Piers Ashworth (as writing team)
Produced Feature Films:
2010 BURKE AND HARE
2009 ST TRINIAN’S 2
2007 ST TRINIAN’S
Feature Films in development:
2010 A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN
2010 FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS
2010 TREASURE ISLAND
2010 ST TRINIAN’S 3
2009 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
2005 THE CHEMIST
2008 MAXIMUM SECURITY
2007 DICK TURPIN
2010 MY BRIEF CAREER
2006 RIOT GIRL
2004 HOW TO PICK UP GIRLS
Moorcroft: The interesting thing is the moral quandary; who is the bad guy? Is it the doctors or is it the killers themselves? The doctors were certainly promoting their illicit trade in order to be able to benefit the medical profession. So that’s kind of the irony in the piece. Was the establishment the bad guy or was William Burke and William Hare the bad guy?
Patrick: Are there are other serial killer stories you’d like to see a black comedy made out of?
Moorcroft: Yeah! I mean Man Bites Dog is one of our favourite films and that’s a great film about a serial killer. It’s a tough job finding empathy for people committing a heinous crime but I suppose that’s the challenge as a writer.
Burke and Hare is released in cinemas from Friday 29th October 2010 and we will have a review for you, along with more interviews with the cast. Do also check out our exclusive interview with director John Landis.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .