Last week, Bleeding Cool scooped the news that the current UK film The Nan Movie written by and starring Catherine Tate was missing a director credit, suggesting that something seriously weird had gone down during production. My review of the movie pointed out how it was a film of two halves, with a thoughtful, beautifully shot period piece set in London during the war, told in flashback. But that it was marred by the other half of the film, a great, dull-looking road trip from London to Ireland filled with boring, tedious irrelevant distractions that hurt the brain. And that some post-production editing seemed to have been employed to bring it to the screen. It's not every day that your gut feeling and presumptions are 100% bang on the money, but it seems that it was even worse than I presumed.
I've been informed by UK film people in the know that The Nan Movie's original director Jessica Rourke filmed a thoughtful period piece with jokes, written by Catherine Tate and Brett Goldstein, the majority of the film was set in 1940s London, as could be seen in the onset photos, now deleted, that she posted to Instagram. But that, on the delivery of the film in 2019, someone panicked as the film was seen as too far from the original sketches from twenty years ago. This was partially the point, taking a caricature of a monster and finding the heart, the reasons, the journey taken, and that everyone has a past that informs the way they are now, however horrible. It was an exercise in dramatic empathy. But maybe not what the investors wanted for The Nan Movie.
And so, the wartime period scenes were cut right back. The majority of the road trip, now taking up most of The Nan Movie, were then written and filmed on the cheap without Rourke. The animation sequences were then added when the reshoot budget couldn't stretch to all that was deemed necessary, which meant re-recording part of the soundtrack to add an early reference to Jamie being an amateur animator to try and justify it.
What does this mean? Well, somewhere, the original The Nan Movie film exists. Maybe we could call it The Rourke Cut. And it could deliver a far more satisfying, emotionally rich, beautifully shot cinematic experience that might even have an appeal beyond the shores of the UK. At least certainly in comparison to the travesty that hit the screen this weekend. Does anyone want to start a petition? I understand that the studio Warner Bros. might be susceptible to that kind of thing.
The current version of The Nan Movie is in cinemas in the UK and Ireland, now.