When called upon directorial duties for Mike Bassett; England Manager, Irish filmmaker Steve Barron had already established himself as a successful director in the UK and Hollywood in film, television and music videos. Barron's body of work includes the first cinematic adventure for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and Adventures of Pinocchio, as well as the Merlin television series starring Sam Neil and Miranda Richardson. In the emerging world of music videos in the 80s Barron directed such giant names that are a veritable line up of 80s musical talent including Human League, Aha with their most famous video Take on Me, and the King of Pop himself the late Michael Jackson in Billie Jean. After working in Hollywood on a number of music video compilations as well as feature films such as Coneheads, Barron teamed up with television writers Rob Sprackling and John R Smith in 2000 for Mike Bassett; England Manager. Taking the form of a mockumentary starring The Royle Family's Ricky Tomlinson in the title role. Bassett became a cinematic favourite for film and football fans alike with his questionable training methods and x-rated no holds barred pep talks.
The film was a success and Bassett became a household name with a television series created by the film's writers. The series ran for four episodes after which Sprackling and Smith continued working in television then going onto write the script for a very different take on a Shakespeare classic in Gnomeo and Juliette. Barron meanwhile went onto work on pop video compilations for Culture Club and Michael Jackson as well as directing The Road Ahead starring Sean Pertwee and Treasure Island starring Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver. Now the three have reunited along with principle cast members for the continuing saga of everyone's favourite football manager.
Mike Bassett; Interim Manager will see Ricky Tomlinson return as the hapless but loveable football manager. However things have taken a downward turn for Bassett following a series of poor career choices. Bassett ends up managing the Iranian national football team hired due to being mistaken for Harry Redknapp. England soon comes calling when their German manager leaves for another job and so the team turns in desperation to their former leader in the hopes of steering them to World Cup glory. As well as Tomlinson, the film will also see the return of Bradley Walsh as his friend and assistant manager Dave "Doddsy" Dodds and Amanda Redman as Karine, Mike Bassett's long suffering wife. Filming is scheduled to begin in March 2015 with the aim of securing a cinema release for early the following year.
It was an easy decision for me to play Mike again. Who wouldn't want to be England manager without all the stress of actually having the job? Whenever I speak to football fans there's such affection for Bassett that it's hard to ignore the demand. The Kickstarter element is a brilliant way of getting people involved in the film. It's a football film for football fans so it's great to recreate the same collectiveness you see on the terraces in a movie. - Ricky Tomlinson
Since the release of the first film and its subsequent television incarnation, Mike Bassett has taken on a cult status amongst football fans and is perhaps the most popular England manager, despite being a fictional creation. However securing the necessary funding presented a challenge since some sources, such as the UK Film Council, are no longer available.Producer Leo Pearlman and Barron embarked on this Kickstarter campaign looking to raise £250,000 to meet the film's budgetary demands. Bassett fans can now be part of bringing this beloved character back the big screen by donating to the crowdfiunding campaign through Kickstarter. For as little as a £5 donation fans will receive a special audio thank you from Mike Bassett himself. Other rewards featured, a digital download, DVD and Blu-Ray copy of the finished film, exclusive merchandise, set visits, along with preview screenings and a chance to attend the film's red carpet premier. You could even be an extra in the film. For high end donors a small or medium business can have its pitch side logo, or you can have an associate producer credit and even be listed on IMDB.
It's the passion of the fans that convinced us a Bassett return is welcome and that's why we're looking to create a film that is partially fan-funded via Kickstarter. It's innovative fundraising and enables us to create a film for football fans, made by football fans. - Steve Barron, DirectorThe target of £250,000 must be met before the campaign's deadline of 21st November 2014. To date £75,000 has been collected, and of the backers seven secured the much coveted speaking part in the film having donated £5,000 each for the opportunity. For more details about the campaign and to help be a part of football's favourite manager's comeback in Mike Bassett; Interim Manager visit the the project's Kickstarter page.