When JMM met 007…


Cigarette Girl director JMM is still in a state of post-Connery shock, while producer Adam Hoenberg just looks dazed.

Very possibly the unlikely exchange of the year took place at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Sunday 19 June:

The setting: A gala screening of John Huston’s classic, The Man Who Would Be King

Cast: Memphis-based director John Michael McCarthy (JMM) and Sir Sean Connery

The script:

JMM: “Hi, I’m Mike McCarthy from Memphis, Tennessee, and I’m here to show my new film, Cigarette Girl.”

Connery: “What’s it about?”

JMM: “It’s about a girl who gives up smoking and, three days later, she starts killing people.”

Connery: “She gives up smoking?”

[Slow dissolve]

Cigarette Girl, previously blogged about on welovecreative, enjoyed a sold-out screening in the largest cinema at EIFF’s HQ, the Filmhouse, on Tuesday 22 June. Some 250 souls, including Next Big Thing head honcho Lindsay Hutton and reps from the Glasgow Film Festival, were knocked sideways by JMM’s slice of dystopian noir. Here’s Lindsay’s view:

“Last night’s “Cigarette Girl” screening was totally sold out and it’s a testament to the film that nobody left the sweltering theatre. You’ve possibly had a look at the trailer and you might be thinking, yeah – they always throw the best bits into those. Mike McCarthy’s shot at the next level has much to commend it over and above the obvious charisma of its star Cori Dials. The composition of the frames is a refreshing shake up of the recent tired trick of bringing comic book aesthetics to the screen. It looks at least three miles better than all these effects that dampen action back to 2D in order to snare in the geeks.”

“There’s something quaintly old fashioned about this that cuts a little deeper than the Tarantino gloss and bluster. In terms of result versus money spent, this is a triumph pure and simple. There’s a possibility that it’ll become a graphic novel, overturning the usual route of trying to drag such a thing from the printed page to live action. Ultimately most might end up seeing this on DVD but I urge you to try and see it on a big screen. “Cigarette Girl” is blessed with a skewed vision of good old fashioned noir with a pneumatic heroine that channels her decision to stop puffing into making her demons work for her. A morality tale with much to commend it, I hope this sets up the director with a chance to tell the many other stories that are hammering at his noggin, looking for a way out.”

It’s hoped that a mooted US distribution deal will see Cigarette Girl mania sweep the globe’s grindhouses over the next year, and earn it a prestigious slot at the Glasgow Film Festival. Stay tuned for more news…

Brucie bonus: Which came first? Edinburgh street scene, June 2010.

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