With bare-knuckle biopic King Of The Gypsies still tangled in legal small print, Shane Meadows has plenty to keep him busy - starting with Le Donk, his Dogme-style feature-length collaboration with old mucker Paddy Considine.
Meadows took time out at the Jameson Empire Awards to enthuse about what he describes as his first 'balls-out comedy'. "Paddy plays a roadie for the Arctic Monkeys and he takes this retired rapper from Nottingham, Scorsese, on tour with him in the hope of launching his career. Paddy’s a rocker who’s always wearing a beanie and Scorsese’s this big, 17 stone white rapper who’s converted to Islam. They’re a brilliant comedy double act - it's like Spinal Tap on the road. If people like the film, the two of them may go on tour."
Made in five days for just £30,000, Le Donk is the first in what Meadows hopes will be a wave of five-day features designed to encourage first-time filmmakers. He describes the five day concept as inspired by Dogme but a bit lighter on the super-strict rules. "I thought Dogme was very limiting. The only rule with five-day features is that you have to make them in five days: if you want to spend £10 million or a penny that’s fine; if you want to use lights, if you want to make Star Wars or a kitchen sink drama, that’s fine."
So if you're a Gone In Sixty Seconds alumnus looking for your next project, this could be for you, with Meadows promising to give his seal of approval - and possibly funding - to films made in the right spirit.
But where does this leave King Of The Gypsies, Meadows' long-term project to bring bare-knuckle champion Bartley Gorman to the screen? “We found out that someone else had a stake in it, so we’ve spent the last seven months unpicking that." King Of The Gypsies is still very much on the slate, but is third on the list and Meadows say it will follow another, as yet-untitled and much darker project. "This [source] book is the most frightening thing I’ve ever read. I can't talk too much about it because I'm negotiating for the rights, but if people thought Dead Man's Shoes was scary, this makes it look like Play School," he said (obviously forgetting the episode where Big Ted beat Humpty to death with a hammer).
More on this project, five-minute films and King Of The Gypsies as we get it.
Le Donk debuts at the Edinburgh Festival in June.