It was revealed this week that Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch would be starring in the upcoming film Gypsy Boy, based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by Mikey Walsh.
Two-time BAFTA Award-wining director Morgan Matthews will take to the director’s chair for the flick, with producers Dee Koppang O’Leary and Kevin Loader working on the production, which is currently slated for a summer 2018 release.
Notorious within the Romany Gypsy’s final generation, the Walsh family were known for their ability to fight, with the sport of boxing embedded within not only their tradition, but that of the Gypsy lifestyle. To fight for one’s name and honour was seen as something that each male of the family would be a part of.
Cumberbatch will play Mikey Walsh’s father Frank in the movie; a man who places a golden pair of gloves on a chain around the neck of his son, in the hopes that he’ll be able to maintain the family’s fighting reputation. As an infant however, Mikey’s already displaying noticeable differences to his relatives, which leads to frustration and anger for his father.
In his teen years, Mikey has to make the decision of whether to remain with his family and to keep on fighting, or to leave and never return.
O’Leary said of the film: “I’ve known Mikey since we were teenagers, and I was instantly fascinated by his life story. Mikey and I have been developing this film together with BBC Films for the last few years. Mikey is an incredible writer and a wonderful living and breathing source of material – we can’t wait to tell his inspirational, sincere and heartfelt story. As my first feature film, I’m delighted to and very proud to help bring Gypsy Boy to life on the big screen.”
Director Matthews added: “I fell in love with this story as soon as I heard Mikey speaking about his childhood on the radio a few years ago. Mikey’s extraordinary life touches upon the universal subjects of identity, love, conflict, courage and sacrifice – set within a brutal and extreme yet paradoxically beautiful and intoxicating hidden world. I’m so excited to have Benedict on board – it’s a dream to be able to work with him.”
Speaking about his role, Cumberbatch explained: “I was immediately drawn to Mikey’s courageous and heart-breaking story. And his father Frank is unlike any character I’ve played before. He’s a complex man torn between tradition and his love for a son struggling to come to terms with an identity that’s completely at odds with Frank and his culture. It’s a tension that threatens to tear everyone in their family and that community apart.”
We’ll bring you more news on the production of Gypsy Boy as and when we get it.
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