We as Americans, love the comedies of our home country, England. In recent years, many films from across the pond have found success in America. Films like Love Actually, Bridget Jones and Notting Hill have all enjoyed success with audiences in the U.K. as well as here in the states. Is it our love of their dry humor and accents? Or is it our love for that oh so dashing Hugh Grant that these movies are hits here? I can’t be certain, but besides the Hugh Grant factor, these movies share another common trait. All of them have been written by writer/director Richard Curtis.
Pirate Radio is set in 1966 Britain, when the BBC was only playing a few hours a week of any form of music. As we all know, the kids of the 60s would not stand for this. They wanted their rock music played constantly. In the movie, this is exactly what they get, as a band of rebel DJ’s begin broadcasting rock n’ roll music twenty four hours a day. They are broadcasting this music from a ship off the British coast in international waters. The British government doesn’t take too kindly to the idea of these “pirates” defying their rules, and begins to try and shut the pirate radio station down.
The cast for Pirate Radio is a who’s who of British actors, that includes Bill Nighy (Underworld), Rhys Ifans (Enduring Love), Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) and Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee). The movie also stars Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt). This film has a top notch cast, every actor in this is watchable in just about everything they are in. For me, this is especially true of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I’ve been a huge fan of since seeing him in Boogie Nights.
The film’s director, Richard Curtis came to prominence after he received an Oscar nod for writing the screenplay for 1994′s massive hit Four Weddings and a Funeral. Since then, Curtis has written a number of hit British comedies, mostly of the romantic variety. Pirate Radio marks his second film as writer/director after 2003′s Love Actually.
This movie was already released in the U.K. on April 1st. It was due for release in U.S. Theaters on August 28th, but has switched distributors from Universal to Focus Features, which handles its smaller independent releases. The film hasn’t fared as well as Curtis’ other films, the budget for Pirate Radio was around $50 million, and so far it has only taken in about half of that internationally. The title was also changed from The Boat That Rocked in the U.K. to Pirate Radio in the U.S.
With the films release date change and a distributor switch, there is also talk of the studio trimming about 20 minutes from the films run time. All of this seems to spell trouble for the film, but it looks like a very fun comedy that boasts a lot of great acting talent and a psychedelic soundtrack of 60s pop hits.
You can tune into Pirate Radio on November 13th. The trailer is here for your viewing pleasure.