With only enough money to get the last bus home, a man is pursued by a beggar who wants some spare change.
A nightmarish-thriller written & directed by Daniel Harding, and stars Neil James and Steve Larkin with music composed by Gus Nicholson.
Two Pound Forty Pence was filmed in early 2016 and released online in October, and marks the eighth short film produced by 23½ Films.
The first draft of the script was completed in March 2013 but filming was postponed till later in the year – after Daniel realised the production needed the evenings to be darker for longer. The project failed to materialise again, and Daniel went on to make Loop.
Daniel then made several more short films from newer scripts and Two Pound Forty Pence was somewhat forgotten about until he had finished filming The Missing Hand in 2015, and was looking for an idea to shoot later on in the year. Daniel started working on the script again, and went about casting the project. Neil, who has worked with Daniel numerous times, was originally cast back in 2013 and was happy to retain his role.
Steve, again who was worked with Daniel on Cupid and Killer Bird, accepted the role of The Beggar and filming was scheduled for early November. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad and the production was once again postponed. Daniel subsequently went on to make Toast with Neil during this period.
The project was picked up once again in early 2016, and filming was completely in late February. Daniel was still in the middle of completing some of his previous projects, so post-production didn’t start until June, in which case, it then took several more months to edit. Gus, who composed the music for Toast, also produced the score for this film.
MEET THE CAST
Q&A WITH ACTOR NEIL JAMES
This is your fifth collaboration with Daniel, how did this project come about? Daniel and I actually first got in touch due to this project. It was back in 2013 and I applied to play the role of The Beggar originally. I think I was on tour at the time (doing a play with Cara Fraser, who went on to appear in That’s Not Me – small world) and for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. But I stayed in touch with Daniel and a year later he cast me in Cupid. In 2015, Daniel told me he still wanted to make Two Pound Forty Pence and had polished the script. I read it, loved it and he offered me the role of Stephen.
How would you describe Two Pound Forty Pence? Trippy, freaky and unsettling. I think it’s the nearest Daniel has come to horror. It feels like a companion piece to 23½ Films’ first short, Loop.
What was the shoot like and how would you compare it to other short films you’ve worked on? The shoot felt like an adventure mission. Driving around Brighton & Hove in the dark, parking up and shooting scenes. I’d worked many times with Steve (The Beggar) and Amber (make-up) so it was a fun shoot. On some jobs when I don’t know the cast and crew, it can take a while to suss out out how everyone works and you have to adapt to a degree to make the shoot as smooth as possible. Steve and I like each other and we like each other’s acting so it’s always fantastic when we get cast together. We never get bored of insulting each other in the most juvenile ways possible. The hardest thing was to stay focused as a team and not just go to the pub.
What would you do if a beggar actually kept following you? Is The Beggar female? Fit? Seriously, I’d probably call a taxi!
Why on earth do you keep working with Daniel? Haha. He’s got dirt on me! But other than that, I love his scripts, I admire his work ethic and I believe in him.
Q&A WITH ACTOR STEVE LARKIN
Can you give a brief overview of your acting career? I studied acting at college and got a diploma in performing arts. I decided not to go to university and had a little break. I then got involved in a few productions at the young Vic theatre in London and down in Brighton at the new venture theatre to get the ball rolling again and to feel comfortable with performing again. Since then have got involved with working with directors for films, music videos and commercial. I have a good agent at RSM Cherry Parker Management. The team there are really supportive and are getting me upto London and up north for auditions and that has led to work and making contacts. Feel blessed to have their support.
How did this project come about for you? I have worked with Daniel on two projects before (Cupid and Killer Bird). I’m Always hassling him to work with him again as I really enjoy working with him and his vision for what he creates. He gave me a shout a while back now about this new idea and I thought it sounded great.
How would you describe your character and what decisions did you make playing him? It’s a hard one. I have actually worked with supporting homeless people for the last 9 years now through work. I did think it over a bit as I didn’t want to get something like that wrong. Me and Dan went for a drink and discussed how he wanted me to play the character and what his idea was for the role and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I liked his vision. Plus he said I would be following Neil James around all day making him uncomfortable, how could I say no?! That was fun to do.
This is your third collaboration with Daniel, how would you describe working with him? Daniel’s ideas to me are different and he always puts something out there with something underneath the dialogue and the film. I love that. He is very direct and tells you what he wants. That is good for me as an actor. We always meet for meetings before to have a good chat about ideas for the character and he welcomes ideas. It is always a pleasure working with him.
What are your hopes for the film? I hope people enjoy it and I hope a lot of people get to see it. I hope people get to see what a great actor Neil is. I have worked with Neil on quite a lot of projects and he’s brilliant. We had soo much fun making it. Also exciting to hear the feedback of everyone too.
“Shot entirely outside, playing with the glow of urban night lighting and the dark patches that lurk around every corner, it looks fantastic and plays in to that primal fear we all have of being followed home at night.”
“Simply oozing the patented satirical/dramatic humor Harding’s films tend to showcase, the narrative additionally delivers a fantastically orchestrated play on the query The Beggar asks throughout the proceedings, leading to an excellent finale that drives home the primary intent with heady precision and thought-provoking punch.”