RE-INVENTING EDDIE is based on the critically acclaimed West End play One Fine Day by Dennis Lumborg. One Fine Day was nominated for the 1995 Writer’s Guild Award for Best Regional Theatre Play, short listed for the 1996 Arts Council John Whiting Award.
Lumborg worked for many years in special needs in Cheshire. He was inspired to write the play having witnessed the growing constraints and regulations placed upon teachers and the present threat of false accusation.
The play, a one-man show starring Joe McGann was originally performed at the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool thanks to the support of Willy Russell and transferred immediately to the Albery Theatre.
When the producers approached me about the film adaptation, I was at first sceptical because of this origin - screenplays are notoriously difficult to adapt from the stage! (Besides - there was already a Clooney/Kidman feature called ‘One Fine Day’!).
However, after reading the published version of the text and seeing the staged version, I agreed that a successful ‘opening up’ of the play could be achieved for a simple reason - it was a one man monologue. In real terms – settings, characters and the story existed in the imagination of the sole character - Eddie Harris. What we had to do was illustrate all that he was telling us.
We met with Dennis and discussed where the idea for the narrative had come from and like most writers, was guarded about his muse. What became apparent was that the play had not been written in a vacuum – he was a teacher and resting social worker.
The film adheres closely to the blueprint of the original monologue. It features the main themes of post-war British cinema – sex, class and realism. It is deliberately shot in scope to take small characters and place them in a big setting (we normally only get Cruise, Crowe, Clooney and Kidman in scope).
It was set and shot in The North West of England (of which I am native) and features a brief escape to the North Wales Riviera. The backdrops to the characters and events are the giant, incendiary chemical plants of the Wirral and the impotent sludge of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Despite all this – there are comedic moments.