Film and Music Entertainment and Lumina Films Announce Shooting Begins on White Lightnin’ a collaboration with the UK Film Council and Vice Films of New York

// 23rd of November, 2007
Shooting has just got underway on White Lightnin’ - the feature film debut of leading international commercials director Dominic Murphy. The film was developed by Film and Music Entertainment and Vice Films, and is being produced by Mike Downey and Samantha Taylor for Valley Films/Mountain Productions, their UK producing co-venture with Vice Films.

Supported by the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and picked up for UK distribution by Momentum, the film is being sold worldwide by Lumina Films and stars newcomer Ed Hogg in the role of legendary Appalachian mountain dancer Jesco White. Co-starring are Carrie Fisher in the role of Jesco’s wife, Priscilla and Muse Watson (Prison Break) as his father the legendary mountain dancer DRay White.

Written by Vice Magazine founders Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti and co-produced in association with Vice Films, Lumina and Mainframe, White Lightnin’ tells the story of charismatic mountain dancer Jesco White and his uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability. In his struggle to live up to his father’s legacy as the finest mountain dancer in Appalachia and beyond, he leans on memories of his father (D. Ray White), Elvis Presley, Jesus, and Norma Jean (aka Priscilla).

"Despite the brutality of his experience," says F&ME managing director and producer Mike Downey, "Jesco’s humour survives and his charisma pervades throughout the film. In a surreal world where life is cheap, the insanity of Jesco’s behaviour makes total sense. Dominic Murphy is one of the leading contemporary British directors of commercials and his take on the life of Jesco is not only visually thrilling but also narratively compelling. The casting of Ed Hogg and Carrie Fisher opposite each other is totally inspired."

US casting was handled in Los Angeles via Baddely/Davis casting the people responsible for Being John Malkovich, Little Miss Sunshine, and Gary the Tennis Coach whilst Wildman Hall handled European casting. Other cast include Wallace Merck (Glory Road) as Hudd, Clay Steakly (I Walk The Line) as Reilly and Stephanie Astalos Jones (The Neon Bible) as Jesco’s mother Birty-Mae White.

"This has got to be one of the craziest but coolest projects I have ever been involved in." says Sam Horley managing director and head of sales at world sales agency Lumina Films, "I just loved the script and felt it had huge indie appeal, though it's not going to be for the faint-hearted that's for sure."

Designed by Ivo Husnjak, the art director responsible for Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven and shot by Matthew Vaughn and Guy Ritchie regular Tim Maurice Jones, White Lightnin’ will be edited by Sam "Sexy Beast" Sneade.

Filmed on location in the original locales in West Virginia, interiors are have also been created in Zagreb via F&ME’s partnership with local service provider Mainframe Productions.
Himesh Kar, Senior Executive for the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund says:

"White Lightnin’ brings together some of the UK’s most exciting new talent in this international collaboration developed by British producers Mike Downey and Sam Taylor. Award-winning commercials director Dominic Murphy is bringing a distinctive and innovative approach to his first feature film working with rising British actor Ed Hogg in his first leading film role.