A west Wales town whose “prime asset” is cannabis will be the subject of the follow-up to cult film Twin Town, its director Kevin Allen has said.
Filming of Tin is due to begin this year, and will focus on cannabis growers in Llanelli.
Original cast members including brothers Rhys Ifans and Llyr Ifans will return for the film.
But legal reasons mean Tin cannot be classified as a sequel to Twin Town, and returning actors will not be playing the same characters.
From Swansea to Carmarthenshire
Twin Town was filmed and set in Swansea. Allen said the action of the new film moves “10 miles west, to Llanelli”.
“It’s a different feel, a different accent, different rhythms. It is an area I know well by virtue of my mother coming from Llanelli,” he said.
“It’s about a community in Carmarthenshire, not stoners or hippies, but where the entire community are growing the best sunshine, outdoor weed in Europe.”
The writer and director said the film was inspired by the legalisation of cannabis elsewhere in the world.
“What happens with legalisation – as has happened in America – [is that] the small independent growers are getting nudged out very quickly by the big corporate guys,” he said.
“That’s what happens with this.”
Following discussions with the Twin Town rights holders, the new film could not be classed as a sequel but Mr Allen said it would be a “companion piece” featuring many of the original cast.
He said he still had to produce something that “measures up” to Twin Town, but added that financing the project had been one of the biggest hurdles.
“Making independent films now is very, very tough,” he said.
“Trying to make indigenous films that reflect our culture, it is hard. And it is also hard to come up with a concept that feels right.”
Looking back to Twin Town
“I don’t think you ever set out to write something which captures some sort of cult domain. Cult grows, you can’t launch cult from day one,” said Allen.
“There was an incredible energy which was a fine balance between fun and work… There was something special about making a movie in a place where I spent my teenage years.
“My mother had an Italian restaurant. All those Swansea Tafia boys – that Bryn Cartwright character – played by Will Thomas, it’s really his film more than the twins. He’s an amalgam of old school villains I knew back then.”
Who’s in Tin?
The cast is headed by stand-up comedian and actor Joe Wilkinson as a bent cop – “he’s more of a comedian but very dry”.
Rhys Ifans and brother Llyr will be back but will not be playing the twins. “They’re different characters.”
Four Weddings actress Anna Chancellor also stars, while there are also returns for Twin Town alumni Sue Roderick and William Thomas, also in different roles. Thomas returns but not as gangster Bryn Cartwright.
“There’s enough of a flavour from the old film to call it a companion piece,” added Allen.
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Perils of a sequel
Another cult Welsh film, Human Traffic, is also set to return following an announcement by writer Justin Kerrigan that he is working on a sequel.
“Everyone’s looking for a branding tool,” said Allen. “Cool Cymru is a branding tool, everyone’s looking to entertain an audience which has grown up – T2 – Trainspotting 2 did very well. But it’s dicey.
“Human Traffic caught a zeitgeist of the club scene. I don’t know what he [Kerrigan] is doing with it, if he’s going for a direct sequel, that’s a fragile ecology because it’s got to deliver on those terms.
“I wouldn’t want to go back to try to do Twin Town again.”
Film critic Gary Slaymaker said there was an argument that Twin Town was one of the best films ever produced about Wales.
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“Everything fell together perfectly, a fairly well-known cast, an entertaining story, the comedy – and it was raw,” he said.
“We’re quite prim and proper in Wales so to have a film effing and jeffing all the way through was quite new.”
Slaymaker said the idea of sequels could be difficult.
“I love the fact that both Twin Town and Human Traffic exist within their own worlds – Human Traffic in particular encapsulates the rave culture of the 90s and we’ve moved on from that, so how you recapture that for post-Brexit years, I’ve no idea,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how they play out.”
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