Friday, April 9, 2010

The Great Ghost Rescue

In development for the last couple of years, Yann Samuel's film version of the Eva Ibbotson novel The Great Ghost Rescue is finally heading towards filming with shooting scheduled to start later this month in Budapest and London.

12 year old newcomer Toby Hall from Shepherds Bush has landed the lead role of Humphrey.

With only one performance to his name – as Fagin in a school production of Oliver! - the 12-year-old from Shepherd's Bush had no idea what to expect when he was encouraged by a family friend to audition for the main part in The Great Ghost Rescue.

But he dazzled the producers, who picked him to star alongside veteran Brit actor Jason Isaacs in the family adventure.

"I didn't have that many expectations, so I wasn't that nervous," said Toby.
"I had to learn three scenes to perform, and it seemed to go alright – I didn't really know what was good or bad.
"I was home by myself when the phone rang and the producer asked if I wanted a part in the film. I said 'yes' and she said 'well you've got one'.
"It was really good, although my first feeling was nerves as well as excitement."

Toby will play a young boy who died after falling off the roof of an orphanage at the turn of the 20th century, and who joins a dysfunctional family of ghosts, each with their own paranormal idiosyncrasies.

"I meet them all and for 107 years I just don't do anything, then there's a scheme by the Government to destroy lots of old ruins and make them into housing," said Toby.
"All the ghosts want to go and scare the people in London – I go with them but I don't really want to scare them, I want to talk to them and reason with them. Then we all go to the Houses of Parliament and I make a big speech to the Prime Minister."

If the filming experience is a positive one, it could herald the beginning of an exciting career for Toby.
Mum Polly Steele said:
"It's totally unexpected, but of course I'm proud. I just hope he has a really wonderful time doing it.You never know with films what the future holds, so you just have to value the moment. You never want to deny your child a great fun experience."

The film's official synopsis:
Based on the popular children's book by Eva Ibboston, The Great Ghost Rescue is a cross between Harry Potter and The Addams Family. In our story you meet Humphrey, a small ghost with a big problem. His family has lost their home, and they're off to find a new haunting ground. But soon Humphrey and his parents discover that ghosts all over the country are being turned out as dark castles are converted to cheerful tourist hotels, condos and track houses. Humphrey knows something must be done and when the time comes he “rises” to the occasion with “frightening” success. Very funny, sometimes scary, but always charming The Great Ghost Rescue is an inversion of life as we know it. In this world the ghosts are our heroes and the living, well some of them anyway, are the people we should fear. 

You can follow the film and Toby's progress on Twitter.

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