BY ANTONIO PINEDA AND ALEC CHRISTIE
Baseline, an independent film shot on location in London, will have its world premiere on Tuesday 29th June at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London’s West End.
Directed by Brendon O’Loughlin, it is a visceral underworld crime drama set among the warring factions of the criminal society of London’s East End. Starring Dexter Fletcher (Lock Stock, Kick -Ass), Jamie Foreman (Football Factory, Layer Cake), Royal Television nominee Zoë Tapper (Stage Beauty, Desperate Romantics), Freddie Connor (The Grind, Gypo), Sheraiah Larcher (The Grind, Eastenders, Waterloo Road), Gary Stretch (The Heavy, Alexander, World Trade Centre, The Kingmaker, Dead Man’s Shoes) and Guy Burnet (Hollyoaks, Luster, Age of Heroes).
Centred around the East London Grime Club scene, the story sees the rise of Danny (Freddie Connor), the Baseline Club bouncer. Used to breaking up fights between rival gang members (Guy Burnet and UK rapper Blemish), managing drunken kids and working the door, Danny is suddenly plunged deep into an underworld he had tried hard to avoid when he rescues Terry (Jamie Foreman), the club owner and local gang leader, from a hit-man.
When Danny foils the hit he and best friend Paul (Gordon Alexander) are taken by Terry’s right hand man (Dexter Fletcher) to seek revenge on Terry’s nemesis psychotic criminal drug dealer Rob (Gary Stretch).
Danny is promoted to club manager, but only on the condition that he turns a blind eye to the shady goings on both on and off the dance-floor. Danny and his girlfriend Jessica (Zoë Tapper) dream of setting up their own club, but Paul forces him to make the ultimate sacrifice when he has to choose between loyalty, morality and his own dreams of escape.
Gary Stretch gives a powerhouse performance. Gary plays against type as the terminally handsome virile boxer that he is revered by his fans when he was the WBC light middleweight champion of the world from Lancashire, England, emmanating from the small Rugby town of St. Helens.
Gary, who became famous for his good looks after moving into modelling and acting, for this role changes his physical persona. His face and body are heavily tattooed. His teeth are missing. Later in the film after he is set on fire he reappears heavily scarred.
Fresh from the success of the Heavy, which premiered in London at the Odeon in Leicester Square, Stretch continues to grow as an actor. The Heavy, also an underworld crime film, starred Christopher Lee, Vinnie Jones, Meredith Ostrom, Adrian Paul, Shannyn Sossamon, Stephen Rea and the debut on film of Lee Ryan, front man for the British pop group Blue.
Sienna Miller will soon produce a motion picture featuring Lee Ryan.
The red carpet premiere was attended by Motion Picture, pop music, and Thai royalty.
Paul Young, the raspy voiced UK pop star, attended with his wife. Gary was in the company of legendary film producer, director and actor David Winters. David began his career as a dancer in the motion picture West Side Story. He went on to choreograph three films with Elvis Presley, worked with Anne Margaret and Raquel Welch and directed Paul Newman and Kirk Douglas. David produced “The Kingmaker” shot on location in Thailand starring Gary Stretch and John Rhys Davies. David was a dear friend of the late David Carradine and produced two motion pictures that starred Carradine. They were old school cineastes and the contract for the Carradine picture was written on the back of a napkin over lunch in Hollywood. They were a generation of cineastes whose word was their bond, unlike the shysters of today who are driven by big bucks and bling.
Finelight Films shot Baseline on a shoestring budget. It is a fine example of what filmmakers can achieve with a good story and proper actors who immerse themselves in their craft. To see the teaser hit this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/marvs231#p/a/u/0/ysPvESIJJDU special effects by the masterful Dan Martin of 13 Finger FX.
The official movie website is www.baselinethemovie.com