Charles Upham Film loses Director and Cinematographer

18 04 2007

The proposed Charles Upham film – “Upham Mark of the Lion” has hit a snag with both it’s Director – Nigel Hutchinson and it’s Cinematographer – Alun Bollinger – who worked on Lord of the Rings, pulling out of the project.

It was claimed by Mr Hutchinson that the screen play was not up to scratch.

Source: TV3




9 responses

24 04 2007
nick batchelor

Ashburton Guardian, 19 April 2007

Upham film claims ‘incorrect’

By Sue Newman
Suggestions that the team behind the Charles Upham movie, to be shot in Ashburton later this year, is struggling, was pushing the truth, production company chairman Dean Stuart says.
Claims that the company, Fat and Thin Productions, had lost its director and cinematographer only four months before shooting starts, were incorrect, Mr Stuart said.
Director Nigel Hutchinson and cinematographer Alun Bollinger are both said to have pulled out of the movie, but Mr Stuart neither had been formally contracted to be part of the production team.
“This is a reasonably large budget movie and we needed a more bankable director,” he said.
Mr Hutchinson did not have the experience to fill the director’s role and efforts were made to involve him in another role, but this did not pan out, Mr Stuart said.
“Alun is a very capable cinematographer but he hadn’t been engaged on a contract yet.”
His involvement had simply been to look at the script.
Mr Bollinger has been quoted as saying he had opted out of the film because the script was ‘undercooked’, but Mr Stuart said any script was a ‘work in progress’ until casting was completed and a director signed on.
“I look at this as a positive move that we’re looking at ensuring the bankability of our director; upspecing the director of the movie is important.”
In terms of casting, the production team had spent time in Hollywood two weeks ago and would return next week. Casting was progressing, Mr Stuart said.
In terms of funding, the company was close to having all of this in place.
As a parting shot, Mr Bollinger had said the timeframe for shooting to start was too tight, but Mr Stuart defended this by saying this was not set in concrete.
“If the timeframe is not meshing in terms of casting or the director, we’ll move it.”
The Upham movie will profile six years in the life of double Victoria Cross winner Charles Upham, who died in 1994. and filming is due to begin in October. It comes with an $18 million budget.
The movie’s backer and promoter, Craig Aitken, said he was 10 days away from announcing the film’s leading man, and he would name a new world-class director in two or three weeks.
He said he had secured funding of $14m, with some of “New Zealand’s biggest names’’ putting in money.
The Ashburton District Council has promised about $150,000 worth of services to the film, and administration support from the Venture Taranaki Trust and a grant from the Taranaki Electricity Trust, where a portion of the film will be shot.
Work on the screenplay, written by Mr Aitken and public relations specialist Dean McLachlan, would continue until shooting started.
“We are absolutely obsessed with getting the best screenplay and making the best film, but I tell you what, we are team players,’’ he said.
The production company already has another ambitious project on its books – a $100m Indiana Jones epic called Lost Gold.
April 19 2007

5 06 2007
Mr Darran Mochan

RE: Very interested in been an extra in your film about Charles Upham(Mark Of The Lion).
As a great admirer of Charles Upham, I was elated to hear of the plans to make the Mark Of The Lion, I first read this book when I was 11 years old,I have since read it numerous times after hearing about the very modest Charles Upham from my Great Uncle who had meet him a couple of times.
I am a physically fit 37 year old Kiwi living in London, I have very good knowledge of the Second World War as it has been my passion for as long as I can remember, I have travelled to El Alamein and checked out the battle grounds there.
I think I would be an asset in this production for the simple reason I admire this man so much, I can also source deactivated WW2 weapons such as, Brens, Stens,Thompsons, Lee enfields,MP 40s etc. I can also source helmets and uniforms etc.
I hope to hear from you soon, Darran

28 10 2007
Glyn MacLean

Hi there

I am a composer whose music is formally used by the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association to promote ANZAC DAY. I have donated my song “ANZAC TRIBUTE” to inspire remembrance.

I am also a supporter of Craig Aitken and his pursuit of the film “MARK OF THE LION”.

I encourage interested parties to voice their support of Craig and the film at

My audio production company threw together a melodic concept “chariots of fire” type tune to go with the film. Like the rest of the world, we are unsure about progress, but we want to enlist the encouragement of all Kiwi’s and returned servicemen in support of Craig Aitken.

Warm Regards
Glyn MacLean
TV & Film Composer

5 11 2007

As a long time admirer of Charlie Upham, I just hope that the props and wardrobe people get it right. As someone who was in the WW2 military vehicle business for many years, worked in Hollywood and now deals in vintage military uniforms, I am always critical of the vehicles and uniforms, etc. and feels that anything about Charlie Upham has to be done correctly to do him honour, there’ll not be a second chance.

12 05 2008
andy mclaren

Darren I would like to get in contact re your source of props

31 05 2008
Darran Mochan

Andy dont hesitate to drop me a mail, would be great to hear from you, am only in England to the end of the year, but am going to big military show in July, a great place to sorce this kind of stuff, not sure which country you are in, so get in contact on the above e-mail address, look forward to hearing from you

28 06 2008
Darran Mochan

just wondering if mark of the lion is still going ahead

29 06 2008
Gavin McLean

Hi George,

I am part of the Costume dept and resourcing authentic Uniforms, Costume props etc for the Charles Upham Film.
Please contact me as soon as possible.
I look forward to your email.
Gavin McLean

23 07 2008
Nathan Foster

I have not heard anything about the progression of the Upham movie for some time but in my heart of hearts I hope it goes ahead. Time and time again we see Hollywood depicting the U.S involvement in the second world war from 1942 onwards but, perhaps due to movie making resources, we have never seen a big budget film (in recent history) about the Brits and Anzacs and their saga which began three years earlier in 1939. Furthermore, there was most definately a big difference between young troops who were simply dropped into Europe and Kiwi’s who had grown up with both hunting and the Lee Enfield rifle. Like George said, we will only get one chance at this so lets get it right.

I own a ballistics research company. If there is any way that I can help, please let me know. I would dearly like to take the leading actors out hunting with the Lee Enfield as well as any field experience that may help. I think, if this movie is successful, we might even regain a small sense of National pride, something which seems to have been fading since the early 1980’s.

Lastly, for god sakes I hope we don’t have anymore actors staring into space (froddo, oh Froddo). There is just no place for this with regard to the Kiwi soldiers attitude towards the job at hand.

Cheers, Nathan.

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