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Popping The Cherry

Popping the Cherrybomb

Exclusive Interview with Glenn Leyburn

Celina Murphy

After a lengthy Facebook campaign by fans of leading man Rupert Grint, gritty Belfast-based drama Cherrybomb has finally secured a cinema release for 2010. We catch up with co-director GLENN LEYBURN to find out about the movie that the world nearly didn’t see.

It’s a funny old business when a few thousand Harry Potter fanatics can resurrect the life of an independent Irish movie.

“The whole thing sprung up very organically,” says Belfast-based Glenn Leyburn, who co-directed Cherrybomb with wife Lisa Barros D’Sa. “It’s a harsh environment in which to sell movies at the moment because of the economic situation, so it’s great to have this support.

“There are very few independent films that get distributed, we weren’t unique in not being able to sell it. A lot of distributors are just extremely low on funds.”

The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February, but failed to score a distribution deal at the time, despite a huge turn-out by Rupert Grint devotees.

“Fans picked up on it very early on,” Leyburn observes. “We were shocked by the number that traveled over for the premiere, which was amazing. Through word of mouth more fans found out about it and set up these websites demanding a general release.”

Aside from Grint’s star status, part of the film’s crusade was undertaken by music fans itching for a copy of its cracking soundtrack. Packed with home-grown rock and progressive pop sounds, Leyburn says composer David Holmes was keen to highlight the vitality of the Belfast music scene.

“David’s been involved from the development stages. It was really under his supervision that it turned out the way it did, he’s always been really good at encouraging local Northern Irish bands. We have people like Robyn G. Shiels, Cashier No. 9, The Sabrejets and Twinkranes on there, lots of local artists, which was really important to us and it’s worked absolutely great. The local acts sound fantastic on the film, a few of them are unsigned bands, but the quality of music is just incredible.”

Shot in just 24 days on location in Belfast, the premise for Cherrybomb is a simple one: “Two guys. One girl. Game on.”

The drama follows teenagers Malachy (Grint) and Luke (Robert Sheehan) as they embark on a wild weekend of drink, drugs, shop-lifting and stealing cars, all while competing for the affections of troubled beauty Michelle (Kimberly Nixon).

As well as golden boy Grint, the movie stars Portlaoise-born up and comer Robert Sheehan, who gave a stellar performance in Channel 4’s Red Riding earlier this year and for whom Leyburn spits innumerable superlatives.

“We did an extensive search for his character and in the end Robbie was really amazing. He’s a very, very hard-working guy.”

The film’s release date is yet to be confirmed, but Cherrybomb is likely to reach our cinemas during the first half of 2010.

Here’s to the power of the superfan.

Cherrybomb is set for release in 2010. www.rupert-grint.us/wordpress/cherrybomb-soundtrack has details of the music, which accompanies it.


copyright hotpress/icm

October 19th 2009

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