New film inspired by cannabis

A sea change in the legal approach to cannabis across the world has inspired a film-maker to create a ‘sequel’ to a cult classic.

Kevin Allen, the brainchild behind popular 1997 dark comedy Twin Town will be using cannabis as the backdrop for ‘Tin’, which begins filming later this year.

The action takes place 10 miles away from the Swansea-set original in nearby Llanelli where the storyline revolves around the Welsh town’s cannabis growers.

Although featuring most of the original cast, a curious legal twist means none of the actors will be able to play the same characters as the 22-year-old classic. In fact, the same legal issues mean Tin cannot technically be labelled ‘a sequel’.

Instead, Mr Allen told the BBC he was describing the movie as ‘a companion piece’ to Twin Town.

“It’s a different feel, a different accent, different rhythms,” he told the broadcaster.

“It is an area I know well by virtue of my mother coming from Llanelli – 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.”

Director Kevin Allen

He explained that the wave of cannabis legalisation sweeping the globe had been the inspiration behind the screenplay.

He said: “What happens with legalisation – as has happened in America – the small independent growers are getting nudged out very quickly by the big corporate guys.

“That’s what happens with this.”

The Swansea native confessed that he had spent much of the last two decades trying to make something as successful as Twin Town, and that funding was proving to be increasingly difficult.

“Making independent films now is very, very tough,” he continued.

“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.

“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.”

Reflecting on the making of the 1997 film, the 59-year-old director said a unique energy had come from a balance of work and fun during filming in his home town.

“There was something special about making a movie in a place where I spent my teenage years,” he said.

“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.”

Leading the cast for the cannabis-infused comedy caper will be stand-up funnyman Joe Wilkinson who plays a corrupt policeman among original cast members Rhys Ifans, his brother Llyr Ifans, Anna Chancellor, Sue Roderick and William Thomas.

Allen, whose previous work also includes 1999’s The Big Tease and ITV’s Benidorm, is the uncle of singer Lily Allen and Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen.

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