British actor Sen Monro has told T-VINE he hopes a new short film he co-wrote with former Eastenders star Gary Webster will be turned into TV series by “Amazon, Netflix, or one of the UK’s TV networks.”
Stages is based on a true story about two Parkinson’s Disease sufferers whose lives fall apart until they discover each other.
Each of the major networks had representatives at the film’s packed West End premier in October, where they were able to witness first-hand the positive audience response to this brutally honest film about life with Parkinson’s.
There were audible gasps from the audience when actress Cassandra French told her on-screen husband “I’m sorry, I just wasn’t born to look after a cripple,” before walking out on him.
The story is told through the eyes of Russ Bradford and Charlotte Allen, a real-life couple who met at a Parkinson’s support group after their respective marriages had collapsed. Their emotional journeys and the everyday realities of living with Parkinson’s are powerfully portrayed by actors Noeleen Comiskey and Lewis Nicolas.
Monro, who has starred in The Cage and Dead Ringer, explains how the project came to be:
“I met Russ and Charlotte through a friend and as I learned about their lives, I was convinced their amazing story needed telling. It contains everything: betrayal, tragedy, personal struggles, and most of all how love truly conquers all.
“We’ve been pretty faithful to Russ and Charlotte’s actual life experiences, who were involved throughout the writing and filming process. The responses we’ve had since the premiere have been brilliant!”, said Monro.
The 24-minute film, directed by Donna Taylor and produced by Taylor’s DT Films, Michelle Orpe, and Monro’s Gripping Yarns Films, took ten months to come to fruition and incredibly cost just £6,000.
“We managed to deliver the film on a shoestring budget because we were supported by an army of professionals, who worked for free, or next to nothing, because they believed in the project,” Monro explained.
“We packed a lot into the film, and it really affected a lot of people. Russ and Charlotte’s story deserves an even bigger platform, and we are hopeful one of the major TV networks will invest in the project and turn it into a full-length feature or a mini TV drama,’” the Turkish Cypriot actor-turned-producer added.
Although still pretty rare, the film world has delved into Parkinson’s before featuring characters with Parkinson’s before. Two of the most notable films are Love and Other Drugs (2010), where Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway play a couple where Hathaway’s character has early onset of the disease and the impact it has on their relationship, and Capturing Grace (2014), an inspirational documentary about a dance company in Brooklyn, New York, that gives dance classes to people with Parkinson’s disease.