Stand-up comedian and comedy writer Mike Shephard, a Littlehampton native and former pupil at St Philip Howard in Barnham, takes to the big screen in Guardians, the debut feature from Braine Hownd Films.
The film comes from screenwriter Mark A C Brown and gets its world premiere in the USA in September. The plan is for UK screenings soon afterwards.
Mike confirmed it will be shown in Hastings – but he is keen to see it screened in his old hometown of Littlehampton.
“Guardians is based on the idea that we have a lot of derelict properties, especially in London, where people can live at a reasonable rent or free-rent to keep them occupied. A lot of office blocks have people in them while they are waiting to be redeveloped, and the people living in them effectively guard them. They are the guardians. They are protecting the properties by living in them. It is a transient thing. They are not squatters. They are there to prevent squatters.
“And that’s the basic premise. The two lead characters are living in this 200-year-old house in London’s Docklands, the ever-changing East End. One of the characters has come out of a failed relationship and is trying to get his life back together, and he ends up living there with this other character.”
Mike is there as the amoral estate agent: “In a fairly major subplot, my character is responsible for organising sex parties in the building. He has a sideline there making money by organising distasteful orgies for London’s elite.
“I think he is one of those characters that people will draw a bit of sympathy for. He is totally awful, but hopefully you can’t help but laugh at him. It’s a comedy, and there are plenty of indignities for my character.
“The house is under threat so the guardians try to defend it as best they can. There are sinister people out there wanting to get their hands on the legendary golden dragon. It is all set in the original China town.”
The film has been touring festivals – and Mike would love to see it shown in Littlehampton one day.
“I am hoping for screenings in West Sussex. I love West Sussex. I am originally from Littlehampton and went to school in Barnham. I feel a lot of fondness for West Sussex, and I still go and visit Littlehampton. I think it has cleaned up its act a lot in recent years. When I was there, it seemed quite a depressing place, and now when I go back I love it. There is nothing like living in London for making you appreciate where you came from.”
Aside from being an actor Mike is also an established stand-up comedian who has performed at venues and festivals all over the world including the Edinburgh Fringe. He is also a writer for BBC Radio 4.