Shock Till You Drop “Burke & Hare” set report

October 29th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare"

It might be one of the last days of shooting (the 38th of 39 in fact), but March 18, 2010, was a very good day indeed to be on the set of John Landis’ new comedy horror movie Burke & Hare . For a start, three of the total seventeen murders carried out by the infamous corpse sellers William Burke and William Hare in Scotland between 1827-28 are being filmed at the Luton Hoo location, and one of those is actually the ‘Burking’ explanation death. Burke was so proud of purposely smothering his victim’s mouth while compressing their chest that the Edinburgh-based gruesome twosome conceitedly named the killing method after him. Then there’s the reason why practically all the headline cast has arrived at the Bedfordshire country estate set in a state of real excitement even though they aren’t scheduled to work. Because today is when legendary genre icon Christopher Lee shoots his cameo performance as Old Joseph and everyone wants to witness this moment in history.

As usual, you can hear director Landis long before you see him. His booming voice echoes across the tiny set, constructed in an old barn to resemble Hare’s frugal lodging house. In this instance King Kong and Gollum star Andy Serkis, playing Hare, is asking his director if he can shoot another take suffocating Lee’s character. Landis grumblingly yells, “It had better be f**king brilliant then.” Once more the cast and crew laugh at yet another Landis’ forthright comment, and again when Serkis puts another comic spin on the action and the director roars, “That was horrible…but in a good way!”

“John really is a force of nature,” remarks Serkis when his director is out of earshot tucking in to his favorite British snack, ginger nut biscuits. He continues, “Everybody working on Burke & Hare is having an absolute ball. No one has a bad word to say about John. His constant stream of movie business anecdotes has kept us entertained throughout an arduous shoot. And his encyclopedic knowledge of film is astonishing. If he asks me if I’ve seen yet another film I haven’t, it’ll be embarrassing. He keeps on providing me with lists of must-see movies! I’ll tell you this though, John is one of the hardest workers I’ve come across – his stamina is amazing. He really was a great choice to direct Burke & Hare.”

That directing opportunity arose for John Landis when he trawled London two years ago looking for an interesting project as he explains. “I hadn’t made a film in England since Spies Like Us in 1985 so I met up with loads of independent producers because I wanted to see what was out there away from the Hollywood mainstream which is making such crap these days. I was on the lookout for something interesting, unusual. Okay, I was still given a lot of bad scripts, but then I met Ealing Studios’ producer Barnaby Thompson through my friend Gurinder Chadha [director of It’s a Wonderful Afterlife and Bride & Prejudice] who has an office there. Barnaby asked me what I wanted to do and normally when you reply ‘something of quality’, producers are usually at a loss because they want you to say a rom-com, a monster movie, etc. I didn’t care what the genre was as long as it was good and I could do something interesting. So he gave me a couple of scripts to read and one was Burke & Hare by writers Nick Moorcroft and Piers Ashworth.”

» Read the full report at

Variety review of “Burke & Hare”

October 27th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare"

A decade ago, U.K. shingle Fragile Films resurrected the treasured Ealing Studios brand, and “Burke & Hare” reps their closest attempt yet to match the tone and content of such beloved Ealing classics as “The Ladykillers” (1955). So much for intention. As for achievement, the film struggles to match the original Ealing’s quality benchmark, and its unapologetically old-fashioned sensibility may have trouble connecting with contempo auds. Helmer John Landis’ amiable, creaky comedy about 18th-century corpse retailers Burke and Hare should rattle some funny bones in native Blighty, but may face B.O. graveyards abroad.

In 1828 Edinburgh, Irish immigrants William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) strike it rich when Hare’s elderly tenant dies of natural causes. Learning there’s a ready market for freshly deceased bodies at the laboratory of pioneering anatomist Dr. Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson), the pair shove the dead man into a herring barrel and wheel him off to collect a rich fee. From there, it’s a slippery slope of moral hazard, as they hasten another aged tenant’s departure via a helpful bout of suffocation, then induce a heart attack in an obese stranger. Burke and Hare have somehow stumbled into the lucrative trade of body-snatching.

Crafting a satisfying comedy celebrating two notorious serial killers certainly qualifies as a writing challenge, so credit goes to co-scripters Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft for devising credibly sympathetic protagonists. Burke is sensibly awarded two redeeming features: his ethical quandary, which he continues to voice right up until the end, and his love for pretty young thesp-prostitute Ginny (Isla Fisher), who needs funds to mount her innovative all-female theater production of “Macbeth.” Hare’s impulse is more straightforwardly avaricious, although his troubled home life — the turnabout in his fortunes revives the spirits, and libido, of his wife (Jessica Hynes) — likewise provides a rooting interest.

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Photos of Isla at the “Burke & Hare” London premiere

October 26th 2010 • by Jess • 1 Comment »"Burke & Hare", Gallery Updates, Public Events

As posted about last night and earlier today, Isla attended the world premiere of her new movie Burke & Hare in London last night, and I have now added 90 photos from the event to our Gallery! This was Isla’s first major public appearance in over a year, and her first appearance since the birth of her 2nd child a couple of months ago. She looked so gorgeous in a printed red Dolce & Gabbana lace dress with a velvet bolero jacket and black pumps. I love this look on her! What are your thoughts? Is this a great outfit for Isla’s return to the red carpet? Are you excited for Burke & Hare? Leave a comment!

“Burke & Hare” London Premiere x90

New interview screencaps

October 26th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Gallery Updates

I’ve added screencaps from all the new videos we’ve had in recent days, including interviews on the red carpet last night, and the full BBC Breakfast interview.

Photos from the premiere are being sorted as we speak, so stay tuned for them in a little while!

2010 – BBC Breakfast x234
2010 – Premiere Scene x25
2010 – ITN x39
2010 – Daybreak x47 “Burke & Hare” premiere interviews

October 26th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Public Events, Videos

PremiereScene interview with Isla at the Burke & Hare premiere

October 26th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Public Events, Videos

Just a short chat with Isla, skip forward to about 3mins in to find her.

ITN interview Isla on the Burke & Hare red carpet

October 26th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Public Events, Videos

Simon Pegg and Isla Fisher have teamed up for the new comedy Burke And Hare, based on the true story of two grave robbers.

Daybreak: Burke and Hare set visit

October 25th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Videos

Daybreak visits the set of new comedy film Burke and Hare starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Ronnie Corbett and Isla Fisher.

Isla Fisher on her journey from Home & Away to Hollywood – BBC Breakfast video interview

October 25th 2010 • by Jess • No Comments"Burke & Hare", Videos

Isla was interviewed on the BBC Breakfast show earlier today, and BBC have posted a clip online. Unfortunately I don’t think you can embed from their website, so to watch the clip head on over to their website. Screencaps from the interview will be added asap!

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