Josie Long on Super November: 'It's weirdly timely to the anxieties and uncertainties that everyone's feeling at the moment'
- Jay Richardson
- 5 December 2018
Comedy star and Edinburgh Fringe favourite discusses her Glasgow-shot debut feature
A mumblecore, twee romantic comedy that suddenly darkens into a dystopian, police state thriller, Super November is the hugely ambitious film debut of Glaswegian director Douglas King and its writer and star, comedian and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Josie Long.
Shot on a budget of just £4000, the film focuses on Long's Clydebank librarian, Josie, who falls in love with Mikey (Harry Potter's Sean Biggerstaff), shortly before the country is plunged into political strife and civil unrest. Co-starring King and Long's regular collaborator Darren Osborne, along with Scot Squad's James Allenby-Kirk and Chris Forbes, this unique, genre-bending movie also features Still Game's Sanjeev Kohli and The Revolution Will Be Televised's Heydon Prowse, alongside comedians Janey Godley, Ashley Storrie, Robin Ince, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Matt Winning.
The trio of Long, King and Osborne had previously made two acclaimed short films and the Glasgow-set Radio 4 comedy, Romance and Adventure. But following a nomination for a British Independent Film Award, they're 'beyond thrilled' at the reception their debut feature is attracting Long admits. 'To see people talk about the politics affecting them …' she marvels. 'It's weirdly timely to the anxieties and uncertainties that everyone's feeling at the moment.'
Shot on the hoof, with last-minute re-writes and actors dropping in and out depending on availability, the film had lined up Love Island narrator Iain Stirling for the pivotal role of Josie's friend Roddy. But when Stirling couldn't commit to the shoot, he suggested Allenby-Kirk instead, 'which was amazing' Long explains – the Scots actor's dramatic character shift from an aggressive clown to Josie's supportive rock, making him 'the real star of the film'.
Indeed, such is the pair's chemistry that she's already working on a follow-up for them, a 'revenge fantasy, climate change rom-com caper', in which she plays a single mother who meets a powerful anti-environmental lobbyist and resolves to kidnap him with Allenby-Kirk's help. Once again, she hopes to film in Glasgow and the north-west of Scotland rather than London. And she discloses that since Super November's release, 'it's been really brilliant, meeting lots of people about the potential of writing dramas. We're at the stage now where we've just got to keep pitching and coming up with ideas.'
Since the film's premiere, Long has had a baby with Jonny Donahoe, frontman of satirical band Jonny and the Baptists. And she's looking forward to returning to stand-up, with a show that she's already begun writing, 'about smallness and tenderness and gentleness'.