Director Jack Spring joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about his film, Three Day Millionaire.
This hit comedy follows three friends returning home to have the ultimate three-day-long celebration after weeks at sea working for Grimsby’s last remaining trawler. However, when they discover the company owner hasn’t been paying the workers and plans to shut the company’s doors forever, they realize they must save their company, save their friends, and most importantly, save their way of life. With the help of an unexpected confidant, the three lads attempt to carry out the greatest heist Grimsby has ever seen – what could possibly go wrong?
Hi Jack, welcome to Close-Up Culture. I understand you found creative ways to fund your first film. Can you tell us more about your background and how you got into filmmaking?
Hey Close-Up! Yes indeed, I needed a novel way to get finance as I didn’t know any rich folks that would invest in me, so I started what became the UK’s (probably the World’s, actually) largest inflatable hot tub rental company to prove to people they could trust me with their money. Over the course of 12 months that I built that company we grew to have something like 180 hot tubs. I took the business record back to rich folks who then became investors on the movie. I did the film when I was 19 and it was released theatrically in the UK which was pretty mental looking back.
What drew you to Paul Stephenson’s screenplay for Three Day Millionaire?
The characters were all so visual and electric. I like interesting humans and all of this gang were walking, talking intrigue to me. It was set in my family’s hometown too which was helpful. The soundtrack was all built into the script which was epic and I the whole thing kinda felt like it was written for me to direct, it was packed with all of my usual little visual motifs.
Can you tell us about some of the characters we’ll meet in this film?
You’ve got leader of the gang Curly Dean who’s something like 10th generation trawler-man, so when the industry evaporates his very identity is left in tatters. Codge, an amphetamine fueled but very intelligent addict shaking off any and every responsibility and Budgie, who’s one scotch egg short of a picnic, if you get what I mean.
I’ve heard a lot about the film’s fun and fast style. What can audiences expect?
96 minutes to fly by very quickly, lots of laughs, amazing characters, tension, politics, a badass heist, drama, a killer soundtrack by The Waterboys, amazing acting and a beautiful town. It’s actually been kinda hard to put this film in a box because it’s so many things rolled into one original piece. I think Netflix did a cracking job in the UK promoting it and it really found its audience.
As you mention, the film has an unbelievable soundtrack. What can you reveal about that and what it adds to the film?
Ah, yes, the wonderful Waterboys. Paul Stephenson the writer, who’s about 130 years older than me had The Waterboys in the very first version of the script and they’ve made it to the final film. We’d always assumed we’d never actually get them to agree, but Mike Scott was a diamond and we were able to work out a deal. The soundtrack is the cherry on the cake.
Your family is from Grimsby. Can you tell us about the area and what it means to you?
They are indeed. I’m a big Grimsby Town fan too and we’ve just made it into the quarter finals of the FA cup for the first time since 1939, which is kinda a big deal for the club and the town. Even though I was brought up in London the family ties have always meant an awful lot to me, the town always felt like a second home so when the opportunity came to bring light to a town which has been through so much shit since the fishing industry went tits up, it was a no brainer. The town has such a beautiful look and is genuinely on the rise. It’s an exciting time for everyone linked to Grimsby.
A lot of UK stories that make it over to the US can be rather London centric. How do you think Americans will receive Grimsby?
It’s definitely going to be a corner of the UK they’re not used to seeing. Even Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Brothers Grimsby’ which just spent 90 minutes slagging the town off, wasn’t even filmed there. I think folks in the US will have a similar reaction to something like Trainspotting or The Full Monty. It’s a new side to the UK to them, a new story, rather than the same upper class stiff lipped London stuff or mega-franchise turd that happens to be set in the UK.
I hear you were insistent on filming every shot in Grimsby. What was it like filming in the area? Any fun stories to share?
It was brilliant. I cried my eyes out on wrap day because I’d had the time of my life. They’ve actually named a toilet after me in the town hall (seriously) which is kinda cool. They said I could have any room named after me but the gents toilets by the main entrance had the highest footfall so I chose that one. There’s nothing like bad publicity, right?
What are your hopes for Three Day Millionaire?
It’s already gone way beyond my expectations. We hit number 5 on Netflix in the UK which for a film like ours, on our budget, was a monumental achievement. Everyone worked their bollocks off and gave me everything they possibly had in the tank so it’s testament to the cast, crew, investors and everyone involved that the film has found its audience.
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