Dame Judi Dench is the latest big name announced for the cast of the star-studded film Run for your Wife, which wrapped up shooting at Wimbledon Studios last week.
The Oscar-winning actress will be appearing alongside the likes of Danny Dyer, Denise Van Outen, Sarah Harding and former Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey in the screen adaptation of Ray Cooney’s classic comedy.
The show ran for a record nine years on the London stage and the veteran playwright is also directing the film.
Danny Dyer plays John Smith, a London taxi driver entangled in bigamous marriages to unsuspecting wives Michelle (Van Outen) and Stephanie (Harding).
Having hidden his double life through the convenience of shift work, the secret begins to unravel and John heads off on a frantic mission with his gullible neighbour Gary (Morrissey) to prevent his wives from meeting.
The film’s producers, James Simpson and Graham Fowler, speaking to the South West Londoner, believe pleasant surprises are in store.
“Everybody is going to be astonished by Danny’s performance, and I think it will open up new avenues for him; his comedic timing is second to none,” said Simpson, whose previous credits include producing Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice.
“Denise and Sarah are tremendously talented performers in their own right who really make great opposites to one another. I think Casting Directors will certainly be considering them for more parts.”
“And Judi’s cameo is brilliant. It’s about as far removed from a Dame as can be but she shines like always.”
Co-producer Fowler urges audiences to keep their eyes peeled throughout, as there are many familiar faces in cameo roles, including Sir Cliff Richard, Christopher Biggins and Andrew Sachs.
“Ray knows a lot of the actors in cameo roles, with some having been in the stage production.
“Bernard Cribbins, who will be appearing, was actually the first actor to play the role of John Smith when the play first opened in 1983. Overall there will be around 130 cameo appearances!”
The film is yet another production at the famous Wimbledon Studios, best known for being the home of television series The Bill for 19 years.
Having been bought by Panther Securities last year from Freemantle Media, it is hoped films like Run for your Wife indicate an exciting future for the studio and its Deer Park Road site.
The optimism for the studio’s future is something shared by both men, who praised the work of everyone involved.
“This is a big studio. I hope it gets more productions to make it thrive because it deserves to,” said Simpson.
And using the studio again is something the producers are very much open to, having enjoyed working in Wimbledon.
“It’s great for Wimbledon to have a film studio, as there isn’t anything like this in the area,” said Foster.
“Everything – from the facilities to location – is set up to succeed, and we’d certainly have no qualms about working here again.”
Run for your Wife will be released next year.