This Is England creator Shane Meadows has revealed that his next project is a biopic of 1960s Tour De France cyclist Tommy Simpson.
After the success of his This Is England TV trilogy for Channel 4, Meadows wants cult cycling figure Simpson to be the subject of his first since non-documentary film since Le Donk And Scor-say-zee in 2009.
And Meadows added that he believes Joe Gilgun – who played Woody in This Is England – would be perfect to portray Simpson.
In 1965, Simpson became Britain’s first world race champion and won BBC Sports Personality Of The Year. He collapsed and died during the Tour De France in 1967 as temperatures reached 54C, after he defied team orders and tried to continue cycling.
Meadows told Loaded: “I saw a BBC documentary about Tommy a few years ago and I was weeping at the end of it.
“It turned out the script rights to Tommy’s story were available and I’ve been in touch with his family. I need to do a lot of research, but that’s what I want to do next.”
Meadows said the physical resemblance of Simpson and Gilgun is “frightening” and revealed Gilgun has recently become a cycling fanatic.
“It feels like there’s something going on leading me to Joe again,” said Meadows. “The problem is, the film is set in 1967 and Joe is covered in tattoos. But we can make that work – do a Passion Of The Christ and cover Joe up.”
The 43-year-old directed The Stone Roses documentary Made Of Stone in 2013 when the band reformed, and said he’d be keen to work with the band again.
“Three months ago, I could have sworn The Stone Roses were about to release something”
The Roses have announced homecoming Manchester stadium shows this summer, and Meadows believes they may be planning to release a new album, their first since The Second Coming in 1995.
Meadows said: “If they do a third album, I’m desperate to work with them again.
“Everyone hears different rumours about new music. Three months ago, I could have sworn something was about to get released, but it’s gone mercurial again.
“That’s what makes that band amazing, though, the fact you’re never sure what’s going to land. They’re a volatile chemical equation and you need all four elements in place.”
After This Is England 90 won Best TV series at the NME Awards on Thursday, Meadows refused to rule out making another instalment.
He said: “I’m not saying there’ll never be another one. But it feels like it’s over. People expect a certain level of quality from This Is England, and if I can’t deliver that, then don’t spoil what’s there. There’s a sadness to not making more, but we can all still meet up.”
Meadows also took a swipe at the film industry for being too cautious about taking chances on new talent.
The director is known for bringing on fresh talent such as Vicky McClure, Paddy Considine and Thomas Turgoose.
He said: “The industry is quite shameful. Unless you’re an A-lister, people make you jump through all sorts of hoops to get a part.
“The woman who played the nurse in This Is England 88 and 90 was someone I met in a pub in Ireland on holiday. But the industry doesn’t take chances on anybody. Vicky and Joe are so naturally gifted, telling them ‘Can you put yourself on an audition tape and send it to America?’ is daft.
“I just offer parts to people who I think are great. I only meet them to see if we’re going to get on. Questioning whether they can act is mental.”
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn