The Hunny Bell, Holt, is where writer and director Tony Britten goes to relax and spend time with his friends to play dominoes and the self-confessed ‘pub lover’ made the decision to write and film his masterpiece there.
ChickLit is a story about four local, dominoes players based in a Norfolk village who are fighting to save their pub by trying to raise money by writing a Fifty Shades of Grey-type novel.
The story starts with the four friends writing material individually and combining it to create the complete ‘mummy porn’ novel in the hope that a literary agent will snap it up. When one does, she has one deal breaker. The author has to be a woman.
It follows the friends and an out-of-work actress through the caper as the men keep their involvement secret but things change when the woman takes control.
Britten said: “I have been going to pubs since well before I was legally supposed to, which is a long time ago. I love the atmosphere, the beer and the illusion that those meandering pub conversations are deeply meaningful.
"I have written a lot of material, sitting in the corner of various hostelries up and down the country. It has been observed that there are pub scenes in virtually every film I have made, so to be able to set an entire film around the subject of saving a local pub has been a delightful art mirroring life experience.
“We are very lucky that Penny and Sean Chapman, the landlords of my local pub in north Norfolk, the Hunny Bell, tolerate me and my chums playing dominoes there every Wednesday – where noisy singing and mutual recriminations are the order of the evening and where penny fortunes are made and lost as the sun sets over Hunworth Green.
“When I suggested that we film all the pub scenes from ChickLit in the pub where the story was conceived, Penny and Sean said yes without hesitation. I haven't dared ask them how they would respond if asked again! Suffice it to say, we had a lovely, if rather stultifying time filming lots of predominantly night scenes during a very hot week – and the Hunny Bell, of course, was never in danger of closing and indeed goes from strength to strength.”
British production company Coach House Films produced the film, which will be distributed by Capriol Films and released nationwide from 2 September.
The film has an all-star British cast including John Hurt, Christian McKay, Dakota Blue Richards, Niamh Cusack, Caroline Katz, Cathy Tyson, David Troughton, Miles Jupp, Tom Palmer, James Wilby and Dame Eileen Atkins.