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Traffic Flows with Ease; Better Things’ Duane Hopkins Begins Bypass

Duane Hopkins has found his lead and principle photography has began on Bypass, the auteur’s much-anticipated sophomore film. George MacKay who has been growing up on-screen since P.J. Hogan Peter Pan, will topline alongside Ben Dilloway, Charlotte Spencer (Les Misérables) and veteran actor Donald Sumpter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The production is actually a UK-Swedish venture – Match Factory have got the sales rights so we expect to hear progress reports in Cannes next month.

Gist: We’ve got scrap pieces for now with a description about this being a “character-driven thriller set against the economic backdrop of contemporary Britain”, but Third Films’ producer Samm Haillay does a great job at making us salivate for the project calling the film “a morality tale of society’s feared and forsaken. These characters struggle to balance their personal morality with the reality of the world in which they inhabit. We aim to create an visceral, exciting, highly distinctive cinematic world using the expressive visual language of the modern realist thriller – this is not about documentary.”

Worth Noting: Between features, Hopkins actually returned to Cannes with the short, Cigarette at Night which was included in the Directors’ Fortnight program.

Do We Care?: Much like Steve McQueen, Hopkins, the lesser-known member of what some coin as the British New Wave, is a master craftsman with the imagery and atmospherics – I was on hand for the world premiere screening of Better Things (Critics’ Week 2008) and have been waiting for this piece of good news ever since.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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