First Look Media-backed U.S. streamer Topic has picked up the short film “The Hat,” starring Jude Law and Raff Law, and directed by Darren Strowger.
Shot during lockdown, with an original score by The Who’s Pete Townshend (incidentally, the musician’s first since “Tommy”), the film marks the first time Jude Law and his son — who has appeared in other short films and stars in the forthcoming “Twist” — have acted together on screen.
The six-minute short was filmed on location in the U.K. during lockdown, and shot entirely on an iPhone. It follows a young man who wanders into the middle of a barren field, only to be interrupted by a mystery assailant who starts chasing him. Plans are in place to extend the short into a 20-minute film, and later, a feature-length version.
Strowger is best known as the co-founder of British tech firm Excell Group, but has been considering a move into filmmaking for a few years, he tells Variety. During lockdown, the executive was self-isolating with the Laws, who are family friends.
“We pulled this together over a month,” says Strowger, who says he’s taken to directing “quite naturally” and hopes to get more formal training in the future.
“What’s incredible is that I wouldn’t have been able to enlist Pete [Townsend] or Jude [Law] in normal times, because Pete would be on tour and Jude would be filming ‘Fantastic Beasts,’” says Strowger. “By all of us being there together, I managed to cut and edit the film, and call up Pete and get him involved. It all just came together.”
“The Hat” will world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival on Nov. 6, where it’s nominated for Best U.K. Short. The premiere will benefit Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, which was co-founded by Townshend.
The film is the first in a planned series of shorts for charity, directed by Strowger and others, with an A-list roster of actors and public figures attached, including Helen Mirren and Cara and Poppy Delevingne. Both Jude Law and Raff Law have donated their acting fees for “The Hat,” and any profits from streaming revenue will also go directly to the charities.
“I think, during this time, people want to give something back. Actors haven’t really been able to do that to some extent,” explains Strowger.
“The Hat” premiere in London will be accompanied by a live performance from Townshend as well as a Q&A with the cast and crew.