Ash Morris’s new film project is called Starcross, making it sound like an awesome space-faring fantasy film with moon-dragons and laser-knights, but in fact it’s a down-to-earth realist romance about two people in a care home. Which is better. Wait, let me explain.
Morris’s film stars Jimmy Dann as Conor, a man from a disadvantaged background who’s found himself on community service. Things are looking bad for him, but at the care home where he’s sent to work he meets Hannah Mackenzie’s Hollie and a romance blossoms. Apart from the genuinely interesting backstories of these two main characters, Starcross is unique in that it features a cast of amateur actors themselves from disadvantaged communities. Unfortunately, many realist films remove themselves from the subject matter of their stories by employing a cast and crew from more privileged backgrounds, and the ‘realism’ is only ever screen-deep.
Morris is using Starcross to draw talent from the communities he depicts and then have the film pay back into them. He wants Starcross to be used by outreach groups to raise awareness of mental health, knife crime, and anti-social behaviour issues. Which is much better than a bland and socially pointless space-fantasy film, see?