New gangster film English Dogs in Bangkok partly filmed in Cambridge
The memorably titled English Dogs in Bangkok, which was released on November 3, was shot in different locations throughout Cambridgeshire – as well as in London and, as you would expect, Bangkok, Thailand.
Independently financed on a shoestring budget, the film has been picked up by three American TV channels, as well as by Amazon Prime in the UK and USA.
It stars Byron Gibson, who is from Cambridge, as is his long-term partner and fellow actor, Leigh Barwell, who plays Tracey – “a bit of a gold-digger”.
Leigh recalls: “I grew up in Cambridge and my family are from Cambridge. I went to the Bodywork performing arts college [on Glisson Road] – that’s where it all started, my performing career.
“It was a fantastic base for me – I was a bit lost until I went there.”
Leigh, 43, adds: “I trained as a dancer originally, but always with a big passion for acting as well. When I graduated, I started to get work as a dancer – I had a lot of contracts all over the place, abroad and all sorts – and then I managed to put together my own dance team, which was really successful.”
Since then, Leigh has taken further acting courses in New York and London.
The role in English Dogs came about when she and Byron found an audition online in 2018. Both applied and both were successful.
“We’re both very much into acting,” says Leigh. “Byron’s had a lot of success in the acting world already – in Only God Forgives with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas, and he’s been in Rise of the Footsoldier and quite a lot of well-known movies.
“I’d done quite a lot of bits and pieces along the way as well and we both decided to apply for English Dogs in Bangkok and we both got it, which was fantastic.”
Leigh says the shoot for the film – which also stars Ron Smoorenburg, a renowned fight coordinator who has previously worked with the likes of Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme – took about three months.
“It’s a low-budget film with a first-time director, but we just really loved the sound of it,” she says.
“We didn’t expect it to really come to that much because we’ve both been involved with many projects and it doesn’t always come to that much, but you do it because you love it and you want to get more experience from it.
“But we were so happy to hear a few months ago that Taffy [Edwards, director/producer] had managed to secure distribution and get platforms in America.
"He’s managed to get it released on four different platforms in America, it’s on Amazon Prime in the UK, and it’s possibly going to be on other platforms here – and they’re also in negotiations for a worldwide release as well.”
Leigh, who recently appeared in ITV’s The Singapore Grip, adds: “It was such a boost to hear that this film is now out there – and it’s already doing pretty well, from what we can see.
"We’re getting quite a lot of nice responses and there seems to be a lot of people that have heard about it already.”
Watch it and you may recognise some of the film’s locations. “Hardwick boxing gym was one of the places... Cambridge city centre, St Neots and a little bit in London, on the side of the Thames,” says Leigh.
She and Byron also went over to Bangkok. “That was an amazing experience,” she says.
Leigh adds: “Cambridge is a great filming location as it has so much beautiful architecture and a lot of diversity. You could film almost any style of movie within Cambridgeshire, from period dramas to action or horror.
"I think you could find a great location for any genre – plus, some areas of Cambridge can look like London, which is a plus to film makers that need to cheat shots.”
Filming for a sequel looks like it will go ahead in 2021. “I think that will definitely be on the cards by summer next year,” reveals Leigh.
With Leigh’s dance troupe unable to perform at this time, she and Byron are currently making a film together – a dark action thriller called Bet Dead Casino, which was written by Leigh.
“We’ve got about another month left on it,” she says. “We’re hoping to be wrapped before Christmas. We’re really excited because, again, it’s an independent, low-budget movie, but it’s looking like it’s going to be quite interesting.
“We’ve secured some distribution already. so we’ll have to see how it goes.”
English Dogs in Bangkok is available now.