We were so sad to hear that the great British actor Shirley Anne Field passed away on 10 December. We just wanted to share a memory of working with her.
In 2005, when Chocolate Films was a very small company, we produced a short film, Heyday, with Film London/Arts Council funding. It told the story of a romance between two older people in a care home. The budget was tiny, and the ambition was high (it involved time travel).
Everything was in place until about 8pm on the Friday before the shoot, when the female lead pulled out for health reasons. We were meant to start on set first thing Monday morning. Locations and crew were all booked. Things felt pretty precarious until Kenny Lynch, our leading man (and one of the most positive people ever) said ‘Why don’t we get Shirley?’.
The Shirley he was talking about was Shirley Anne Field, star of Alfie , The Entertainer and My Beautiful Launderette.
Kenny gave her the script on Saturday morning and she got on board straightaway. She did costume fittings on Sunday and she agreed to start work on Monday morning.
She was a fantastic starry presence for the whole week of the shoot. She delivered a great performance, regaled the crew with stories of Sinatra and Olivier between takes and brought a lot of excitement to the care home. Nearly nineteen years later, we still have a soft spot for Heyday.
Thank you so much Shirley. You’ll be sorely missed (and send our love to Kenny!)
RIP Shirley Anne Field