Cast: Bill Nighy, Sam Riley, Jenny Agutter, Tim McInnerny, Alice Lowe
Director: Carl Hunter
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Synopsis: Able to blend charming gruffness and winning affability with just the raise of an eyebrow, Bill Nighy has long proven himself one of Britain's best character actors, and now he stars alongside Sam Riley and Alice Lowe in this stylish and heartfelt comedy-drama about a tailor searching for a lost son.
Sharp of both suit and vocabulary, Nighy (The Bookshop), is winningly deadpan as Scrabble-obsessed Merseyside tailor Alan, whose eldest son Michael stormed out of the house after a particularly heated round of the popular board game, never to return. Years later, Alan and his other son Peter (Sam Riley) continue the search while trying to repair their own strained relationship. Working from a witty and astute script by veteran screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce (The Railway Man, Goodbye Christopher Robin), Liverpudlian director Carl Hunter deploys a vivid visual style and striking production design to capture the shifting moods of a family who know plenty of words but struggle to communicate.
A triple score-worthy supporting cast includes Jenny Agutter and Tim McInnerny.
Sometimes Always Never
Release Date: March 14th, 2019
Writer Frank Cottrell Boyce and Director Carl Hunter first discussed Sometimes Always Never after
finishing their last film, Grow Your Own, a BBC production.
Alongside 'Grow Your Own' and 'Sometimes Always Never', Frank and Carl have also worked
together on an award winning children's novel 'The Unforgotten Coat' and two short films, both
produced by Hurricane Films: A Winter's Tale (commissioned by the British Council) and A Day In
The Life (winner of the 2016 Labour Film Festival Short Film).
Research for the film was extensive, with Carl Hunter and associate producer Clare Heney
interviewing scrabble players at the National Scrabble Association championships in Durham, to
really understand the psyche of Scrabble Enthusiasts.
Director Carl Hunter: "Frank floated the idea of Sometimes Always Never a few years ago, a story
about 'loss and words'. A film where the three acts can each be a standalone film. A film about a
missing seventeen year old boy (Michael) a child that walked out during a game of Scrabble.
"Working with Frank is wonderful. He's one of Britain's greatest writers, he has a way of telling a
universal story that's on your doorstep."
Director Carl's Art School background heavily influenced the look of the film, with inspirations
coming from Czech and Russian filmmakers. It is an intentionally stylized and authored film.
Carl Hunter: "I'm greatly influenced by European Cinema with especially by the likes of Aki
Kaurismäki, and Milos Forman and also by the work of American Wes Anderson. I sat with DoP
Richard Stoddard and went through a large pile of DVDs together to arrive at the palette we were
"The film is set in Lancashire and Merseyside and makes great use of the landscape, featuring its
Sprout Prairies and wind swept coastline.
"Bill Nighy and Sam Riley are a father and son trapped in the past, haunted by the memory of a
missing son and brother. I wanted to suggest their emotional stand-still using design and back
projection. The house interiors feel dated, like time stopped the day the boy disappeared.
"The use of back projection to show their car journeys suggests that although they think they are
moving (emotionally) we know they're not.
"Lo Fi animation is occasionally intercut into the film, this empahsises the idiosyncratic direction I
adopted and reinforces the emotional time capsule Father and Son are trapped in.
There are a number of set pieces in Bill Nighy's grandson's (Jack) room; this is where Jack and Alan
(Bill Nighy) bond. Alan discovers online Scrabble and becomes a lexicon Yoda to Jack."