Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
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The film version of Tony Hawks' best selling book Playing the Moldovans at Tennis was filmed during May, June and July 2010 in Moldova, London, Belfast and Israel. It was released in 2012 and the Premiere took place at The Odeon West End, Leicester Square in June 2012 with a star packed audience that included Tony Hawks, many of the cast and crew, Tim Rice, Judy Murray, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Miles Jupp, John Inverdale, Bruno Tonioli, Nick Hancock, Sandi Toksvig, Mark Steel, Marcus Brigstocke and David Baddiel.
The script sticks very closely to the original story when Tony, as he watched TV coverage of England beating Moldova 4-0 in September 1997, made a wager with his friend, the comedian Arthur Smith, (Steve in the film) that he could track down all 11 of the Moldovan players and beat them at tennis.
He attempted the unlikely feat by spending several weeks in Moldova and by also taking in Ireland and Israel, but his journey took many unexpected turns and changed from a lighthearted bet to a serious desire to prove to his host family that it is possible to complete surprising and unexpected tasks and to have a positive outlook on life.
It ends with one of them stripping naked and singing the Moldovan National Anthem in South London in front of a large crowd of their friends, which, like the rest of the film, is also true.
The Counterfeit Beatles as The Flying Postmen, Peter Bailey as Paul, Gordon Elsmore as Ringo, Reuven Gershon as John, Martin Savill as George,
Anatol Durbală as Iulian, Igor Babiac as Adrian, Ana Chiriţă as Elena, Silvia Luca as Dina, Viorel Cornescu as Grigore, Ina Surdu as Corina, Emil Gaju as Vasile Nedelciuc, Igor Caras as Balazov, Sandu Grecu as The Green One, Ion Grosu as Mr Vatamanu, Petru Oistric as Kiril, Tim Berrington as Johnny.
Additional extras used to film the scenes at the Irish centre, included Lianne McMahon and those who were registered to starsinmyeyes web.
Tony also wrote the screenplay and produced the project with a very small multi-national team that included Chris White (editor), Tim Jordan (Gaffer), Canan Kadana (camera operator), Ludovic Lasserre (sound), Neil McIntyre & Tom Fennell (boom), Graham Hunt (sparks), Edward Lidster (production designer UK) and Stephanie Zari (1st AD UK).
The Moldovan crew included Valentina Iusuphodjaev (line producer), Valeriu Mutu (location manager), Victoria Coroban (PA), Vlad Petrea (1st AD) Vlad Lozovan (production designer) and Elena Porumbescu (wardrobe)
The film was mainly shot in and around Chişinău in Moldova. The UK filming was at The Grove Tavern, Wilton Tennis Club and The Irish Centre in Wimbledon with additional scenes filmed in Belfast, Tel Aviv and The Red Sea.
The producer's proceeds will be donated to the Hippocrates Centre in Chişinău that was founded and co-supported by Tony Hawks from the proceeds of the sale of the original book.