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File: Fast Girls
Fast Girls is a forthcoming British feature film directed by Regan Hall and written by Jay Basu, Noel Clarke and Roy Williams.
It stars Lenora Crichlow, Lily James, Bradley James, Clarke and Rupert Graves. The film follows the story of two women as they become professional sprinters and join the British relay team for a World Championship event. The film was launched at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, before having its world premiere in London on 7 June 2012. The film was released on 15 June in the United Kingdom.
The movie follows the story of athletes Shania Andrews (Lenora Crichlow) as she competes against Lisa Temple (Lily James) at a local level, and follow the duo as they work their into the British 4x100 meters relay team and compete in the World Championships.
Discussion took place to decide whether or not to base the athletics competition in the film on the 2012 Summer Olympics. Due to the legal issues around trademark issues, it was instead decided to make the competition a fictional competition whilst working with UK Athletics. However, this decision was made after the International Olympic Committee refused for there to be any affiliation with the film. The script then had to be re-written to remove all traces of the Olympics, including all utterances of that word. Co-writer Noel Clarke took inspiration from Rocky, saying that if you made a sports film you'd want it to be the equivalent film to what Rocky was to boxing.
The actresses portraying athletes completed six weeks of intensive training at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre prior to the beginning of the shooting phase of the film, being trained by sprinters Jeanette Kwakye and Shani Anderson. The training sessions involved up to a thousand sit-ups each day, six days a week.
On the first day of shooting, Lenora Crichlow was diagnosed with stress fractures in her ankles which she attributed to running on track spikes without proper training. Body doubles were employed along with the use of certain camera angles to reduce the need to show Lenora running. By the time the film completed filming, she was keeping her feet on ice most of the time. Special flooring was laid during re-shoots in February 2012 in order to allow her to run more comfortably. Crichlow was pleased that the film features a staple feature of sports movies; a training montage.
The film was launched at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011 as Hall's first full length feature. Members of the film's cast were promoting the film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in order to secure an international distributor for the movie, with the rights pre-acquired for the UK distribution by StudioCanal UK at the time of the film's launch.
The premiere of the film took place in London's Leicester Square a few weeks ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, also to be held in London. The red carpet was not traditionally plain, but instead had track markings on it to simulate an athletics track. Guests attending the premiere included British athlete Dame Kelly Holmes. It is due to go on general release in the UK on 15 June 2012.
Leslie Felperin reviewed the film for Variety when it aired at Cannes. She felt that the portrait of the environments in the film felt credible and while the film was also technically solid, it was quite obvious when stand in athletes were used in long shots. Simon Reynolds saw the film for Digital Spy, saying that while it was entertaining, it was also cheesy and won't be considered a classic in the future. He gave the film three out of five stars. Mark Adams gave the film four out of five stars for the Daily Mirror, saying that it was an uplifting bit of pre-Olympics entertainment.