The news is out that “Notorious graffiti artist Banksy stars alongside movie legend Joan Collins in Banksy’s Coming For Dinner; a new film written, directed and produced by Ivan Massow.” But is it really Banksy in the film? Nope.
That’s Not Banksy Who’s Coming For Dinner
Described as a film within a film, where the viewer can “Experience the clash of celebrity as Hollywood royalty Joan Collins and husband Percy meet Banksy, the most famous living artist in the world. Banksy’s Coming for Dinner is a film within a film and questions the very nature of ‘reality’ at every level.” the entire story is an elaborate hoax, albeit a filmed and edited hoax.
According to the Daily Mail, the entire story was a falsehood designed to dupe the Dynasty actress – and the rest of the world.
In reality, the ‘Banksy’ who Miss Collins spent five hours entertaining was actor Bryan Lawrence – whose career includes bit parts in The Bill and adverts for the Corby Trouser Press – not the controversial guerrilla artist famed for his stenciled, anarchist graffiti works that can sell for up to £250,000.
above: Actor Bryan Lawrence plays Banksy in the film.
The bizarre plot was dreamt up by former Tory adviser Ivan Massow, a colourful character who made and lost a fortune selling insurance to gay men, and a familiar face on the London social scene, who has known Miss Collins for 20 years.
He filmed the charade in the hope of hoodwinking a TV broadcaster into buying the footage, promoting it as the first time Banksy had revealed himself on camera.
In reality Ivan Massow was not really fooling anyone. He knew that his hoax would be discovered. After all, he arranged to have Sam Bloom, sister of actor Orlando Bloom, to be the waitress for the event. In fact, the chef for the dinner was also staged– actress Helen Lederer played the role. Massow has stated, after being exposed,that he wanted to “investigate the nature of what’s real and what’s not real”. Of the event Massow has stated, “To pull off what was such a massive art fraud would have been really quite spectacular.”.
Massow had originally intended to use the real Banksy in his film. The artist’s spokesman confirmed they had been approached last year, but ‘turned down his request’. Massow said: “I still think he might be Banksy. Prove it’s not him.”
Knowing all that, and assuming it doesn’t put you off from viewing the upcoming film, here’s the Press Release, stills, trailer and info:
Hollywood royalty Joan Collins and husband Percy hold a dinner party for a few of their friends/acquaintances. Among the invited is the acclaimed artist Banksy, renowned for his aversion to the spotlight. Inviting him is fraught with social risk; will he come? How will he behave at table? This would, after all, be the first time he’s revealed himself on camera.
The preparations, the dinner and the goodbyes… the characters speak in the shared language of the famous. Or do they? Perhaps they are commenting on this language, creating a second film within the first; the first being a drama, the second a satire.
As a study of our crazed adoration of celebrity and society’s overwhelming need to consume, Banksy’s Coming for Dinner questions the very nature of ‘reality’. The film stars Hollywood icon Joan Collins, alongside her husband Percy and daughter Tara, with dinner guests Tamara Beckwith, Stephen K Amos, Paul de Freitas, Ann Mitchell and, of course, Banksy.
Banksy’s (who we now know is played by actor Bryan Lawrence) face is pixelated and his voice is distorted throughout the film, which was shot on location in London and Oxfordshire in June 2008, with post-production in Barcelona and Los Angeles.
The dinner party is shot in ‘real time’ over a single day at Joan’s country estate, within its spectacular, rolling grounds with deer and peacocks. The dinner guests are filmed throughout the day as they prepare and travel from their homes on this perfect summer’s day.
Joan is every inch the glamorous Hollywood mogul throughout, accompanied by her suave, debonair husband Percy. Her perfectionist nature gets the better of her when Ann Mitchell arrives 10 minutes early, complaining, “It’s terribly rude to be early.” Daughter Tara, dutifully helping the staff in the kitchen, predicts, “Mum’s going to have a shit-fit!”
Percy remains calm throughout, explaining, “It was a hard decision to make, opening up our lives, our home to the cameras. It’s rather undignified, quite frankly. But we decided to go with the way of the modern world.”
Banksy had agreed to pick Tamara Beckwith up from her smart Chelsea townhouse, though nobody could be sure he would arrive at all. At the appointed time, he turns up outside in a London Black Cab driven by his driver Julie, a middle-aged housewife. “Blimey!”, exclaims Tamara, “are we going all the way to Oxford in that? I hope he’s paying!” Having cleared a space for Tamara to sit amongst the discarded sweet wrappers and mess in the back of his cab, they set off, and Banksy chats about art, attacking Tracey Emin’s infamous ‘unmade bed’, saying, “that’s not art, that’s a thought.” Tamara nods in agreement.
Stand-up comedian Stephen K Amos sets off from his London Council Flat, enthusing, “If Banksy’s here… I’m getting some art. That’s my mortgage!” He’s picked up by Paul de Freitas, the exuberant casting director, described by his driver John as “a typical person who likes the nightlife”. Meanwhile, award-winning actress Ann Mitchell sets off from her home in leafy Hampstead commenting that Banksy’s, “Somebody who doesn’t want to be famous, who wants to remain anonymous. I think that’s incredible.”
The guests have arrived and are assembled in one of the reception rooms, making small talk over cocktails with Joan, an incredibly gracious hostess, the centre of attention. The group dynamic changes with the arrival of Banksy and Tamara and the balance of power tilts towards him. “Although he looked perfectly ordinary when he came in, people focused all their energy towards him,’ Director of photography Saul Gittens later comments.
Banksy – or ‘Bryan’, as he introduces himself – presents Joan and Percy with what looks to be a hastily-prepared gift of a can of spray paint mounted on a miniature easel. “Oh Bryan, this is fantastic,” enthuses Percy, somewhat unconvincingly.
In the background, chaotic behind-the-scenes preparations take place in the kitchen, and world-famous pianist Yitkin Seow plays Satie and Mozart alone in a secluded drawing room. Yitkin comments, “I’m used to playing for audiences of up to 60,000 twice a day, but playing in a small room with nobody there can be just as challenging.”
Joan’s Butler leads the guests into the dining room. Joan rings the serving bell, and the games begin…
The Movie Trailer:
About The Production of the Film
An August 8 Productions film, Banksy’s Coming for Dinner was written, produced and directed by Ivan Massow, with Editing by Ben Friend and Huw Jenkins (Emmy® Award Winning Editor), Assistant Editing by John William Dunlea, Alexandria Pickering and Monica Alonso as Line Production and Ruth Newman as Consultant Director. Post-production facilities were supplied by Infinia in Barcelona and BRF Productions in Los Angeles. Filming facilities were supplied by ProCam TV, London with Saul Gittens as Director of Photography. Sound facilities were supplied by Total Audio Solutions, London with Paul Scurrell as Sound Supervisor.
above: JOAN COLLINS, PERCY GIBSON, TARA NEWLEY, STEPHEN K AMOS, PAUL DE FREITAS, ANN MITCHELL, TAMARA BECKWITH, HELEN LEDERER, SAMANTHA BLOOM, NICKOLAS GRACE & BRYAN LAWRENCE AS BANKSY
Additional Credits:AUGUST 8 FILMS presents an IVAN MASSOW film “Banksy’s Coming for Dinner” Editor HUW JENKINS Editor BEN FRIEND Director of Photography SAUL GITTENS Sound Supervisor PAUL SCURRELL Piano by YITKIN SEOW Music by MR SCRUFF Line Producer ALEXANDRIA PICKERING Consultant Director RUTH NEWMAN Production Manager MONICA ALONSO Art Director SEAN CHILES
The Premiere Party:
The Premiere Launch Party was hosted by Joan Collins at the Paramount Club in London W1, and members of the public had the chance to win a ticket for 2 to the premiere by registering at the film website (link is no longer active).
Purchase the DVD: Banksy’s Coming For Dinner
Just who is Banksy?
If you’re not familiar with UK Street Artist Banksy already, you can learn about him and his work here.
To see all of Banksy’s work, visit his own site here.
No, really WHO is Banksy?
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, Banksy’s real name is Robin Gunningham.