A GANGSTER movie featuring the last performance by late EastEnders star Mike Reid might be a step away from the classic Ealing comedies, but Jack Says has impeccable links to the borough.
The debut feature was put together on a shoestring by young producer Simon Phillips, who lives next to Walpole Park and used his local knowledge to transform Ealing into the seedy underworld of central London and Paris.
Most of the cast and crew of the thriller are also borough residents, and the Ealing Broadway branch of HMV is helping promote the nationwide release of the film on DVD on Monday
Securing the talents of Mike Reid was a coup for 28-year-old Simon, who also persuaded footballer Eric Cantona to make a cameo appearance as a French philosopher, along with veteran actress Rula Lenska - Frank Butcher's girlfriend in an EastEnders special in 2002.
"We started filming last June and we finished with Mike Reid two weeks before he died," said Simon. "It was the last thing he ever did.
"I've shown the film to his agent and his family and dedicated it to his memory. He's only in it for eight minutes but he really does steal the show, which I'm really happy about."
Simon also stars as the titular Jack, who wakes up next to a dead body, soaked in blood and with no memory of what has happened. A scribbled address sends him on a journey Paris, where he is dragged into a shady, violent world.
The film was made for just £200,000 after the celebrities agreed to lower their usual pay rates, and was financed by a group of property tycoons who agreed to chip in a few thousand pounds in exchange for a share of any profits.
"Mike Reid loved the script and agreed to take a massive cut in what he'd normally get so he could help me out," he said.
Around two thirds of the film was shot over four months in Ealing, with a few exterior shots of Paris and central London filmed separately.
Locations - while not always recognisable - include an alleyway next to the Empire Cinema, a cafe in Ealing Broadway and the Spinning Wheel pub in Northfields.
* To watch the trailer or find out more visit www.jacksays.co.uk