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Creators of Four Lions were warned the film was 'career suicide'

Creators of Four Lions were warned the film was 'career suicide'

The comedy classic almost never happened

The creators of iconic black comedy Four Lions have revealed that the project very nearly didn't happen at all.

It's become a cult classic of British comedy.

The cell of comically inept suicide bombers stumbling through their plans to stage an attack at the London Marathon, matched only by the incompetence of the authorities who somehow don't pick up on them.

Kayvan Novak and Nigel Lindsay in Four Lions.
Film4

The classic has now just been made available to stream on Netflix, but nearly didn't made it into production, in no small part due to the unwillingness of producers to get behind a project which cut so close to the bone.

It's unsurprising, as the film was in development only a couple of years after the 2005 London bombings.

It was right in the midst of the War on Terror, and the fear of suicide bombers was still very much at the forefront of public consciousness.

Producer Mark Herbert revealed that he was told that the film would be 'career suicide' during development. Some investors even expressed fear over the script.

Herbert told Vice News: "I had a couple of investors who said, 'I really love the script, but I'm terrified.' I actually had some investors tell me that it was career suicide. I never lost faith in the project, but I questioned whether we'd ever get it made.

"Some members of my family thought I was crazy for doing it, thinking I was going to be kidnapped or something. I went to this New York pitching festival thing and, literally, people thought it was a hidden camera gag."

Adeel Akhtar in Four Lions.
Film4

Four Lions has become an iconic piece of black comedy. Its utter irreverence towards matters, which were at the centre of a great deal of public fear at the time, still hits hard even 13 years after its release.

Director Chris Morris, who also worked on Brass Eye, said: "The Film Council was going to fund us, but they asked us to change the ending. The characters had to fail or something; they couldn’t go through with it.

"It wouldn’t be a film about what it’s about if they just went, ‘Ah, let’s not.’ The whole point is that you’re trying to live inside the heads of people who will go that far."

Speaking of 'going that far', it seems like the crew went to some extreme lengths to make the film what it is today, even getting themselves into some bother with the police.

Morris revealed: "There might have been some police questioning over a loud explosion we made in a field."

Nigel Lindsay, who played Barry in the iconic film, added: "The police were called a few times. Because the camera was hidden a lot of the time, people didn't always know we were filming. Chris would try to hide the cameras when filming in public. I've never been more scared of filming things in my life."

Featured Image Credit: Film4

Topics: TV and Film, Netflix