David Tennnant and Psychiatrist R.D. Laing - Metanoia
David Tennnant and Psychiatrist R.D. Laing – Mad To Be Normal


Following up on our Tuesday story about filming Mad To Be Normal at York University, a casting call has been put out on LinkedIn looking to cast extras.  The drama will be filming Wednesday 3rd February and Thursday 4th February on campus and specifically in TFTV’s Scenic Stage Theatre on the afternoon of Wednesday 3rd February.

According to this LinkedIn call, “in the scene Laing [David Tennant] addresses the audience with his radical views on Psychiatry and the medical treatment of patients.  Elisabeth Moss (Peggy in Mad Men) and Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects) will be on set too.”

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The drama is set in the Swinging 60’s and they need an audience of extras that look the part.  They’ll be awarding prizes for those with the most authentic costuming and they’re also looking for people in a range of ages.  So if you think you’ve got the clothes and the look and you have the time, head on over to the LinkedIn page to submit an application and review all the rules and requirements.

Even if you don’t have any of the above (except the extra time!) they’re still looking for many extras to fill up all the scenes they’re shooting, and wardrobe will be provided.  Now’s your chance to shoot a movie with David Tennant!

The Gizmo Films’ movie, produced for Bad Penny Productions, will be shot between the closing of Richard II in London and the plays’ NYC opening in March.  All the supporting roles have all been cast and the actors are currently in rehearsal in London. The creative team is on schedule to complete the sets, create the costumes and acquire the props needed to give it the psychedelic 1960’s mod feel.

Written and directed by Robert Mullan, the biopic focuses on psychiatrist R.D. Laing (David Tennant), the “Acid Marxist” of the 1960s and ’70s.  From 1965 to 1970, Laing ran an experimental community in Kingsley Hall where patients with mental disorders and their doctors lived together as one.  Kingsley Hall embraced the hippie culture and the psychotic and the schizophrenic had a refuge free of door locks and anti-psychotic drugs.  But not necessarily all drugs.  Several patients and doctors including Liang took LSD and smoked pot at the facilities.

Robert Mullan, who has written many books on the controversial figure, described Laing’s as a product of the times. “In the late 1960s, and throughout the 1970s, R.D. Laing was seen as the ‘high priest of anti-psychiatry’ and the so-called ‘Acid Marxist’ – lauded by his supporters for his daring and experimental work with disturbed people. In truth, Laing simply tried harder than other psychiatrists to sympathetically understand the cracked minds of the people who came to see him. He gave them time and tried to see the world from their point of view. His books sold all over the world and his reputation was global”.

David Tennant has had a long fascination with RD Laing, “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and discover this important man and I am honoured and thrilled to be involved in telling this story. Robert Mullan’s passion for the subject is inspiring and the presence of the brilliant Elisabeth Moss makes this something I cannot wait to start work on.”

The movie also stars Elisabeth Moss, Gabriel Bryne, Michael Gambon and David Bamber.  It is written and directed by Robert Mullen, executive produced Peter Gerard Dunphy and produced by Phin Glynn, Charlotte Arden, Alan Latham.

In addition to Yorkshire, filming will occur at MMC’s studios in Cologne and London.

Mad to be Normal Official Synopsis

Mad to be Normal (Previously titled ‘Metanoia’) is the story of controversial Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing and the infamous anti-psychiatry experiment he ran at Kingsley Hall- a medication-free sanctuary which made headlines around the world. During the 1960s and 1970s Laing was an international celebrity. In Santa Monica, 4,000 people turned out to see him perform a lecture, a week after Bob Dylan had pulled in the same number. A radio journalist confidently referred to him as the “white Martin Luther King.” His books topped student reading lists the world over, as his language excited and enthralled them: “a child born today stands a 10 times greater chance of being admitted to a mental hospital than to a university….perhaps it is our very way of educating them that is driving them mad… [and]…”so- called ‘normal men’ have in the last 50 years killed perhaps 100 million of their fellow normal men”. It was opinions like these which turned the psychiatric establishment against him.

Director: Robert Mullan
Producers: Phin Glynn, Charlotte Arden, Alan Latham
Executive Producers: Peter Dunphy




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