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Fisherman's Friends frontman Jon Cleave on the real life tragedy that killed two of their number as he stars in new film Black Car Home at Wotton Cinema

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2014

By Colette Shakib

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Jon Cleave in film, Black Car Home

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AFTER more than 15 years as the frontman of male shanty group Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, Jon Cleave is embarking on his professional acting role.

He plays the title character in darkly comic fairytale Black Car Home which will be screened at Wotton CInema in Wotton-under-Edge tomorrow.

It’s a role which required Jon to play a very emotional, grief-stricken character – but Jon admits there wasn’t too much acting involved.

He’s refers to a freak accident at the G Live Theatre in Guilford last year when a four-tonne stage door collapsed on two of their number.

The vocal group’s tour manager Paul McMullen and fellow singer, Trevor Grills, were both killed.

“In the film I play a sad, bereaved, middle-aged man, which I was at the time,” Jon says who was in the process of writing

Trevor Grills’ eulogy during filming.

“Watching the film, my wife said to me ‘you look really haunted’.

“We were in limbo back then. After an accident you realise the immediacy of your life.”

In Black Car Home, Jon plays Nathan, a rough giant of a man who after his wife’s death moves into a makeshift camp on the banks of the Severn Estuary.

He meets and rescues Tatiana, (played by Nadia Serantes) a feisty illegal Latin American immigrant, who expects to find New York after being thrown overboard and told to swim.

As their quirky friendship grows, an unexpected visitor launches them into an adventure.

“I want to explore the ability of people to rebuild after taking a blow, how the human condition is made to deal with the things we have to deal with,” Jon said.

The film is written and directed by Gloucestershire BAFTA-nomibnated and Oscar short-listed filmmaker David Pearson.

It was produced by Stroud-based Arturi Films which is owned by David and Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock.

Mamma Mia’s screenwriter Catherine Johnson is also part of the project which was filmed in Oldbury-on-Severn.

A question and answer session with the makers of the film take place at the 4.30pm screening tomorrow.

n Tickets cost £10 with proceeds donated to charity, Wotton Heritage. Call 01453 844601.

Fisherman's Friends are performing for the first time since the tragic accident at the Royal Albert Hall on February 19 as part of the Radio 2 Folk Awards.

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