British Comedian Leigh Francis Bringing 'Keith Lemon' to Big Screen

Lionsgate UK backing and co-producing its first British comedy project based on Francis' popular character.

LONDON --  British comedian Leigh Francis, a familiar face on the small screen here as Keith Lemon after shows Bo’ Selecta! and Keith Lemon’s World Tour, is to star in a movie he has written.

The project, entitled Keith Lemon: The Movie, has attracted heavyweight backing from Lionsgate UK, marking the British outpost of Lionsgate’s first sojourn into comedy here.

The script centers around the Francis-created Lemon character and is written by Francis, who created the original Lemon  TV character.

The movie will follow Lemon as he moves from Leeds in Northern England to the British capital in his quest to be a successful entrepreneur. His ambition is to mirror the success of Lemon’s hero, Richard Branson.

Verne Troyer will star alongside Francis and shooting is set to begin later this month in Belfast, the Northern Irish city that recently played host to the MTV Europe music awards.

The project is bankrolled by Lionsgate U.K. and Northern Ireland Screen with additional finance from London post-production house Molinare.

Paul Angunawela directs the project with Lionsgate UK teaming with producing partners Belfast-based Generator Entertainment.

Production starts shooting on location in Belfast later this month and is produced by Mark Huffam (Ridley Scott’s Prometheus), Simon Bosanquet (Life and Death of Peter Sellers) and Aidan Elliott for Belfast-based Generator Entertainment.

Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa will executive produce. Lionsgate’s Nick Manzi and Emma Berkofsky developed the film in house and will also exec produce for Lionsgate UK.

The project marks Lemon’s debut feature but it is the second time Lionsgate UK and Francis have partnered following Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s release last Christmas of Keith Lemon’s Fit!.

The comedic DVD parody of the popular fitness video market became a hit in the U.K. selling over 100,000 units.

Said Kamasa: “Given his [Lemon’s] universal appeal and electric popularity with the ladies, making this film will prove to be an absolute rollercoaster of a ride for us, exposing Keith’s natural talent – something he is very used to doing both on and off screen.”

In character as Lemon, Francis noted: “It's a privilege to have the power of sight, hearing, touching and feeling. But to make a film which I am going to be able to see myself in, hear myself in, but unfortunately not touch or feel myself in (because it's not in 3D) is even more'rer'rer of privilege.”

The comedic character Lemon first hit U.K. screens as a character on Channel 4’s comedy series Bo Selecta! before landing his own ITV series Keith Lemon’s World Tour.

Lemon is represented by George Ashton at James Grant.

Angunawela is repped by Nick Marston at Curtis Brown.

Ray Hughes Management reps Troyer.