‘England Is Mine’ – director Mark Gill on putting Morrissey in the movies

The eagerly awaited Morrissey biopic is out August 4 - director Gill talks visual gags, auditioning 100s of Moz's and star Jack Lowden

You’re from the same part of Manchester as Morrissey – is that where your initial interest came from?

“Yeah – I caught The Smiths on Top of The Pops and I just thought ‘What the hell is that!’ and my dad just walking in going ‘Ergh, that wally lives up the road’ and I’m like ‘What! A pop star from Stretford!’ That was it – I went to try and find the first thing I could buy and it was ‘Hatful of Hollow’ on cassette.”

Why was Jack Lowden perfect for the role?

“I knew in the screen test – I just thought ‘Wow, Steven is right in front of me’.”

How many potential Morrisseys did you see?

“Hundreds… but there’s only a few people that are capable and in fact there was only one. There were lots of terrible impressions.”


England is Mine poster
England is Mine poster

What was Jack’s audition like?

“Mental. The fact that I don’t think he knew who Morrissey was too well [meant] he didn’t come in with any baggage.”

Did you reach out to Morrissey during the making of the film?

“We’ve been very respectful. We reached out via different channels and whether those get through or not I don’t know. We just know – because he hasn’t said anything – that he’s not against us. I think he would be fascinated as to why we’ve done it, even though I’ve explained it all in letters. I think he’ll be cautious and distant and he’ll play a game of ‘wait and see’, which is smart.”

There are a few lyric references in the script…

“There’s loads and visual ones too. My favourite is a lyric from ‘The Queen is Dead’. If anyone ever spots it I might have to give them a prize, because it’s really well hidden!”