Just a Boy Films Ltd. today proudly announced it is working with the award winning Director
Oliver Schmitz to make Tony Klinger’s new screenplay of the Richard McCann story, “Just a Boy”.
Tony is set to produce the film and said, “ I was thrilled to be asked to write and produce the
film by Richard, and then was equally thrilled to engage with Oliver to direct the film later next year.
Klinger’s fascination led him on a long search, looking for a director who shared the vision he enjoyed with Richard McCann. They wanted to find a director who could re-imagine Leeds and England of the late twentieth century with a distinct and different style, like John Schlessinger managed with the New York of Midnight Cowboy.
When Oliver Schmitz read Klinger’s screenplay of the McCann story he instantly knew he had to tell this important and shocking tale of a stolen childhood and demanding early adult life leading to redemption. “
Klinger had already made it clear, “I wanted us to make a film about redemption without being sanctimonious or unreal, it must still excite us, but also make our audience think about the world we share. My heroes are not cardboard cut outs, but, like us all are three dimensional and complex. Their relationships are not obvious but are, nevertheless understandable. Above all the film has to make you want our hero to win his personal battles
Tony has a fantastic project about a stolen childhood and the subsequent search for answers. The story of Richard McCann, of the son of the first Yorkshire Ripper victim, Wilma McCann, is both heart-rending and affirmative”he said after reading the script. “It offers an incredible perspective on the triumph of he human spirit, in the face of unbelievable adversity, Richard McCann not only survived but spread a positive message to thousands of others, it keeps occupying mymind and thoughts, it’s inspiring”
because he’s so empathetic and you’re on a roller coaster ride and fully engaged, Oliver’s previous films proves he has the vision to make that happen.”
Richard McCann stated “I’ve had an incredibly turbulent life and it’s one that Sonia, my late sister and I joked about, feeling like we were in a film and now it’s to become a reality. My life is going to be turned into a major screen experience, and it feels incredible. Since writing my memoirs, I’ve heard from countless readers who are helped and inspired by reading how I’ve ultimately triumphed in the face of adversity. To know this film aims to do the same means my mother’s death was not in vain. I’m humbled that Oliver believes in this story and, having seen his work, I’m very confident of what he’ll achieve with our film.”
Just A Boy
Outline by Tony Klinger
based on the books Just a Boy & The Boy Grows Up & The life of Richard McCann © Tony Klinger for Just a Boy Films 2017
This is the triumphant story of a young man overcoming impossible odds to create a meaningful life out of chaos.
Imagine: another man, this one evil, rips out your heart and stamps on it. How long does it take to put you back together? Could you ever be whole again when your childhood is stolen?
This is the true, sad, often laugh out loud funny and ultimately inspirational story of Richard McCann, the son of Wilma McCann, the first victim of The Yorkshire Ripper.
Just a Boy is the story of triumph over impossible odds as Richard comes to terms with a childhood bereft of an alcoholic father’s love and the absence of his adored mother.
2018: In a very big conference centre with an audience of thousands, an immaculately dressed young man addresses an audience. He’s fluent and impressive as he tells them, over rapturous applause: “The two most important words in the English language are ‘I can’”. These words are from his heart; and he should know.
Wind back to 1975.
Aged 5, a small boy wakes in the early hours and discovers his mother is not home; very slowly, he realizes she will never be home again.
As if the loss of their mother is not enough, together with his sister, the boy’s life is torn apart time and again. Beaten, abused, deprived, and with only each other for warmth, comfort and love, they do well to survive at all.
Permanently haunting the shadows of Richard’s life lurks the monster that is Peter Sutcliffe. Roaming West Yorkshire undetected and murderous, Sutcliffe is killing other women, 13 in all, constantly terrorizing the small boy’s nightmare life.
Motherless, Richard and his sister Sonia are shunted between relatives in a latter day Cinderella type existence; no one to fight for them except each other. Bullied at school, often neglected at home, their life is shiftless and miserable. But despite this the young boy continues to show glimpses of his charm, natural intelligence and ability to communicate as he becomes an adolescent.
We know that if only he can get a chance to shine, he will.
It’s no surprise that Richard and his sister walk on the wild, seedy side of their tough Northern British home town, Leeds. Unsuccessfully, they try to keep clear of the traps of crime, drugs and drink, but they’re young and vulnerable.
As a young adult and desperate, suicide enters his mind; he comes close but some inner strength pulls him back from the brink.
Richard enlists in the British Army and is posted to Germany where he soon finds more trouble. He runs wild in a carnival of self-destruction. He is dismissed and returns to the UK
but his life continues to spiral downhill; unable to maintain long- term relationships with women or hold down a job that can take his life forward.
Almost inevitably he ends up dealing drugs, is caught after what looks like a set-up and is sent to prison.
After serving his time he is released, re-joining society with nothing more than hope and dreams. His life can go either way, but he begins to fight back. Instead of sinking further toward oblivion, he discovers the wisdom to be found in reading and learns that there are other ways forward.
He chooses to survive.
Against the background shadows of Sutcliffe being caught, tried and imprisoned, Richard reshapes his life. He battles his way into university, where he discovers that he’s bright and able. His life finally appears to be working out; but while he prospers his older sister, Sonia, descends into her own hell. He tries to pull her back from the abyss he himself has seen into, but her slide is steep. He walks away from their suicide pact; he’s made his choice to live.
Richard completely changes his circle of friends and the direction of his life, gets work and enjoys a stable relationship with a woman who he will one day marry. But never far from the surface is Sonia, her life now disintegrating. He wants to do something to stop her descent into an oblivion that he no longer wants to share but there comes a time when you just have to let go.
Wind forward to 2018.
A huge conference centre, Richard strides the stage addressing another rapt audience; animated, he tells them “Just find the courage and it will often take you to a place you never knew exsisted.” And he should know. Despite the deaths of his mother, father and sister, he finds the strength and courage to put his life back together. More than that, he dedicates his life to sharing his extraordinary experiences to help others find their way with inspirational talks and his books selling hundreds of thousands of copies, his journey destined to ultimately inspire millions of others.