Stars of Doctor Who and Mad Men head to York to film Sixties-set movie

David Tennant will be in the city in all his Sixties splendour
28 Jan 2016 @ 7.19 pm
| News

Former Doctor Who David Tennant will be time travelling again soon – and this time in York.

David will be filming scenes for a new movie at the University of York, alongside Elisabeth Moss, best known as copywriter Peggy Olson in Mad Men.

Mad To Be Normal tells the story of RD Laing, the renowned Scottish psychiatrist. David stars as Laing, while Elisabeth plays Angie Wood.

Gabriel Byrne, famous for his roles in The Usual Suspects and Miller’s Crossing, is also in the movie and due to join the co-stars on the York campus.

Elisabeth Moss. Photograph © <a href=""> on Flickr
Gabriel Byrne

Elisabeth Moss (photograph © Dominick D on Flickr and Gabriel Byrne (photograph © Ian Smith on Wikipedia

Hundreds of extras

Set in the 1960s, when Laing was renowned for his unconventional methods, the film will use the university’s distinctive Sixties architecture as a backdrop.

Around 200 students and staff in 1960s clothing are being drafted in as historical extras.

Makers Gizmo Films are filming on campus for two days, Wednesday February 3 and Thursday February 4.

On the Wednesday afternoon they will shoot a scene at the theatre, film and television department’s Scenic Stage Theatre.

It will be transformed into a Sixties-style lecture theatre. There David Tennant as Laing will address the audience with his radical views on psychiatry and the medical treatment of patients.

Very Sixties… Central Hall at York University. Photograph © Johnteslade on Wikipedia
Very Sixties… Central Hall at York University. Photograph © Johnteslade on Wikipedia

Written and directed by Robert Mullan, Mad To Be Normal is centred around Laing’s “anti-psychiatry” experiment he ran at Kingsley Hall, a medication-free sanctuary.

In the Sixties and Seventies the story made headlines around the world. Laing was a celebrity referred to as a “white Martin Luther King” by one radio journalist.

LSD therapy

Unconventional… psychiatrist RD Laing. Photograph: YouTube
Unconventional… psychiatrist RD Laing. Photograph: YouTube

Laing said: “A child born today stands a ten 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.”

His forthright opinions as well as his occasional therapeutic use of LSD and belief in self-healing turned the psychiatric establishment against him.

Tennant told ScreenDaily:

I have long been fascinated by the life and work of 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.

Michael Gambon will also appear in the movie. Filming is due to be finished by March.