Produced by Nick Barton, Suzanne
Mackie and Peter Ettedgui
Co-Produced by Mairi Bett
Production Designer Alan MacDonald
Best International Feature - Bermuda Film Festival (2006)
Best International Feature - Florida Film Festival (2006)
Special Premiere Screening - Sundance Film Festival (2006)
Golden Globe Nomination - Best Actor
The film was inspired by the
true story of a traditional English men's footwear factory in
Northamptonshire which turned to production of kinky boots for
transvestites in order to save the ailing family business and
safeguard the jobs of the local community.
“One of the most enjoyable British films
of the year”
THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
“Heart-warming... terrific performances” THE
“A towering performance from
With the sudden death of his
father, Charlie Price takes up the reins of the family's traditional,
Northampton shoe business - Price and Sons. But Charlie quickly
discovers it is not business as usual and without new orders,
bankruptcy looms. As a sceptical workforce debate their novice
manager, Charlie looks to London for solutions, and in a chance
encounter, discovers sassy cabaret star, Lola, whose Soho world
of outrageous fashion and stylish, erotic boots for men, opens
his eyes to an intriguing niche market, a long way from men's
trepidation, but spurred on by feisty, factory worker Lauren,
Charlie enlists Lola's help to diversify and make erotic women's
boots for a male market. But Lola's arrival at the provincial
factory is greeted with ridicule and animosity, not least by
Nicola. The hapless but lovable Charlie ploughs ahead with Lola,
who hiding her own insecurities, takes charge of design and employs
some of her show-stopping bravado to help win over the fractured
workforce and bring the boots to life.
With only weeks to go until
the crucial Milan Shoe Fair, the factory is in full swing with
leopard skins and PVC replacing the bronzed suedes and shiny
leather, but it is now Charlie's drive for perfection and success
which threatens the production line and Milan. Finally the pressure
gets to Charlie and he turns on Lola, loosing his biggest asset
and ally on the eve of the Milan Shoe Fair.
Linda Bassett - Mel
Josh Cole - Tramp
Gwenllian Davies - Mrs Cobb
Joel Edgerton - Charlie Price
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Lola
Nick Frost - Don
Joe Grossi - Milan Organiser
Ewan Hooper - George
Sarah-Jane Potts - Lauren
Jemima Rooper - Nicola
A well-worn genre gets, ahem,
'souled and healed' in British comedy Kinky Boots. Demonstrating
a timelessness that Ugg boots can only envy, it's another take
on that 'little guy surviving against the odds in slightly quirky
circumstances' theme so beloved of British comedies. It's underpinned
by a showstopping performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty
Things) as a transvestite who inspires a line in shoes, and is
more uplifting than a nine-inch stiletto.
Transvestism in the movies
is rarely a pretty sight (cast your mind back to Patrick Swayze
in To Wong Foo..., if you dare), so full marks to Ejiofor for
making the character of Simon/Lola so well-rounded and uncaricatured.
His cross-dressing creation provides the inspiration for Charlie
Price (Joel Edgerton from Ned Kelly), a damp squib whose plans
to escape provincial Northampton life are dealt a body blow when
his father dies and he's stuck with an ailing shoe factory. Faced
with cut-price competition from the Third World, Charlie needs
to find a niche or lay off most of his staff. Step forward Lola
and 'her' size nines...
"ONE OF THE
BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR"
It's no surprise to learn that
Kinky Boots is from the same team who gave us Calendar Girls.
Slick and impossible to dislike, it also presents a side of provincial
British life rarely seen nowadays: that of the frustrated dreamer.
Australian actor Edgerton does just enough to convince as a Midlander,
but this is ultimately Ejiofor's parade. He takes you beneath
Lola's sequins and delivers one of the best performances of the
year. Don't miss it.
Is Chiwetel Ejiofor the best
young British actor we've got? He's certainly right up there.
Best known for his wrenching turn as a sad-eyed Nigerian immigrant
in Dirty Pretty Things, Ejiofor is everywhere at the moment,
even making it through last week's horrendous Four Brothers unscathed.
Ejiofor is definitely the headline
act in the cosy new Britcom Kinky Boots, based on the true story
of an ailing Northampton shoe factory which scrapped the brogues
and started turning out thigh-length boots for female impersonators.
He's a scream, and also the
film's heroically dignified centre, as cabaret drag artist Lola
- the inspiration for this line of fetish-wear - who pitches
up at Price and Sons after bumping into its befuddled new owner
Charlie (Aussie actor Joel Edgerton) one night in Soho.
The reaction on the factory
floor - from homophobically inclined Don (Nick Frost) in particular
- provides plenty of scope for Full Monty-style ensemble squirming,
and this certainly knocks the socks off Calendar Girls (which
came from the same producing team). This time, the ripped-from-the-headlines
story never seems to be clapping itself on the back too much.
And, as well as terrific opportunities
for Ejiofor to cut loose ("Burgundy? I inspired something
burgundy?"), there's some nice writing in the supporting
roles, particularly for Charlie's scary power-dressing girlfriend
Nicola (Jemima Rooper), who thinks he should sell up, and sweet
elfin colleague Lauren (Sarah-Jane Potts).
There are big tunes and great
costumes, and I think people will have a very good time at Kinky
Boots, but it's a pity it doesn't push its plea for moving with
the times just an inch further.
Lola has to settle for those
boots rather than any kind of love interest. Or does she fancy
Charlie? Julian Jarrold's genial but timid film seems faintly
afraid to ask.
Kinky Boots in the USA
"Kinky Boots," a crowd-pleasing British import
based on a true
story, may be this year's "Full Monty." After a festival
this perky, very English comedy with rousing musical numbers,
about a struggling Northamptonshire shoe company and the drag queen that
its rescue, had the audience on its feet. If the film draws the
that flocked to "Full Monty," a confident directing
debut by Julian
Jarrold, it could rack up good numbers. After Dad dies, Charlie,
pallid actor Joel Edgerton, takes over the failing family business
Shoes. Sooner than you can say Gloria Gaynor, he meets Lola (Chiwetel
Ejiofor), a transvestite with a keen business sense, a solid
set of values
and a larger than life presence -- think Naomi Campbell on steroids.
Charlie recruits Lola to advise at the factory, her presence,
men, raises questions of masculinity and femininity. Ejiofor
scene, as he vamps his way through brassy disco numbers in wigs
and thigh-high, spike-heeled boots, the very boots that eventually
Boots on the runway in Milan. Anyone with a shoe fetish will
experience a natural high. A multi-tasker, Lola helps salvage
love life and shed his years of inhibition -- almost -- while
she's at it."You coming all this way to see me," she coos. "I
feel like Oprah." Costume
designer, Sammy Sheldon gets the trashy chic outfits for Lola
dancers just right. Danish cinematographer, Eigil Bryld's palette
and sienna evoke the world of fantasy and this is, after all,
a fairy tale.
arm-wrestling scene in KINKY BOOTS was the subject of
a Pause For Thought religious slot on Radio 2's morning
The DVD is available
and includes special features.
Audio commentary from director
Julian Jarrold with cast members Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor
and Sarah-Jane Potts
Deleted scenes with audio
commentary from Julian Jarrold
'The Real Kinky Boots Factory':
an in-depth look at the making of the film and the true events
which inspired it
'Journey Of A Brogue': a short video
of the process of a shoe being made in the factory