Typist Artist Pirate King: On the red carpet with Kelly Macdonald, Monica Dolan and Carol Morley at Raindance Film Festival 2023
Typist Artist Pirate King has been dubbed a “Sunderland Thelma and Louise” – and for good reason. Taking the form of a road movie, it follows Audrey Amiss (Monica Dolan), who convinces her social worker Sandra (Kelly Macdonald) to bring her on a trip to a “local” gallery to exhibit her huge collection of artwork. However, it quickly becomes apparent the journey is a wee bit further than she let on… and so ensues a road trip in her bright yellow Nissan – Sunshine – where Amiss mistakes many a character they meet on the way for figures from her past, making for a whimsical and surreal adventure.
Writer-director Carol Morley first discovered the artwork of the real Amiss while at the Wellcome Collection, stumbling across an immense archive of diaries, letters, art pieces, the wrappers of everything she ate and the words “Typist, artist, pirate, king” written under “occupation” in her passport. Amiss had studied at a prestigious art college in her younger days but plagued by mental breakdowns, she was in and out of institutions all her life. Despite meticulously documenting each moment, her story remained untold. Until now.
Macdonald and Dolan make for an excellent duo, the former perfectly channelling the more reserved and patient Sandra, but with her own demons to fights, while Dolan brings out the wit and sharp tongue of the alternately cantankerous and endearingly charming Amiss, who informs Sandra: “I was once in the tradition of social realism, also called the kitchen sink school of painting. But I am now avant-garde and misunderstood.”
Heartwarming and darkly comedic in equal measure, the film takes the audience on the journey of these two women who, as Amiss confronts the traumas of her past, both find catharsis. It’s an affectionate portrait of a forgotten artist, evoking both the creative world she inhabited and the work she created, and a tribute to how everyone has an interesting story to tell – however seemingly ordinary or extraordinary.
The Upcoming had the chance to chat with the director and cast at the Curzon Soho premiere at Raindance Film Festival. Macdonald stopped to chat about why she loved the story and the script, the fun she had working with Morley and Dolan and reflections on her career, including her breakout iconic role in Trainspotting.
Dolan told us about taking the appeal of jumping on board the project, taking on the role of Amiss and the highlights of the shoot.
Filmmaker Morley spoke about her journey to discovering the art and life of Amiss, her compulsion to put it to screen and working with her fabulous cast.
Typist Artist Pirate King is released nationwide on 27th October 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for Typist Artist Pirate King here: