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Watch: Toxic Masculinity and Gym Culture Collide in London Film Festival Premiere ‘Muscle’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety — Stewart Clarke

The first footage from psychological thriller “Muscle” has dropped ahead of its world premiere Friday at the London Film Festival.

Gerard Johnson’s feature, which is filmed entirely in black and white, is set in a testosterone-fueled world of hardcore gyms. It follows Simon (Cavan Clerkin), a directionless and unhappy office worker whose life is gradually taken over by domineering personal trainer Terry (Craig Fairbrass).

“Apart from the documentary ‘Pumping Iron,’ real gym culture has never been tackled in film before,” Johnson said. “I want to change that with this original character study. This is a dark psychological thriller, dripping with a true reflection of manhood – what makes you a man – in the eyes of other men, in the eyes of women, in the eyes of the world? How do you protect that? What happens when you find yourself emasculated?”

London-based sales outfit WestEnd Films boarded the project in 2018 and has international rights to the movie. Matthew James Wilkinson of Stigma Films produced alongside Ed Barratt and Richard Wylie of Hook Pictures. Fred Fiore and Eric Tavitian of Logical Pictures both produced and fully financed the film. Céline Dornier of Logical Pictures, Alan Martin, and Manuel Chiche of The Jokers, served as exec producers.

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