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Cruise’s Jack Holden hopes he or ‘someone like Andrew Garfield’ star in the movie version of the Aids drama

Exclusive: Speaking to Attitude ahead of Cruise's second run, its writer-actor confirmed a film version is in the works.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Harry Livingstone and Pamela Raith Photography

The writer and actor behind the 1980s-set Aids drama, Cruise, Jack Holden, is hoping to reprise the role in the upcoming film version, or if not him, “someone like Andrew Garfield”. 

Cruise tells the story of ‘Michael’, a man diagnosed with HIV in 1984 and who is told he has four years to live. On what he thinks is his last night on earth he goes all out on a hedonistic quest to enjoy life. 

The play is a one-man show, written by and starring Jack Holden who returns to the roles of his younger self, Michael, and every other character in the play, based on a true story from Jack’s time as a volunteer at the Switchboard LGBT Helpline. 

Following a successful first run at the Duchess Theatre last year, the play is returning to the West End at the Apollo Theatre in August. 

Speaking exclusively to Attitude about the show’s return Jack explained how a feature film version has come about.

“Before we did the stage show, we did a filmed version in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall. And that was something we put on a website called Stream Theatre. At that stage, I was like, ‘This is great, this is going really well’.”

Jack Holden (Photo: Harry Livingstone)

Thinking that might be it, Jack was elated to get the first run and then the chance to return for a second this year, before moving on to discuss the film version.

“A film company got the rights to it. And they loved that first film we made, which was like the stage show – it’s me addressing the camera and it follows me through all the different rooms in Shoreditch Town Hall, which became the different bars and clubs of Soho in the ’80s.”

He continues: “And the whole thing was sort of done in one long shot. We’re trying to retain that. It won’t be like there’ll be a hundred actors in it now, it will still hopefully be me, or someone like Andrew Garfield, and we have that one shot kind of feel so it retains the essence and the spirit of the show.”

We’re rooting for Jack all the way!

Elsewhere he teased that bits of the play had changed after some time away, but remained fairly tight-lipped but promised “a few more bells and whistles that are going to be fun.”

Jack Holden in Cruise (Photo: Pamela Raith Photography)

Speaking to Attitude alongside Tash Walker, the co-chair of Switchboard, Jack agreed the play was “like folklore” in keeping queer history alive. 

Directed by Bronagh Lagan, Cruise celebrates queer culture and acts as a powerful tribute to a generation decimated by HIV and Aids. 1980s Soho is brought vividly to life in this kaleidoscopic musical thanks to an uplifting 80s electronic soundtrack performed live by John Patrick Elliott.

Cruise is playing at the Apollo Theatre from 13 August to 4 September. Tickets are available here.

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.