The Old, Old, Very Old Man is based on a true story. Thomas Parr lived from 1483-1635 and was presented to Charles I by Thomas, Earl of Arundel when he was 152 years old. He died following the excitment and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
The title of the film comes from a poem with the same name written by John Taylor (1580-1654), who heard about Thomas Parr and created a pamphlet, of which there are two copies of in the British Library.
I’d been reading about John Taylor the water poet, since I came across him in Iain Sinclair’s book ‘Lights out for the Territory’. It seems he was full of words and thoughts that he didn’t hesitate to share by producing pamphlets and reciting his long works whilst ferrying people across the Thames. I don’t think his poems are up to scrutiny but provide a lively account of the times. I was immediately taken by his account of the Thomas Parr and felt I could make something of it, by way of another tribute to the elderly.
I submitted a script to the Hackney and Tower Hamlets Film fund in March and they agreed to support the project by giving me half the funding and the condition that I find a producer based in Tower Hamlets. I was lucky to find Kathrein Guenther and we are busily trying to think of ways to raise some extra money.