Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Queen spends night with Amateurs


The Queen met members of the film's cast and crew at the event

British comedy A Bunch of Amateurs received the regal seal of approval at the Royal Film Performance, attended by the Queen and Prince Philip in London.

Cast members Imelda Staunton and Sir Derek Jacobi were there to greet them.

The film, which stars Burt Reynolds as a washed-up Hollywood actor, was chosen last month to replace original choice Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

This year's gala was thrown into doubt when the sixth Potter film delayed its release until next summer.

It followed the cancellation of last year's event, called off amid controversy surrounding the chosen film Brick Lane.

'Feel-good movie'

Filmed in part on the Isle of Man, A Bunch of Amateurs tells of an ageing star who travels to the UK under the mistaken impression he is to play King Lear at Stratford-upon-Avon.

To his chagrin, he discovers the production is an amateur affair being staged in a barn in Stratford St John, Suffolk.

The Queen meeting (l-r) Sir Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond and Imelda Staunton
Actress Imelda Staunton (right) was among the cast members present
According to cast member Samantha Bond, the Queen said she thought the plot sounded "quite amusing".

"I have never met her before," said the former Miss Moneypenny on Monday.

"We discussed the chilliness of filming on the Isle of Man in February."

Proceeds from the Royal Film Performance go toward the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, which helps employees in the film and TV industry in times of hardship.

Chief executive Peter Hore said the film, to be released in the UK in December, was "a feel-good movie" that would be "a classic movie after tonight".

The event, he said, was "a really important night for British cinema. It's the only day the Queen comes to the cinema in the West End."

Other guests at the screening, held at the Odeon Leicester Square, included actress Tamsin Grieg and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, one of the film's screenwriters.

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