Stormy Monday

Last Update: 04 January 2004
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Stormy Monday, Mike Figgis's theatrical debut, is an intensely atmospheric romantic thriller set in Newcastle during American Week. Sean Bean stars as jazz-fan Brendan, who finds work as a cleaner at a nightclub run by Finney (played by rock singer Sting).

Unwittingly, Brendan becomes involved in a hostile bid by New Orleans gangster Fred Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones) to take over the club. Matters are further complicated when Brendan falls for an American waitress (Melanie Griffith), who is not only Cosmo's girlfriend - she is on-call as an escort for Cosmo's visiting friends.

Some classy dialogue, starkly evocative photography and a moody score by Figgis help make this one of the most compelling British thrillers in recent years.

Filming began on 07 July 1987 with a budget of £2 million.

Stormy Monday was selected for the Director's Fortnight at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

Location Notes:

Newcastle's waterfont area both the location and the storyline for this film.

Newcastle locations included Spital Tongues, the airport, the Lower Ouseburn Valley, Central Station, Old Assembly Rooms, Royal Station Hotel, The Quayside, High Level Bridge, Swingbridge, Tyne Bridge and Dean Street.

The Key Club was filmed in an old warehouse in a cobbled Tyne-side street called The Side.

Weegee's Bar (the cafe where Kate worked) was a derelict building.

The Hopper Bar was another derelict building that had once actually been a bar, just off The Side, underneath Tyne Bridge.

(Trivia: Both bars were named after American photographers)

The car chase where Kate and Brendan are accosted by Cosmo's men, and where Brendan is beaten, took place on the low level swing bridge (the Tyne Bridge).

The final verbal showdown was filmed on the dramatic high-level bridge with its railtrack above the road and a pedestrian route alongside.

Other locations included Walker (the Hebburn Cokeworks and Fisher Street); and the MetroCentre in Gateshead (the shopping centre where Brendan knocks Katey over).

(Some notes taken from: On Location - The Film Fan's Guide to Britain & Ireland by Brian Pendreigh)

Please visit Andrew West's excellent site detailing Stormy Monday locations - then and now.


Click on the small video
covers to see the large ones.

 Stormy Monday Trivia

From the book: My First Movie: Twenty Celebrated Directors Talk About Their First Film, Stephen Lowenstein (Editor), Pantheon Books (November 2002)
(Thanks Evi!)

Mike Figgis talks about Sean in "Stormy Monday": (Page 279):
"Did the story contain any autobiographical elements? I suppose the Sean Bean character was based on me growing up in Newcastle in combination with me growing up in London."

(Page 283):
"Tim [Roth] was not pretty enough for Melanie to be working with. So on the basis of photographs they selected Sean Bean as the only person they would agree to Melanie co-starring with. I'd seen Sean in Caravaggio and something that Chris Menges had shot where he had played a really tough RAF Private who got drunk and drove a tractor though a wall. He had an edge and I liked him."

(Page 292/293):
"At the end of the film there's a scene where the car blows up and Sean Bean pulls a gun on Tommy Lee. ... We did a couple of takes and then I asked Tommy Lee if he would look at Sean Bean. ... We kept on shooting and he just refused to look at Sean Bean. ... I had lost my nerve and I hadn't got a shot of Tommy Lee looking at Sean Bean."

"[I said]'I'm sorry to drag you all back, but really what I need, Tommy Lee, is for you to look at Sean Bean.' .... He gives a big cinematic look at Sean Bean, does the whole thing, gives me what I want."

 (Page 295):
"... but we still didn't have the shot which was really crucial for the drama. I got a shot of Sean Bean firing the gun and then putting the gun down but I had no shot of him picking the gun up. So Jonathan [Dana] said `Why don't you just run the shot backwards?´ So we ran the shot backwards in the Steenbeck, and sure enough, what is him putting down the gun, looking at the gun and thinking, God, what have I done? becomes him looking at the gun, thinking, God, what am I going to do? Then picking up the gun. If you look carefully at the scene, the rain is going backwards. There are raindrops going up his nose not down his nose. ..."


Melanie Griffith
Tommy Lee Jones
Sean Bean
James Cosmo
Mark Long
Brian Lewis



Produced by

Directed by
Production Design
Costume Design
Film Editor
Music by
Running Time
Release Date

Channel Four Films
Nigel Stafford-Clark

Mike Figgis
Mike Figgis
Roger Deakins
Andrew McAlpine
Sandy Powell
David Martin
Mike Figgis
93 minutes
06 May 1988 (US)
20 January 1989 (UK)


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Click here to visit the Stormy Monday Press Archive
Click here to read the Stormy Monday production notes


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