A film script written by a Cliviger pub owner has become the talk of Hollywood.

Stephen Reid who runs the historic Kettledrum Inn has reached the semi-final of an international scriptwriting competition with The Machine Men, the story of army veterans wounded in Afghanistan who, against all odds, form a rock band aiming to perform at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games.

Lancashire Telegraph: Stephen Reid

Stephen, a well known musician and producer who also taught at Burnley College, is now waiting to hear if his screenplay has been shortlisted for the final.

“I never expected it to even be considered given it is up against scripts from writers all over the world,” he said. “But I believe in this story. I really think it has got something a bit different and has a feelgood vibe about it.”

Stephen is now talking to production companies both in the UK and US about commissioning the work and bringing it to the big screen.

And he has been given a major boost by getting the backing of the Invictus Games Foundation which has said it would help provide extras for the movie and allow footage of the prestigious games to be used in the film.

“That was a tremendous boost,” said Stephen. “I think they recognise the potential to showcase disabilities in a positive light.”

The film centres around a group of disabled servicemen who meet a prosthetics expert who designs some hi-tech aids which allow them to play instruments.

“Nothing in the script is outside what is possible,” said Stephen. “I have worked with PACE Rehab in Manchester who create bespoke prosthetics and everything in the script can be made.”

As well as being a musician - Stephen has scored a complete soundtrack to accompany the movie - he also understands life in the armed forces, having been a Royal Marine for seven years.

“It is important that everything in the script is authentic,” he said. “I know what life in the services is like.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Machine Men poster

He completed his original draft in 2009 but it was during Covid that he revisited it and working with a script editor, produced the final version.

“I had done screenwriting at Salford University which taught me how to construct a good story arc,” he said.

“And I genuinely do think this will strike a chord with audiences. It’s a bit like Bank of Dave which did so well on Netflix in that it’s about the underdogs overcoming the odds.”

Stephen even has potential casting lined up with Keith Xander, frontman of leading in British blues rock band Xander and the Peace Pirates, pencilled in as the band’s guitarist. Keith was born without a right arm below the elbow and uses a prosthesis to play guitar.

“He’s well up for the idea,” said Stephen. “And it’s important that we use actors with disabilities. I don’t want to use CGI with an abled-bodied actor. Part of this is to show that having a disability does not limit your ability to achieve your ambitions.

“There has been a lot of interest in the project and I’m just hoping we can take it to the next level and get it to the filming stage.”