When James Bowen’s autobiographical A Street Cat Named Bob was published in 2012, it warmed the hearts of readers across the world, went on to sell millions of copies (one million in the UK alone) and, crucially, helped change the public perception of homelessness.
The book told the story of Bowen’s struggle with addiction and of his time spent on the streets, in shelters and in supported housing – but its focus was on his unexpected friendship with a certain ginger feline: the eponymous Bob.
After first meeting in 2007, when an injured Bob found his way into the supported housing complex where Bowen was living, the pair went on to become inseparable – winning fans across London.
Now a new film is bringing the duo’s story to the big screen – and if the first trailer is anything to go by, the forthcoming adaptation has perfectly captured the blend of honesty, humour and moving real-life drama that made the original book (plus 2013 follow-up The World According to Bob) such a hit.
Luke Treadaway stars as busker and Big Issue seller Bowen – but when it came to casting the movie’s bewhiskered (and winningly, remarkably expressive) animal star, no substitute would do.
Instead, in the majority of the film’s scenes, Bob is played by none other than himself.
A Street Cat Named Bob is directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies), and also stars Ruta Gedmintas, as Bowen’s friend and neighbour Belle, Joanne Froggatt as his support worker Val, and Anthony Head as his father, Nigel.
The film is released on November 4 2016.