Markson Pianos on the silver screen

08 June 2016
Meryl-98308.png Streep
London retailer has starring role in Florence Foster Jenkins movie

London piano retailer Markson Pianos, a three-generation family-run business, has provided all six period-specific pianos used in the recently released film Florence Foster Jenkins. Markson Pianos delivered the pianos to sets and recording locations across London, including the famous Abbey Road Studios, all at very short notice. Logistically it was challenging: a piano might be needed 20 steps up or 20 miles away, and it would need tuning too.

The film is based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American socialite from the 1930s with an ambition to be an opera singer but with little talent. Meryl Streep, supported by Hugh Grant as her husband, portrays a woman whose exuberant character outweighed her vocal abilities.

Markson Piano’s Simon Markson features in the film as ‘Charlie the piano tuner’. He recalls, ‘Director Stephen Frears turned up with crew in a jeep and I was asked to play the part of the piano tuner. I’d done a lot of amateur dramatics and improvisation before, so I unhesitatingly said yes! Frears said, “we’ve found our piano tuner” and everyone cheered.

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‘Then, after a costume fitting, several months later I was called in for the filming, collected by car early in the morning and taken to Twickenham film studios. I expected that my character would to be seen in the background tuning a grand piano, so I was surprised to find myself on set with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. It was only in the dressing room that I had been shown my script. It became clear on set with various retakes that I would grow into the part of Charlie the piano tuner, and that my brief interaction with Meryl Streep was a comic one.’

We think that’s a great story. We’ll definitely go and see the film now!