FEW people get to stand in the same room as Doctor Who and Albus Dumbledore – let alone work with them.

But Oxford-born producer Phin Glynn has done just that with his new independent film, Mad to be Normal.

It is fronted by former Timelord David Tennant as the brilliant but tortured Dr RD Laing, the Scottish psychologist who broke nearly every convention in his field.

And he is supported by Michael Gambon, best known as Prof Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series, Mad Men star Elizabeth Moss and veteran Irish actor Gabriel Byrne.

Mr Glynn, 31, said the low-budget production – which is now premiering at several film festivals – was 'hugely lucky' to get such a star-studded cast.

The former Dragon School pupil added: "With most films you have to just hope someone brilliant will like the script or subject matter, but we really lucked out.

"David [Tennant] had always wanted to play RD Laing and he is absolutely phenomenal in the role.

"But he is also a lovely guy – so lots of people want to work with him.

"Because of that we ended up casting Elizabeth Moss, then Michael Gambon and he helped to bring in Gabriel Byrne.

"It also helps that the film is based on a real-life character which people know about and find so interesting, and RD Laing is someone who is ferociously debated about even now."

The biopic follows radical psychologist RD Laing, born in Glasgow in 1927.

He was responsible – with fellow founders of the Philadelphia Association – for setting up a medication-free community in Kingsley Hall, East London, in the 1960s.

It saw mentally-ill patients living together with their therapists, with LSD and marijuana being the drugs allowed.

Mr Laing wrote extensively about his subject and was notable for arguing that doctors should listen to the people they were treating.

In a recent interview with The Times, Mr Tennant said: "A lot of his writing is talking to the psychosis and letting the psychosis tell you what it is, rather than whacking some drugs and some electroconvulsive therapy, which is what he’d been trained in. In that sense he was hugely unorthodox."

Dad-of-one Mr Glynn said: "My personal take on it is I think Laing was an incredibly flawed man who attempted something really noble and failed.

"That is a very human story – and it does not have a Hollywood ending."

As art imitates life, sometimes the reverse is also true and this was certainly the case during filming, he added.

"There was a scene where the residents of Kingsley Hall are having some fun and Robert Mullan, the director, told everyone to imagine they were high on LSD and just improvise.

"We had all these actors dancing around for about 12 minutes, Michael Gambon walking around like Paddington Bear and Gabriel Byrne standing on a table throwing pieces of cheese at people."

At another stage in filming, Mr Gambon and Mr Byrne were asked to sit opposite each other and talk about 'mothers and watches' for 40 minutes.

"They were incredible," Mr Glynn recalled. "It was just a blast."

Special screenings of Mad to be Normal will take place at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley Road, Oxford, on April 12 and 13.

For information call 01865 245 288.