fri 19/07/2019

Film Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Director István Szabó

Jasper Rees

When I interviewed the great Hungarian film-maker István Szabó (b 1938) in his native Budapest, he took me on a tour of the city centre on the Pest side of the Danube. On the way we were distracted by a flashy café designed to lure tourists. It was called Mephisto – after the film by Szabó, presumably, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1981.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writer/Director David Leland

Hilary Whitney David Leland: 'There was a lot of me in Trevor. I was getting rid of a lot of anger in my system about what I went through in terms of education - or lack of it'

David Leland (b 1947) has worked extensively both sides of the Atlantic but he is best known, both as a writer and a director, for his shrewd observations of ordinary people struggling against the constraints and hypocrisy of the accepted social mores of English life in films such as Mona Lisa (1986), Personal Services (1987) and Wish You Were Here (1987). However, it was Made in Britain (1982), a television play written by Leland for Channel 4 and...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Christopher Eccleston

Hilary Whitney

Christopher Eccleston’s performances have a raw-boned, visceral quality which makes him a sometimes unsettling - but always compelling - actor to watch.

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Q&A Special: Film Director Wim Wenders

james Woodall

Wim Wenders (b 1945) is one of the great travellers of contemporary cinema. Multi-disciplinary and theme-driven, his work often asks questions about memory and identity, and pulsates with the strong spirit of very particular places.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Script Supervisor Angela Allen

Jasper Rees Angela Allen: A link with the golden age of Hollywood

The credits unfold against a backdrop of a tall, exotic plant, down whose length the camera slowly pans. The African Queen, in glorious Technicolor, based on a novel by CS Forrester, directed by John Huston, shot by Jack Cardiff, starring two of the great names of the cinematic age. Katharine Hepburn, the female face of the screwball comedy...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Colin Firth

Jasper Rees

In some ways it’s been an odd career. Everyone else in Another Country (1982), the stage play by Julian Mitchell about gays and Marxists in a 1930s English public school, shot out of the blocks.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Toby Jones

Jasper Rees

Toby Jones’s cameo in Notting Hill – he was cast as an over-eager fan of Julia Roberts - was deposited on the cutting-room floor. Most actors would have chalked it up as one of life’s bum raps. Jones, who while on set for his short scene was also failing to rent a flat in Notting Hill, fashioned a drama out of a double crisis. To perform Missing Reel he obtained permission to show the suppressed material.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Toby Jones

Jasper Rees

Toby Jones’s cameo in Notting Hill – he was cast as an over-eager fan of Julia Roberts - was deposited on the cutting-room floor. Most actors would have chalked it up as one of life’s bum raps. Jones, who while on set for his short scene was also failing to rent a flat in Notting Hill, fashioned a drama out of a double crisis. To perform Missing Reel he obtained permission to show the suppressed material.

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Interview: Anton Corbijn on making The American

Nick Hasted George Clooney as Jack in 'The American'; 'More brutal than Bond'

Joy Division brought Anton Corbijn to England in 1979 and, nearly 30 years later, made him a cinema director. The sleeve of the band’s album Unknown Pleasures fascinated him so deeply he felt compelled to leave Holland for the country where such mysteries were made. The photographs he took of them for the NME helped make an icon of their singer Ian Curtis even before his 1980 suicide, and were themselves icons of a school of serious, black-and-white rock photography.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Simon Callow

graeme Thomson

Simon Callow is on the phone when I arrive at his five-star digs, booming his apparently considerable misgivings vis-a-vis appearing in some reality TV exercise in which he will be asked to tutor disadvantaged kids in the mysterious arts of Shakespeare. “They keep saying it will be great”, he rumbles, “but it will only be great if it’s great.” And Amen to that.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Michael Sheen

Jasper Rees

Either it’s a bizarre accident. Or there’s something in the water. Port Talbot, the unlovely steel town in Wales where smoke stacks belch fumes into the cloudy coastal sky, has been sending its sons to work in Hollywood for decades now. Richard Burton was the first to put his glowering blue eyes and golden larynx at the service of Tinseltown. Anthony Hopkins, for all his American passport, has never shed the native tinge from his accent. And in recent years there has been Michael Sheen (b....

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Julianne Moore

Jasper Rees

Julianne Moore (b. 1960) is a true rarity. It’s not just that her hair flames like no other star since Katharine Hepburn. Or that alone of her generation she seems impervious to middle age’s indignities. There’s something else. Having worked with dinosaurs in The Lost World and a cannibal in Hannibal, she is mainstream enough to be considered a genuine leading lady.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writer Willy Russell

Jasper Rees

No one understands escapism like Willy Russell. Either side of 1980, he wrote two plays about working-class Liverpool women in flight from a humdrum existence. In one a young hairdresser seeks fulfilment through a literary education with the Open University. In the other, a middle-aged housewife has an island-holiday romance. As films, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine earned Oscar nominations for, respectively, Julie Walters and Pauline Collins.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor William Hurt

Jasper Rees

No actor had a classier time of it in the Eighties than William Hurt (b. 1950). Ramrod tall, blue-eyed and aquiline, with a high forehead swept clear of thin fair hair, he was a brash decade's intelligent male lead. Those years in the sun began promptly in 1980 with Altered States, continued with the steamy noir thriller Body Heat (1981), then steered him into ensemble comedy in The Big Chill and Soviet sleuthing in Gorky Park (both 1983). Hurt won an...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Guitarist Wilko Johnson

Nick Hasted

In Oil City Confidential, Julien Temple’s exhilarating new documentary on Dr Feelgood, the first thing you’ll see is the spidery, alien movements of the band’s guitarist Wilko Johnson, as he looks out over their Essex heartland, Canvey Island. The film is a sort of prequel to Temple’s Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, digging into the early 1970s pub rock scene the Feelgoods ruled with their hard, sharp R’n’B before punk, lessons learned, stole the stage.

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Actress Carey Mulligan, Emotionally Speaking

Graham Fuller

“You’ve no idea how boring everything was before I met you.” As written by Nick Hornby and spoken by Carey Mulligan in An Education, these words of gratitude come after a moment of stillness in which Jenny, Mulligan’s character, reflects on her experience as a 16-year-old schoolgirl taken on a social joyride by a 35-ish hustler, David (Peter Sarsga

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